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Dean P
September 04, 2005, 20:31
Check the web site for the pics

Gar ... gantuan!

Missouri buddies use bow and arrow to land astonishing 2441/2-pound 'alligator fish' at Sam Rayburn Lake

07:34 PM CDT on Saturday, September 3, 2005

By RAY SASSER / The Dallas Morning News

Using archery tackle that would suit Luke Skywalker, two Missouri archers won a tag-team version of gar wars at Sam Rayburn Lake, bagging a gigantic alligator gar that weighed 244 ½ pounds. It is the pending Bowfishing Association of America world record. The giant fish is not, however, the largest of its species taken with bow and arrow in Texas.

A 2001 Trinity River gar arrowed by Marty McClellan weighed 290 pounds. The rod-and-reel world record alligator gar was caught from the Rio Grande in 1951. It weighed 279 pounds.

The biggest gator gar ever reported in Texas was caught on a trotline in the Nueces River in 1953 and weighed 302 pounds. Named for the fearsome head and a snout that resembles its namesake reptile, alligator gar are classed as rough fish and are not protected by Texas law.

Unchanged since the days of dinosaurs, alligator gar are the biggest freshwater fish in Texas. Individuals weighing more than 100 pounds are common. Because of their impressive size and fearsome appearance, alligator gar are considered a bowfishing prize. Most bowfishing is done at night from boats that use specialized lights.

During hot summer months, however, gar roll on the surface and gulp air presenting daytime targets for fast-draw archers. Gar are one of the few fish species that have primitive lungs in addition to gills. That unusual adaptation is one reason gar have survived for millions of years. Scientists say the huge gar taken at Rayburn may have been 50 years old.

Robin Parks and Keith Riehn of Hillsboro, Mo., make an annual bowfishing pilgrimage to Texas, usually in late July or early August.

"Spring is a good season for big gar at Rayburn, but it can get pretty windy in the spring," said Parks, an environmental engineer for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. "The weather is very consistent during the summer period."

Riehn is a public school teacher. The men are partners in a video company called Aim Low Productions. They have produced one bowfishing video and expect to incorporate footage of the Rayburn monster in a second due out this winter.

On Aug. 4, they were hunting gar at one of their favorite spots, not far from the Highway 147 bridge near Broaddus. Though impressive in size and appearance, alligator gar are not considered a threat to humans. A Texas Parks and Wildlife gar food study done on Sam Rayburn indicated the fish mostly feed on other rough fish species. Parks and Reihn have found rough fish weighing as much as 20 pounds in the stomach of a big gar.

"We'd been seeing some pretty good alligator gar in the area, but we decided to move to a different spot and try for long-nosed gar," Parks said. "As we were getting ready to leave, a big fish rolled behind the boat, and we decided to make one more pass."

The archers had traded the retriever reels and heavy line they prefer for big fish for spincast reels used to pursue smaller gar species. Bowhunting for fish requires specialized tackle.

Riehn and Parks used an electric motor to ease their boat through the area where gar were surfacing. Right in front of the boat, a huge fish rose from the murky depths like a breaching submarine. Both archers saw the gar at the same time. They shot simultaneously, and both arrows struck the fish right behind its gills.

Parks said he was worried about being able to land the huge fish on spincast reels. His biggest fish before the Rayburn gar weighed about 175 pounds, and he knew the Rayburn fish was much larger.

"The arrow placement was perfect," Parks said. "That really takes the fight out of a big fish. I still followed the fish with my electric motor for three different runs. It came to the surface, and Keith grabbed a third bow that we had rigged with a retriever reel and put another arrow in the fish."

It was 15 more minutes before they gaffed the gar, which measured 8 feet, 2 inches by 44 ¾ inches in girth. Getting it into the boat was no easy chore.

Parks has been bowfishing for 17 years. He got Riehn involved in the sport three years ago.

They're doing the paperwork to have the fish certified as a Sam Rayburn Lake record and a BAA world record. Only one may claim the record, so since it was Parks that got Riehn involved, Parks is the angler of record. Riehn gets possession of the mounted alligator gar, which should take up most of a wall in his house.

More photos are available at www.aimlowproductions.com.

LONE STAR GAR

Unrestricted record: 302 pounds, 1953, T.C. Pierce, Jr., Nueces River, trotline.

Archery record: 290 pounds, 2001, Marty McClellan, Trinity River.

Rod-and-reel record: 279 pounds, 1951, Bill Valverde, Rio Grande, International Game Fish Association World Record.

woodie
September 04, 2005, 20:37
http://aimlowproductions.com/gallery/albums/album02/Aim_Low_Gator_resized.jpg

DAMNMM Kinda scary to thing I use to jetski in that lake:eek: :eek:

762 shooter
September 04, 2005, 21:23
:eek: Holy. Those guys should be given some kind of cash award for riding the waters of that monster.

P806
September 04, 2005, 21:37
Holy crap!:eek:

LV Hospice RN
September 04, 2005, 21:58
Part of me want to congratulate the guys for a truly huge fish...the other half of me thinks:

"A 230+ pound fish that has lived, by one estimate, 50 years...what did we accomplish killing it?"

i mean other than bragging rights? and i dont think the fish care about those...

Not trying to sound all liberalistic, anti hunter....done alot lot hunting and fishing myself...but this is great ammo for the non sportsman...

just imho, ymmv
darrell
sin city

Survey Punk
September 04, 2005, 22:03
I've seen those guys, little ones, live in puddles that were more mud than water for a loooong time. Amazing how they can survive.

JB

Super B
September 04, 2005, 22:52
Now THAT, my brothers, is a game fish. I have been asking the Feds and Florida Fish & game to stock them around the Tallahassee area (So far without luck).

The fresh water Marlin, I call them.

Powderfinger
September 04, 2005, 23:30
Originally posted by LV Hospice RN
Part of me want to congratulate the guys for a truly huge fish...the other half of me thinks:

"A 230+ pound fish that has lived, by one estimate, 50 years...what did we accomplish killing it?"

i mean other than bragging rights? and i dont think the fish care about those...

Not trying to sound all liberalistic, anti hunter....done alot lot hunting and fishing myself...but this is great ammo for the non sportsman...

just imho, ymmv
darrell
sin city

Yeah, catch and release. I can relate to what you are saying.

Snakeshot
September 05, 2005, 00:28
Texas is living up to it's reputation.

Nice that they don't bite humans........ yet.:devil:

Plain George
September 05, 2005, 01:24
When I was a kid, i was watching a log float down a river..Scared the crap out of me when that 'log' started to swim....Did not know at the time what is was.

NZ L1A1 Collector
September 05, 2005, 03:10
OMG that's not a fish, that's some sort of prehistoic monster :eek: :uhoh:

zack taylor
September 05, 2005, 03:20
Many moons ago, when I was stationed at Ft. Polk, and lived in Newton, TX., we used to fish in the San Angelina river just off of S. Rayburn. There was five of us fishing, and a monster like that swam up near the bank, caused every one of us to swear off swimming. There are monsterous fish there.

Zack

BTW, If I had caught that SOB, I'd have it in the back of my truck, showing everybody and their momma, just so they wouldn't think I was smoking Mexican Agriculture.

Windustsearch
September 05, 2005, 12:12
Those are spooky as hell. That would make me think twice or again about swimming too. We've got sturgeon up here that make those things look like minnows, but you dont ever see them unless they are caught.

jamesq
September 05, 2005, 13:51
are gar edible? i know they are boney but is the meat even palatable?

Prototype Services
September 05, 2005, 15:48
Based on the website, we have longnose Gar here in Lake Lanier. I have seen them in the 5'-6' range like their second page of photos show. Quite scary when they surface between your skis and the boat...
I have heard of people eating them. Supposedly they have a strong tasting flesh and are very bony. Most recipes discussed involve baking them with onions or garlic. Very difficult to catch with rod and reel. I have heard of anglers using frayed rope as a lure. I hooked one once on a minnow, and he put up a tremendous fight until he got off. It was less than 36" long.
Very interesting.
Dave

762 shooter
September 05, 2005, 15:49
Very edible, very tasty. Alligator gar bite. I have heard many stories of people getting bit on the hands or feet when dangled in the water. I don't think they would attack you if you were swimming tho'.

Sayeret Tzanhanim
September 05, 2005, 17:01
I have been very scared at various times in my life. But I have to say, if I was in the water and saw that thing, I would shit my pants.

owlcreekok
September 05, 2005, 17:40
I would shit my pants.

BTDT

I was wading a crick in Eastern N.C. trying to catch Redfin Pike. In about waist deep water, an Alligator Gar about 4 ft long appeared out of nowhere about two feet from my most tender spot !

I make no bones about it, it LITERALLY scared the shit outta me. :cry:

LAFAL
September 05, 2005, 21:43
Some folks around here make "gar balls"- look like salmon/tuna crouquet.
One way to cook them is to take the gar, descale it, split it down the dorsal fin and lay it open on an oak board. Rub in a mix of rum, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little cayenne pepper. Put the board in the oven for 2 hours at 300 degrees. Then pull it out, scrape off the damn gar and eat the board.

LV Hospice RN
September 06, 2005, 00:20
Originally posted by LAFAL
Some folks around here make "gar balls"- look like salmon/tuna crouquet.
One way to cook them is to take the gar, descale it, split it down the dorsal fin and lay it open on an oak board. Rub in a mix of rum, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little cayenne pepper. Put the board in the oven for 2 hours at 300 degrees. Then pull it out, scrape off the damn gar and eat the board.

:rofl:

ya had me going there for a bit!!!!!

darrell
sin city

Stranger
September 06, 2005, 11:50
Originally posted by LAFAL
Some folks around here make "gar balls"- look like salmon/tuna crouquet.
One way to cook them is to take the gar, descale it, split it down the dorsal fin and lay it open on an oak board. Rub in a mix of rum, mustard, salt, pepper, garlic powder and a little cayenne pepper. Put the board in the oven for 2 hours at 300 degrees. Then pull it out, scrape off the damn gar and eat the board.

:rofl: Thanks for the laugh.

I don't think nearly as many people would swim in freshwater lakes if they knew how many large multi-toothed critters were swimming around under their feet.

When I was a kid we would spent our summer months at a swimming hole in the local river. At least that's what we did before seeing the 5 foot plus alligator snapping turtle dismantling a deer carcass on the opposite bank. A sight like that will put the fear of God back in a person quick.

Sword of Laban
September 06, 2005, 17:56
I've seen a few in the brackish water when I lived at Ft Walton Beach, FL. but the 18 + foot sturgeon here about sort of spoil the big fresh water fish coolness feature of this article. I saw a 14" sturgeon on Saturday, seriously not something you expect to see in the river, this one was in a viewing pool at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia. Here is a link to the fish camera on the salmon ladder, http://www.nwp.usace.army.mil/op/b/fishcam.asp

here is a middling 800 lb sturgeon.

http://www.nwfish.com/images/800lbsturgeon.jpg

I have an excellent sturgeon fishing spot four miles from my home. Having said that alligator gars have a heck of a mouth. Speaking of bites while at Bonneville my son was feeding the 20 lb rainbow trout when he ran out of food he was acting like he was still feeding them on one to a big bite on his finger, blood everywhere, punctures all around and then a shredded scrape where he jerked his had back. Never been bit by a trout myself.

Windustsearch
September 08, 2005, 10:23
C'mon now Sword, 800 lbs? Looks more like 250-300 lbs range to me.

gordo63
September 08, 2005, 10:58
Living along the Ohio river, I've seen many alligator gar in my days but, my gosh, I've never seen anything like that!! WOW!

Sword of Laban
September 08, 2005, 12:13
Hey its just hearsay until you get it on the scales and that’s not going to happen with protected fish, probably right though, even a 2 – 300 lb fish is a handful, these guys are long. I was coming back from the Petroglyph tour at the Columbia Hills State Park. Archeology is interesting as hell but I have a family to feed. I remember a news report of one washed up on the shore of a lake in Washington that was 22' long.

Windustsearch
September 08, 2005, 12:30
Sand shrimp?

I've latched on to a few in both Roosevelt and near Ringold on the Hanford reach. Never had the opportunity to fish Bonneville though, and that is THE spot for the big whites. The Roosevelt ones were accidental while walleye fishing. The little ones are no prob, but the big ones....no way on walleye gear.

That one you got there is as big as you could hope for, not too common at that size unless you head over to Idaho.

Sword of Laban
September 08, 2005, 14:18
Sadly it wasnt mine. Biggest I've had was a about 4.5' at Willamette Falls. It was still big for for river fishing but I used to fish a lot out of Destin FL and there are some big fish there. I usually use a bait fish rig, Smely or whatever is available. The Falls have a lot of structure so its easy to lose your line.

sportsnut
September 16, 2005, 02:04
My dad caught a Sturgeon just under 9' while fishing for Salmon on the Rogue River.

cabofdoom
September 16, 2005, 07:18
When I was A kid a dead sturgeon washed up on my aunt's beach on lake Champlain. My dad (6ft+)grabbed it by the gill plat and hoisted it up and I thought "CRAP, that thing is as big as dad and in the same lake I swim in". Then dad pointed out that it had no teeth and ate off the bottom...made it all good (thats what dads are for, right?)

Any ways, upon further examination, we found what we thought were, and the game warden we called (sturgeon are protected here in Vermont) confirmed as sea lampery hits and the probable cause of death.

Now (fast forward 30 years) the state is working to restore this fishery in the lake. would love to have a chance at these monsters.

COD

Super B
September 16, 2005, 10:26
Ditto for Alligator Gar. They used to be deemed a "hazard to game fish". They were killed on sight. Now that we know it's diet consists of less than 1/4 live fish, and now that they have been mercilessly depleted, It is time to recognize their value as a huge game fish and breed/ stock them accordingly.

Treborer
September 16, 2005, 21:00
Thet foto anded mye skinny dippin daze.

They catch it on a purple worm?

:D

ALBPM
September 16, 2005, 22:20
Don't worry it'll only turn purple when the water is real cold...:rofl: :rofl: :rofl: :beer:

Windustsearch
September 19, 2005, 02:31
More fish pics.

Here's dad with a nice walleye.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/8.jpg

Another decent walleye day.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/nnn002.jpg

A decent sized brown I got a last year.

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v317/Windustsearch/corrallakebrowns04002.jpg

Note, the backdrops of all these pictures are paintings. Do not come to the NW.

40calgal
September 19, 2005, 20:48
I've caught many a Gar in my time here in MO but I can honestly say.................I sure the heck am glad it was not anything like that one. They should of hired it to do border patrol:bow:

masman
September 20, 2005, 17:04
we have gar in lake champlain but nothing that big:eek: