Teenagers Land ‘Monster’ Alligator Gar After Thinking it Was a Turtle

by Matthew Memrick

Two Texas teens who thought they had a Christmas turtle on the end of their fishing line ended up with a “monster” Alligator Gar.

Charlie Oliver and Evan Adams got a bite Sunday fishing in Houston’s Buffalo Bayou. According to USA Today, Oliver prepped the rod and passed it to Adams.

When Adams got a tug on his line, he didn’t think much of it. The teen told the Houston Chronicle that they get giant alligator snapping turtles “all the time.”

But when the “turtle” started fighting it, the boys knew they had something big below the surface. After a 15-minute battle, they pulled in an alligator gar that measured 6-feet, 10-inches.

The boys measured it, snapped a quick photo, and put it back in the water without knowing if it was a record. The teens estimated that fish was 140 pounds.

“People were really freaked out about it, they thought something that big couldn’t be swimming in their backyards,” Oliver told The Houston Chronicle.

Boys Likely Topped Texas Record

While the high school seniors showed off the gar picture, they learned that the gar was probably the biggest fish to come out of that body of water in the past decade.

Bill Valverde’s New Year’s Day gar catch was a 279-pounder that came on the Rio Grande River back in 1951 for a Texas record. According to the International Game Fish Association, Valverde used a rod and reel, and his catch happens to be the all-tackle world record.

The biggest alligator gar catch came at Mississippi’s Chotard Lake in February 2011. A commercial fisherman caught a 327-pounder in his net that measured 8 feet, 5 1/8 inches.

Can You Feast On Gar?

Can you eat Gar? Sure you can. Some call it a trash fish but give it a chance. Folks have no problems dropping sushi down their throats, right?

The website Eat The Weeds said go for the light meat because it’s like lobster and has a chicken-like texture. However, don’t scrap all the dark meat because it gels well with the delicate meat. Keep in mind that dark meat has a very gamey taste. 

The website also said you could fry the fillet or boil the fish if you want.

Some folks put the meat through a grinder twice and make patties out of them. They also spice them and eat the fish hot.

A former Marine in Virginia who caught a longnose gar by bow said he likens the fish to venison tenderloin.

“I knew all the tales that they’re a trash fish and eat up more fish than their body weight,” Shawn Kennedy said. “But they’re actually pretty cool.” 

But stay away from the fish’s eggs. They are toxic to mammals and birds. But, strangely, not to other fish.