Texas angler Brent Crawford got into the fight of his life with a giant alligator gar, but did he fillet it too soon?
Without meaning to, Lake Corpus Christi resident Brent Crawford spent his Saturday morning working on a chore he hadn’t intended: a nearly hour-long battle with a giant alligator gar.
Once the massive animal was subdued, questions were raised as to whether it might have been a Texas state record.
The epic story goes something like this:
Not long after Crawford’s neighbor, Damon Carrell had come to him with a tale of several giant fish in the canal near his home, Crawford had his 45-pound recurve fishing bow in his hand at the ready.
Carrell had told Crawford of a huge commotion in the murky waters of the canal. Crawford’s first instinct was that his neighbor had sighted a big school of grass carp, but Carrell told him that the fish he saw were as big as a car.
What they saw stunned the man: one monster female alligator gar swimming along with five males. Though the canal is only 30-feet wide, Crawford knew that he would only get one chance to strike.
After nearly an hour following the fish, the opportunity arose and he took it. The fish reacted violently to the single arrow and took off for the nearby lake.
Suddenly finding himself in knee-deep water, Crawford knew the fight was on. Approximately 45 minutes after his arrow hit the mark, the Texas man’s quarry had been turned and was in sight. On a hope and a prayer, he reached for his now wet cell phone and called his friend Jim Cosltow.
“I told Jim I needed him right now,” Crawford said. “I keep a pistol in my four-wheeler and I asked him to bring it.”
Costlow arrived to find Crawford sitting on his prize. The two men then tied the beast to Costlow’s Polaris and dragged it to his house.
They needed a forklift to raise the 8-foot, 2-inch fish onto a 300-pound scale, only to watch the scale instantly bottom out.
Crawford and his friend then filleted the monster, only to find out later that the Texas state record for an alligator gar taken by bow fishing is 290 pounds.
In fact, the all-state record for the species in Texas is 302 pounds, and even that fish was some 8 inches shorter than Crawford’s gar.