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#6919455 - 10/13/17 03:15 PM 60 Year Old Alligator Gar
jeffbird Online   content

Registered: 03/09/09
Posts: 2590
60-Year-Old Alligator Gar New Brazos River Record

AUSTIN – Texas Parks and Wildlife Department research biologists have confirmed the new alligator gar bow fishing water body record for the Brazos River is 60-years-old, among the oldest fish aged and documented by the department.

Angler Isaac Avery of Longview caught the 197 pound, 7.39 foot alligator gar bow fishing in the Brazos River Sept. 9 – beating the previous record by more than 4 pounds.

After noticing a TPWD research tag left of the fish’s dorsal fin, Avery called TPWD Inland Fisheries district biologist Michael Baird, who previously tagged the fish in March 2012. According to Baird, tags returned by anglers provide biologists with information on harvest, abundance, size structure and survival.

“I tagged this fish near Tawakoni Creek, a large Brazos River tributary just down from Waco, back in March 2012 while doing a mark-recapture study,” Baird said. “It appears she hadn’t moved much since we tagged her in 2012, and she grew approximately 65 mm (2.55 inches) since tagging.”

Baird assisted the anglers with locating a scale big enough to weigh the fish at the Brazos Feed and Supply Store. After weighing the fish, taking measurements and collecting the otoliths (bony structures found in the alligator gar’s inner ear), the data was sent to the Heart of the Hills Fisheries Science Center (HOHFSC), where researchers are conducting studies to learn more about key population characteristics of alligator gar. Researchers then used the otoliths to age the fish by counting growth rings similar to those on a tree.

“We aged the fish at 60, which indicates it hatched in 1957,” said research biologist David Buckmeier. “I looked at the gauge data from Waco around that time and sure enough there was a huge flood from April to July in 1957. What we’ve seen is that fish over the age of 50 typically come from times when these huge flood pulses occurred, and those events likely create giant year classes of these fish.”

According to Buckmeier, alligator gar typically do not spawn every year but prefer spawning habitat created by seasonal inundation of low-lying areas of vegetation – like the floods of 1957. Research on the Trinity River confirmed that the years of highest reproductive success of alligator gar coincided with years of good spring rains.

As big as this fish was, other Texas rivers and lakes hold trophy alligator gar that are even bigger. Angler Marty McClellan set the state bow-fishing record for alligator gar in 2001 with an 8 foot, 290 pound fish from the Trinity River – a record that still stands to this day. The world record, caught in Mississippi in 2011, measured 8 feet 5 inches and weighed 327 pounds. TPWD researchers examined otoliths from that fish and estimated its age at 95 years.

HOHFSC biologists are conducting several studies to learn more about Texas alligator gar populations with the goal of providing management recommendations for the sustainability of this species for present and future anglers. Past and ongoing research projects include sampling alligator gar populations in five river systems, tagging individual fish and recording their movements, and working with gar anglers to learn how they use the fishery.

Currently, Texas permits the harvest of one alligator gar per day with no minimum length limit. Bow fishing, rod and reel and jug lines are all legal methods for harvesting the limit of one fish per day.

For images of the record catch, visit the TPWD News Images online. To learn more about alligator gar, view range maps or explore previous news releases, magazine articles and YouTube videos, visit the TPWD news roundup.

#6919460 - 10/13/17 03:21 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
JCB Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 02/06/07
Posts: 23297
Loc: M.I.A.
Flower Child isn't going to like this.

#6919464 - 10/13/17 03:25 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: JCB]
jeffbird Online   content

Registered: 03/09/09
Posts: 2590
Originally Posted By: JCB
Flower Child isn't going to like this.

Have to admit I'm not too keen on it myself.

#6919497 - 10/13/17 03:57 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
Sniper John Offline

Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 16724
Loc: North Texas
That would be beyond the average life span age and likely no longer reproductive. If one believes in selective harvest it would be better to take that fish than say a 20 year old fish or whatever the age they are at prime spawning age. There is no damage from the take of a single older record size fish, but publishing it's location with a statement that there are bigger ones out there could be. Guys like Flower and social media have already already created a considerable amount of increasing fishing pressure on these fish both from individuals and guides.

#6919518 - 10/13/17 04:15 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
redchevy Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 10/25/04
Posts: 26986
Loc: Texas
Kind of indifferent. I use to be a pretty active bowfisher, it was rare I went a week or two without going and most times it was more than once a week during spring/summer/early fall. I'm glad they put a limit on gator gar but I'm glad you can still shoot them. Today I doubt I would shoot a fish like that just because I wouldn't want to do anything but take a picture with it. In years past I would have let an arrow fly. I wish they would open it back up to catfish, I enjoy bow fishing and liked being able to shoot and eat fish.
It's hell eatin em live

#6919526 - 10/13/17 04:30 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
Sneaky Online   content
The "Grouch"

Registered: 10/22/12
Posts: 17848
Loc: Winters
Shoot and eat gar, then. They’re delicious.

#6919532 - 10/13/17 04:33 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
Simple Searcher Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 12/30/12
Posts: 5573
Loc: Helotes, Hext
Dang them fish get old.
I wonder if the TFF is slammed with "age this fish" posts.

"Man is still a hunter, still a simple searcher after meat..." Robert C. Ruark

#6919545 - 10/13/17 04:50 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: Sneaky]
skinnerback Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 05/30/11
Posts: 12325
Loc: Rockport, Tx.
Originally Posted By: Sneaky
Shoot and eat gar, then. They’re delicious.


#6919610 - 10/13/17 05:43 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
colt45 Offline
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 7537
Loc: bastrop county
hold on Newt, we got a runaway

#6919691 - 10/13/17 06:56 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
doogie Offline
Bird Dog

Registered: 07/17/08
Posts: 332
Loc: Hill County

Edited by doogie (10/13/17 06:58 PM)

#6919704 - 10/13/17 07:05 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
SnakeWrangler Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 01/22/11
Posts: 31674
Loc: Over yonder.....
Originally Posted By: jeffbird
Originally Posted By: JCB
Flower Child isn't going to like this.

Have to admit I'm not too keen on it myself.

Originally Posted By: bill oxner
Now that food has replaced sex in my life, I can't even get into my own pants.

"Death is permanent...everything else is temporary!"

"You Cannot Simultaneously Be Politically Correct And Intellectually Honest!"

#6920066 - 10/14/17 07:56 AM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
Nogalus Prairie Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 11/22/10
Posts: 23310
Loc: Corsicana
It always gives me pause too.
Originally Posted By: Russ79
I learned long ago you can't reason someone out of something they don't reason themselves into.

#6920106 - 10/14/17 08:41 AM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
ntxtrapper Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 03/07/10
Posts: 1218
Loc: Fort Worth
My PB is a 191 from the Trinity River. I love bow fishing alligator gar.

#6920442 - 10/14/17 03:02 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
txtrophy85 Online   content
THF Celebrity

Registered: 08/12/05
Posts: 23133
my buddy is a bowfishing guide and people come from all over the country to shoot trophy gar.

He kills so many of them I wonder if we will see many 6'-7' fish in the future.

I don't love them but I don't want them extinct either.

I would like to shoot one big one for a mount one day then I would be done with it
Originally Posted By: Nogalus Prairie
I think the deer hunting shows and "Bro' Country" are going to be the downfall of this once-great nation.

#6920446 - 10/14/17 03:05 PM Re: 60 Year Old Alligator Gar [Re: jeffbird]
ChadTRG42 Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 09/16/09
Posts: 11932
Loc: Lewisville, TX
Sorry, but I'm not following the issue. Why is this an issue? Is it because he killed it with a bow, instead of catching it with a rod and reel to release?

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