200-plus-pound fish swim in Texas rivers, some over 50 years old

Have you heard of alligator gar?

David Solorio, John Solorio, Chris Solorio

TEXAS – What is 7 feet long, 50 years old and weighs over 200 pounds? It's an alligator gar, and it's swimming in rivers and lakes across the U.S., including Texas.

The Trinity River is a hot spot for fishermen looking to nab an alligator gar, the largest fish in the gar family.

Angler and alligator gar expert Chris Moody shared photos with KSAT of some recent gar caught on a fishing trip near Corsicana on the Trinity River, showing two massive alligator gar.

"The largest fish was caught about two weeks ago and weighed over 200 pounds. She was 7 feet, 6 inches and had a girth of 40 inches," Moody said. "The other fish was 7 feet, 4 inches."

Photo courtesy: Chris Moody

Texas Parks and Wildlife notes the prehistoric fish are the largest and longest freshwater species in the state, "with recent catches of fish more than 8 feet long and 60 years old."

Moody, an alligator gar fishing guide who has over 25 years in the business, told KSAT he uses fresh cut carp for bait and practices catch and release.

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The world record for an alligator gar goes to a 327-pound fish that was estimated to be 95 years old, according to TPWD. It was caught in Mississippi in 2011.

To avoid overfishing, the TPWD imposed a statewide bag limit of one alligator gar per day in 2009.

Despite their appearance, alligator gar aren't known to attack humans and their teeth are designed to hold and subdue prey, not tear it apart.

Bubba Bedre, another alligator gar fishing expert, was featured on Animal Planet's TV show "River Monsters" in 2009.

Bedre said the best time for alligator gar fishing is April to October and that his most recent monster gar catch was 8 feet, 4 inches long and 265 pounds.

Photo courtesy: Bubba Bedre

About the Author:

Mary Claire Patton has been a journalist with KSAT 12 since 2015. She has reported on several high-profile stories during her career at KSAT and specializes in trending news and things to do around Texas and San Antonio.