327-Pound Alligator Gar? That Ain’t Nuthin’!

POOR WILLIAM’S WHIMS:

 

327-Pound Alligator Gar? That Ain’t Nuthin’!

By POOR WILLIAM

Biologists with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks measure the massive alligator gar caught February 14 at Lake Chotard by commercial fisherman Kenny Williams of Vicksburg. / Ricky Flynt,MDWFP/Special to The Clarion-Ledger

Biologists with the Mississippi Museum of Natural Science and the Department of Wildlife, Fisheries and Parks measure the massive alligator gar caught February 14 at Lake Chotard by commercial fisherman Kenny Williams of Vicksburg. / Ricky Flynt,MDWFP/Special to The Clarion-Ledger

Mississippi might not be number one or even number 49 in education, but I’ll be damned if we don’t have the largest ever recorded alligator gar in the history of alligator gars: 327 pounds, 8 feet, 5 1/8 inches, caught on Valentine’s Day in Lake Chotard by Mississippi commercial fisherman, Kenny Williams. Kenny don’t play!

If it was 327 pounds, 5 feet, 8 1/2 inches, Poor William would have to confirm through a “proof of life” negotiation that he was not the one caught in Kenny’s net!

John Ruskey, owner of Quapaw Canoe Company, provided Poor William with the following picture of an alligator gar reportedly caught in the 1930’s in Moon Lake right here in Coahoma County.

ALLIGATOR GAR MOON LAKE

ALLIGATOR GAR MOON LAKE

Can one imagine swimming with that prehistoric looking behemoth?

There is always a Southerner who has a story to outdo anybody else’s story. I bet when Sergeant York single-handedly captured an entire battalion of German soldiers during World War I, there were certainly boys all over the South who thought the world-record battle capture wouldn’t even be an honorable mention back home.

I can hear one saying now: “Hell, that ain’t nuthin’; you shoulda seen what me and Bobby caught with our bare hands in Old Man Brown’s Blue Hole last year.  I bet that sumbitch went 460, maybe 465. Sheeeeit, Ole Bobby pissed his pants, but it ain’t no big deal, he needed a bath anyways!”

Now, it is well known among fishermen and those who know and have to listen to them that a fisherman invented the notion of hyperbole.

The comedian Richard Pryor said about his character and friend Mudbone, “He tell a lie, I tell a lie, see, and we compliment each other’s lies.” Now, that is fishing!

Poor William remembers hearing Jeff Foxworthy being interviewed years ago about his transition from IBM, where he followed in his father’s footsteps, to standup comedy. He said after he had become famous that his grandfather still didn’t think he had “made it” because he had not yet been featured on a fishing show. In the South, fishing matters.

If ole Descartes, the French philosophe, who is credited with crafting the Latin phrase, “cogito ergo sum” (I think therefore I am) has any descendents in the Deep South, they likely would recognize that they do indeed exists because of their own Patrick McManus cogito: “I fish, therefore I am.”

Poor William still is amazed at the enormity of the 1976 bass he hooked in a moss-laden brackish pond on Hilton Head Island in South Carolina while vacationing with his best friend, Mr. Lil John McKee da Turd.

In fact, the elusive hawg-of-a-bass, which jumped no less than fifteen feet out of the water as he was spitting the fishing lure back toward the wide-eyed Poor William, very likely has grown so large that the Earth’s axis might have tipped a bit due to so much mass being in one spot.

Poor William has five large fish tanks in his house and a couple of tiny ones, so he is all bout some fish. Magical Madge, his Pisces bride of mythical proportions–just like the fish Poor William catches–is only partially correct in her belief that he overfeeds his fish because he wants them to eat like he does.

Poor William also overfeeds them so that he can have the biggest damn fish that space and money can afford.

“Cause, if a little fish is good then a big fish is better and a lot of big fish is best! Gone fishin’!

 

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Comments

  1. P.W. I saw large screen pics of this fish while attending the Mississippi Chapter of The American Fisheries Scociety’s Conference held at MSU February 23-25. A Very Large Gator Gar Indeed. Largest I have personally seen. We at The MDWFP’s North Mississippi Fish Hatchery, located at the Enid Dam exit off I55, spawn 150lb plus Gator Gar each year in cooperation with The Private John Allen(USFWS) Fish Hatchery at Tupelo. Let me tell you, a 150lb fish of any species is a hand full. I can’t imagine having to handle this 300lb plus fish. It’s a shame the Gar was caught in a Commercial Net and therefore cannot qualify as an official State Record for Alligator Gar caught with line and tackle. FYI-many fishermen and fisherwomen think all Gar are Alligator Gar. This cannot be further from the truth. There are three species of Gar native to Mississippi. The Longnose Gar, Spotted Gar(most common)and The Alligator gar.

  2. That is correct PW! Their head closely resembles The American Alligator’s. Thus, the name “Alligator Gar”. This fish has been on a steady decline since the 1960’s. However, thanks to the stocking of Fry by the U.S.F.W.S. in cooperation with M.D.W.F.P. and specificly The Private John Allen Fish Hatchery(U.S.F.W.S.) in Tupelo and (M.D.W.F.P’s) North Mississippi Fish Hatchery at Enid, MS, back into The Lower Mississippi River Basin,
    we are getting reports of the fish being caught once again by commercial fishermen in the Mississippi River and it’s tributaries (‘ie, The Big Sunflower, Coldwater, Tallahatchie and Yazoo rivers). This is very good news for the future of The Alligator Gar.

    Speaking of the Coldwater River system, I would conclude that The Moon Lake Gator Gar pictured above got into the lake via The Yazoo Pass during a high water event. Much like The Giant PaddleFish taken out of Moon this past February and December. We should have aging information on the Paddlefish in about a year and expect to find that their differing ages correlates with a high water event. During past high water events the Coldwater River fills the Yazoo Pass and actually causes a rise in water levels on Moon Lake.

  3. Good info Spikehead!

  4. Liljohn says:

    Interesting stuff JG. Makes sense now that you look at the picture – it does look like a gator head. PW, that bass you almost landed in SC was a blessing. Had the hook stayed in he would have pulled you in, and you wouldn’t be blogging today. He was at least, say, three feet long and a good 50-60 lbs. World record for sure.

  5. “Ain’t No World Record Bass Gonna Pull P.W.’s Scrawney Ass In”. You think, J.B.? Maybe a World Record Gasper- Goo! (Drum).

  6. I know y’all gonna call me a damn lie, but I think that fisherman is known as Kingfisher. He lived on the spur levee when my old hunting camp was on the Island 63 Chute. He lived there about 30 years and was a commercial fisherman. Mabry Anderson wrote about him in the Delta Farm Press. When he got about 80 years old, I was about 10, he moved across the levee to our place; he told my dad and I, when he was a boy, he was raised on Moon Lake. He said he could walk out on a old log, North of the Yazoo Pass, and he could look down and see the silhouette of the sunken Civil War boat there. There are a few old people ( older than me ) who remember him. He saved some people from drowning, when the levee broke at what’s now Burkes Hunting Club, in a row boat. Mabry Anderson said he could row up River faster than their one horsepower motors could push them in the 1930s. They don’t make men like that anymore.

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