Gartman: ‘Unusual circumstance’ in gold

There's a trade in gold that looks better than the precious metal itself, commodities trader Dennis Gartman said Monday.

"If you had asked me that question a year ago, I would've said without equivocation: Avoid the miners at all costs," he said. "If you're going to make a bet, an implied bet on gold, buy gold, buy GLD. I would have not hesitated a moment."

On CNBC's "Fast Money," the editor and publisher of The Gartman Letter said that over the past several months, miners had finally started "to do better on their own," gaining ground on days when gold was up and holding their own when the precious metal was down.

(Read more: How the S&P 500 will lose 90 points: Strategist)

"So, now if you ask me what would I do to own gold – and I like to own gold – I'll buy GLD, but for the for the first time in a long time, I'll buy GDX," Gartman said. "I'll buy the miners index. Miners are beginning to outperform gold itself. It's an unusual circumstance, something long overdue."

Gartman added that he hoped to see capital expenditures continue to play a role in the gold miners' actions.

(Read more: How the S&P 500 will lose 90 points: Strategist)

"I hope that threat remains on the table," he said. "They need to decrease their exposure. They need to cut back on capital expenditures. They need to start returning more money to the shareholders. I think it's an old story. I don't want that taken off the table. I want it in front of them to make them focus."

Asked by OptionMonster's Pete Najarian about his view on silver, Gartman said that he wasn't a buyer, nor a believer in the volatile metal.

Najarian, however, said that he liked the greater upside potential.

"If you're bullish of gold to the upside, I think you do want to be bullish of SLV or the GDX because you're going to get more bang for your buck," he said.

By CNBC's Bruno J. Navarro. Follow him on Twitter @Bruno_J_Navarro.

CNBC's Torrey Kleinman contributed research to this report.

Trader disclosure: On Aug. 12, 2013, the following stocks and commodities mentioned or intended to be mentioned on CNBC's "Fast Money" were owned by the "Fast Money" traders: Steve Grasso is funds long CCL; Steve Grasso is long BA; Steve Grasso is long BAC; Steve Grasso is long BBRY; Steve Grasso is long GDX; Steve Grasso is long GOOG; Steve Grasso is long HERO; Steve Grasso is long HPQ; Steve Grasso is long MHY; Steve Grasso is long LNG; Steve Grasso is long MJNA; Steve Grasso is long NVIV; Steve Grasso is long PFE; Steve Grasso is long QCOM; Steve Grasso is long S; Steve Grasso is long ASTM; Steve Grasso is long POT; Steve Grasso is long DECK; Tim Seymour is long BAC; Tim Seymour is long CAT; Tim Seymour is long SBUX; Tim Seymour is long FCX; Pete Najarian is long AAPL; Pete Najarian is long BAC; Pete Najarian is long C; Pete Najarian is long BBRY; Pete Najarian is long SBUX; Pete Najarian is long FB; Pete Najarian is long MSFT; Pete Najarian is long DAL; Pete Najarian is long BMY; Pete Najarian is long MU; Pete Najarian is long COP; Pete Najarian is long NSC; Pete Najarian is long KRE; Pete Najarian is long PFE; Pete Najarian is long MRK; Pete Najarian is long LLY; Pete Najarian is long BMY; Karen Finerman is long AAPL; Karen Finerman is long BAC; Karen Finerman is long C; Karen Finerman is long JPM; Karen Finerman is long TGT; Karen Finerman is long GOOG; Karen Finerman is long M; Karen Finerman is long JCP; Karen Finerman is long CXW; Karen Finerman is long SPY; Karen Finerman is long MDY PUTS.