South Carolina Couple Reels in Potentially 13 World Record-Setting Gar in One Amazing Trip

by Michael Freeman

Jason and Jennifer Schall, a couple living in South Carolina, may have broken 13 line class IGFA world records for gar fishing. Taking a fishing trip to Trinity River in Anderson County, Texas, the two managed to accomplish this feat within a mere two weeks.

Jason and Jennifer primarily fished for alligator gar, but Jason caught a record longnose gar as well. Claiming to have caught over 700 species of fish, Jason was still in awe of his fishing expedition. “It was the trip of a lifetime. We’ve said this many times since returning home, but that’s going to be a tough one to beat.”

Jason and Jennifer’s Impressive World Record Feats

This statement applied to Jennifer as well, especially considering she caught a 132-pound alligator gar. If approved, it would set a world record for being one of the largest freshwater fish a female angler caught. Not landing the gar until the final day, Jennifer recounts how fierce the encounter was.

“The fight was pretty intense. It honestly felt like trying to reel a submarine up off of the floor of the river. She was so heavy and just had so much mass and length to her, that trying to bring her up was really tough. She’d get close to the boat and be like ‘nope’ and dive again. She did that three or four times.”

Between the couple, it’s difficult to discern which of the two was more excited.

“It was really fun to witness,” he says. “I was sick with excitement. I felt like I couldn’t breathe. As soon as that thing shot out of the water, you knew it was the fish. It was the one you dream about—oh lord, please don’t let this thing come off the line.”

The fish was so big, in fact, the couple couldn’t bring it onto the boat. The gar had to be towed to shore to take its measurements for record submission. After a few pictures, they released the fish back into the water.

Jason had his share of excitement on the trip too. Landing gar on extremely light line, sight-fishing gar using flashy patterns on a fly rod, and catching a 123-pound gar using a 6-pound-test are but a few of his successes on the trip.

“I’m confident that even with the little torque that you can put on, you’re doing enough that the fish is still going to eventually tire out,” Jason advises. “Alligator gar are one of my favorite species of fish. They’re just so strong and unique. They’re prehistoric monsters, really. They have these sharp rows of teeth and concrete heads. What’s not to love?”

Jason and Jennifer note they only target difficult, hardy fish for line-class records. However, despite enjoying a challenge, they say they love sharing the experience with others above all else. For the couple, “One of the most fun parts about doing what we do is being with a kid—or anyone really—who catches their very first fish.”

The past week has been great for fishing, it seems. Though one might question instances like catching a great white shark as great.