National Geographic explorer and geoscientist Andres Ruzo recently did a short video explaining why residents in Texas were finding longnose gar dead in fences along their rivers.
Longnose gar are prehistoric fish. They are mostly considered trash fish, but those in the know actually target and catch these toothy critters. Yep, on purpose.
These fish are very hard to catch. Their mouths are so tough and bony it takes patient and experienced anglers to land them safely. They are also extremely acrobatic and take long blistering runs. This has led to many fisherman who chase gar to dub the fish “poor man’s tarpon.”
But why are they turning up dead in fences?
So you’re thinking; well duh, right?
I think it’s one of those things that seem so obvious once someone has explained it, but if you were to have come across the scenario without knowing the river had flooded recently, you’d probably have been a bit confused; and maybe a touch freaked out.
One thing I disagreed with Ruzo about; I don’t think the fish swan through the fence to begin with. Gar breathe air, and when we target these fish on our rivers we never have to fish deep at all. We use small floats and rarely need to fish deeper than two feet.
So I think the fish left the river bed area when the banks were flooded and swam over the fence, but didn’t return to the immediate area of the river before the waters receded. At this point they had no other alternative but to try to get through the fence.