Alligator Gar
(Atractosteus spatula)

The alligator gar is a much misunderstood sport-fish in America, it being the second largest freshwater fish here. There are very little true things that are in print about these great fish -
they are a very long lived fish, with no natural predators except man.
They grow very fast in the first 1 to 2 years being able to obtain weights up to 20 lbs the first year, after this spurt of growth they slow down and grow all the rest of their life,
with life spans being upwards of 75 years.
They will feed on anything from birds, to fish with anything in between being taken.
They are at the top of the food chain in their environment, and they are also very fast,
hunting type fish, not a lay in wait type of fish.
They have disappeared from a lot of their former habitats, not due to over-fishing,
but mostly due to habitat changes; as in the Arkansas River, which is no longer a slow natural stream, but a river that has seen the lock and dam system arrive, and the gar are no longer able to tolerate the colder waters. The dam building here in Texas, as in Lake Livingston and Sam Rayburn, has helped the gar to multiply, especially in Lake Livingston where they have the Trinity River to migrate up stream during the spring and sinter floods.
On a normal day here in Texas we will see an average of 20 to 100 gar turn in the surface.
The gar obtain 200+ lbs here quite often with numerous fish being taken above 100 lbs weekly.
The maximum size of this giant is probably around 400 lbs -
Kirk's biggest Alligator Gar weighed 365 lbs and it was 9 ft 6 in long !

IGFA All-tackle World Record: 126.55 kg / 279 lb 0 oz - Rio Grande, Texas, USA
 


365 lbs - 9 ft 6 in
Kirk Kirkland - 1991
© Kirk Kirkland

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2000 Biggest:
211 lbs
Will
2001 Biggest:
150 lbs
Joe Taylor
2002 Biggest:
165 lbs
Lee Carpenter
2003 Biggest:
N.A.
2004 Biggest:
205 lbs
Jason Proud
2005 Biggest:
225 lbs
Doug Stange
2006 Biggest:
208 lbs
Florian Läufer
2007 Biggest:
176 lbs
Mike Channing
2008 Biggest:
225 lbs
Stewart
2009 Biggest:
268 lbs
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203 lbs
Pete Messina
2011 Biggest:
215 lbs
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