Who says the dinosaurs are extinct? In fact, many Texas rivers are home to some true prehistoric throwbacks, even if many people don't realize they are there, lurking just beneath the murky surface of the rivers. We are talking about the giant alligator gar, a species once unfairly labeled with the term "trash fish," that has since exploded in popularity with catch and release anglers looking for one of the ultimate thrills in freshwater fishing. Need proof? Check out this video from YouTuber WILD LIFE. This angler has staked out a bend in the river with a deep pool where the gar like to gather and feed. He has one line in the water and another rod rigged up with a bait on standby, just waiting in case one surfaces. It doesn't take long before one does.
When the massive fish takes his bait, what happens next is a nearly 10-minute battle as the angler attempts to keep the fish from wrapping up in a sunken tree on one side, and a ton of rocks on the other. What makes this even more challenging is the fact the angler is on his own in this battle. There's no one to help him as he finally tires the fish down and manages to slip a rope over it and drags this behemoth onto the shore.
It doesn't get much bigger than that when it comes to freshwater fishing. Had he not gotten the rope around the middle, that fish would have been gone and it would have taken the rod and reel with it. When he notes it's a couple inches off the world record, he's wrong on that part. Actually. a 98-inch alligator gar is about five inches bigger than the current all-tackle world record as recognized by the International Game Fish Association. That means it's not out of the realm of possibility that this was a world record fish that he released to fight another day.
However, it's worth noting that Bill Valverde's 1951 world record of a 93-inch, 279-pound gar is very unlikely to be broken anytime soon, mainly because Texas has a one fish a year limit for this species over most of the state. Also, even with the limit, most anglers choose to release rather than kill an alligator gar these days. We like to think that's because more anglers than ever have grown to love and appreciate this species and fewer are willing to kill a big fish, especially considering a gar of this size could potentially be 70 to 100 years old. Gar are throwbacks, fish that were on this planet when the dinosaurs were still alive, which makes the fact they are still here even more impressive.
Kudos to this angler for releasing this massive gar to fight another day. It's nice to finally see the alligator gar getting the love and respect these true survivors deserve.