Monday, September 17, 2007

Four Above Gar


As far as Oklahoma fishing tales go, this one will be told for years to come. It just goes to show that there are some fairly large fish roaming even the small lakes of the Sooner state - in this case, a sizeable alligator gar near Broken Bow. So one can imagine just what might be lurking beneath greater bodies of water such as the Great Lakes.
UPDATE: The following was gathered from hoax-slayer.com
The gar was actually caught by Keith Riehn and Robin Parks at the Sam Rayburn Reservoir, Texas in 2005. According to an August 2005 field journal entry published on the Aim Low Productions website, the gar weighed in at 244.5 lbs and was 8' 2" long. The entry describes in detail how the two Missouri bowfishermen made the catch and includes a link to one of the photographs included above. The photographs used in the above email message are also displayed in a photo gallery elsewhere on the site. These photographs do not include the "Broken Bow Lake" captions, which were apparently added later.A September 2005 Dallas Morning News article also confirms the catch:
Using archery tackle that would suit Luke Skywalker, two Missouri archers won a tag-team version of gar wars at Sam Rayburn Lake, bagging a gigantic alligator gar that weighed 244 ½ pounds. It is the pending Bowfishing Association of America world record. The giant fish is not, however, the largest of its species taken with bow and arrow in Texas. Seemingly, some prankster has attempted to claim undeserved regional credit by adding captions to the photographs that relocate the catch to Broken Bow Lake, Oklahoma and significantly exaggerate the recorded weight of the fish. A post on the
Oklahoma Fishing Stories blog also debunks the hoax. The post notes that the current unrestricted division alligator gar record for Oklahoma is a 184 pound fish caught by Sean Chatham in the Red River, Love County. The prank message also suggests that giant alligator gar like the one pictured are responsible for the disappearance of people in Oklahoma lakes. There have been some rare reports of humans being bitten by alligator gar when fishing or dangling feet or hands in the water, but these bites are not considered deliberate predatory attacks. Although alligator gar are quite fearsome in appearance, there is no evidence to support the claim that they have ever fatally attacked humans. A Florida Museum of Natural History write-up about alligator gar notes:
Due to its large size and sharp teeth, the alligator gar is capable of delivering a serious bite wound to fisherman or swimmers. However, there is no documentation of attacks on man by alligator gars. The eggs are poisonous, causing illness if consumed by humans. The largest recorded alligator gar was a 350 lbs giant caught during the 1930's in the Saint Francis River, Arkansas.
So, in summary: it's real, it's just not from Oklahoma. Still, it's pretty amazing to think that they get even bigger.

1 comment:

Wind said...

Update - originally sent out on the 'Net as an "Oklahoma" catch - it is apparently from Sam Rayburn Res. in Jasper, TX. See http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.opticstalk.com/photoserver/images/photos/1559.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.opticstalk.com/photoserver/photoDetail.aspx%3Fphoto%3D1559&h=600&w=450&sz=59&tbnid=SCr2u1rp0o419M:&tbnh=135&tbnw=101&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dalligator%2Bgar%26um%3D1&start=1&sa=X&oi=images&ct=image&cd=1 as reference.....