Do you love to fish or spend time outdoors at lakes? If you do, you shouldn’t miss this amazing post by Chad Love on Field & Stream about a world record alligator gar that was pulled out of the Mississippi Lake because it got tangled in a fisherman’s net!
Kenny Williams is a commercial fisherman from Vicksburg, Mississippi. He fishes from his 16-foot aluminum boat, using nets in the oxbow lakes found along the Mississippi River. Usually, Williams catches mainly buffalo. On Valentine’s Day, he’d reached his quota of buffalo, so he hauled in his nets. But when he tried to haul in his net from the Chotard Lake, it snagged on something.
Williams thought it was a log, until he saw the enormous gar tangled in the net. He could barely get the net and 327-pound, record breaking gar into his boat because the fish weighed almost double Williams’ 170 pounds!
Bobby Cleveland, a veteran outdoor writer narrates William’s story:
“Williams, who said he weighs 172 pounds, was alone in a 16-foot aluminum boat. He did have some help from nature.”
“Thank goodness I caught it in February when the water temperature was in the low 40s,’ he said. ‘This fish was so lethargic. It was not fighting me. It was like dead weight. Had it been, say, 50-degree water or warmer, it would have been a different story.”
“Williams had spent most of Valentine’s Day morning running nets he’d set in Chotard just before sunset on Sunday. ‘I was back on the lake right after sunrise on Monday and was checking my nets,’ he said. ‘I was having a great day. I had already caught about 90 percent of my week’s quota of buffalo fish when I checked this net about 9 a.m. It was tied on the bank and anchored about 75 yards out in the lake.
“I ran into a spot where the net was hung up. I freed it and took out a few more fish and then it was hung up again. I started pulling on it, slow and steady and it started coming up like dead weight. It was like when you’re rod and reel fishing and you hook a long limb or something. All of a sudden this massive head popped out of the water. I was in shock. It was so huge.”
“I was looking at this fish tangled in the top string of my net, and the adrenaline kicked in. I pushed the thought of danger to the back of my mind and started concentrating on catching this fish. I told myself you are only going to get one chance at a fish like this in your life. You have to catch it. You have to get this fish in this boat.”
“Williams was in a 16-foot long, 5-foot wide aluminum boat, alone with no tools that could assist in handling such a monster.”
“I tried to pull him in a few times and he kept slipping out of my hands and he almost got away. Then I put on my glove and ran my hand as far up in his gills as I could and grabbed on to something real hard and hung on. I used all the energy and I guess the adrenaline I had left and started pulling. Took about 30 minutes in all, and I was tired.”
“When he finally was in the boat, laying there, and I could see him all, that’s when I knew what I had done. He was so big, but he just laid there. He was too cold and probably too tired from being in that net so long. But he was just barely in the net. He wasn’t wrapped in the netting itself, just the top cord and it was wrapped around his upper jaw twice. It was so loose that it fell off during the struggle.”
“Williams tried to keep the fish alive, but failed. ‘I wanted to donate it to somebody to keep in a live tank on display but that didn’t work out, but I did donate it to the Museum of Natural Science in Jackson. They promised me they would get it mounted and keep it on permanent display in Mississippi.’”