A seasoned angler whose no stranger to landing giant alligator gar caught his biggest of the year last week when he hauled an 8.5-footer from an undisclosed bayou inside the city limits of Houston, Texas. Paul Meyers hooked the giant gar while fishing with a client in the early morning hours of Thursday, July 20. It could have been a contender for a new state record, but he opted not to weigh the fish in favor of releasing it unharmed.
“It was about 5 a.m., and nothing was hitting,” Myers tells Field & Steam. “My client was like, ‘Man, it’s quiet.’ I told him: ‘That’s because there’s a really big fish in here that dominates these waters. As long as she’s on the prowl, nothing else is going to feed.’” Within an hour, Myers’ prophecy came true. A huge gar picked up his bait and began peeling line off his reel.
“When I picked up the rod and set the hook, all heck broke loose,” says Meyers. “She went about 150 yards on a Penn ATH5500 with the drag locked all the way down. That’s about 45 pounds of pressure that those reels have, and it didn’t even matter. It was like I had my bail open.”
Myers—who says he’s caught more than 120 alligator gar so far this year—fought the fish hard for the better part of 20 minutes; then he turned the rod over to his client. “He brought her in, and then I roped her,” he said. “We just kept her right there in the shallows, and in the sand, because I am very big on conservation—especially with these older fish, there’s just not that many of them around anymore. You’re talking about a fish that could be over 100 years old.”
After landing the ancient behemoth, Myer’s live-streamed his measuring process on Facebook. The video shos his tape stretching a whopping 102 inches (8.5 feet) down the center of the gar’s back. It’s hard to say what it might have weighed, but similar-sized fish caught in Texas in recent months (with slightly less length) have weighed between 207 and 251 pounds.
In June 2023, a fisherman caught an alligator gar that measured 7.5 feet and tipped scales at 207 pounds while jug fishing with a 12-inch tilapia in Lake Corpus Christi. A few months before that, renowned gar guide Kirk Kirkland put his client Art Weston on an alligator gar in the Trinity River that ended up weighing 251 pounds and measuring 7.5 feet as well. According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department, the rod-and-reel state record alligator gar weighed 279 pounds. It was caught by Bill Valverde in the Rio Grande River in 1951.
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