world record alligator gar
Kirk Kirkland, Facebook

Kentucky Man Hooks 283-Pound Alligator Gar, Takes Over 2 Hours to Reel In

Art Weston holds over 50 IGFA records, and just (unofficially) bagged another one.

A Kentucky man may have broken an international record with his latest alligator gar catch while on a fishing trip in Texas.

Art Weston, an experienced angler and record-chaser, reeled in a monstrous alligator gar weighing 283 pounds, with the help of boat captain Kirk Kirkland. The pair were fishing off Kirkland's boat in an eastern Texas reservoir when Weston hooked the dinosaur-looking fish on his 6-pound test.

Weston has been fishing since he was a young boy and has spent the past few years chasing International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world records with Kirkland. He has over 50 current and pending IGFA world records.

Weston had originally booked a trip with Kirkland this year to attempt to set a new 12-pound-test record, which they accomplished on Weston's first day of fishing on Kirkland's boat, the Garship Enterprise. The 169-pounder they caught should easily top the current IGFA record of 129 pounds, 13 ounces.

With that record in the bag, Weston decided to size down to a 6-pound test. Kirkland chose a spot with a sandy bottom and very few snags. It wasn't long before Weston's carp bait was swallowed by a giant alligator gar.

Weston battled the fish, letting it run and tire itself while he did everything possible to keep his 6-pound line from breaking. 

"Alligator gar will surface numerous times during a fight to get gulps of air or to jump, and if you have a great guide, they can get a rope on it and land it at the side of the boat, which is legal for an IGFA record," Weston told Fox Carolina of his effort, which took over two hours. "We keep the boat right over the fish the whole time we are fighting it to be ready to land it when it surfaces."

Once on deck, the giant gar weighed in at 283 pounds and measured more than 8 feet long with a 4-foot girth. That outstrips the current all-tackle world record for alligator gar, which was 279 pounds—and has stood for over 70 years.

After weighing and measuring the fish, Weston and Kirkland released the gar back into the water, something they do with all of their catches.

"What I enjoy about fishing, and especially record hunting, is all the strategy and knowledge you must gain and how well you plan for each trip," Weston said. "I apply learning from prior trips to keep me advancing in the sport." 

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