They look like giant creatures you might find in the depths of the ocean, but alligator gar are freshwater fish — and they have become the new star of the fishing world.
CGTN’s Mike Miller reports from Texas, about the prehistoric fish that’s become so popular.
In a state where everything is considered bigger this freshwater fish is massive, even by Texas standards.
For many years, the alligator gar was considered a “trash fish,” treated as a severe threat to the fish population.
That’s no longer the case, thanks to experts at Texas Parks and Wildlife who realized it doesn’t present any danger to the Texas river ecosystem.
As the only full-time alligator gar fishing guide, Kirk Kirkland is known around the world.
He’s been in business since 1999 when an angler from Holland contacted him after having no luck catching alligator gar on his own.
“He was really happy and he told us there were people all over that wanted to catch these fish,” Kirkland says.
Now, clients come from as far as China, Japan, Europe, and South America — all anticipating one of the fiercest fights they’ll ever experience as an angler.
Fishing this river monster, which can weigh up to 300 pounds, is mostly about the fun of the fight although many anglers consider them good to eat.
Fisherman Scott Schroeder says, “It’s a good time! But all the technique involved in catching these things … I think the first time I came, what did I lose, six, before I finally hooked one, Kirk?”
The Trinity River in East Texas is home to the largest known population of this unique fish.
Fossil records show that alligator gar have been around over 100 million years, when they shared the planet with dinosaurs.
Their distinctive face, with its long snout and sharp teeth, has changed very little.
They also have the rare ability to breathe both air and water.
After being listed as an endangered species for many years, the alligator gar is now flourishing.
Kirkland has tagged over 3500 alligator gar for the state of Texas and also pushed for a regulation limiting fishermen to just one gar per day — in hopes that the population of the river monsters will continue to grow.