Man Breaks Alligator Gar Record and Boats Giant Alligator Snapper

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Kentucky angler Art Weston added yet another massive alligator gar to his already impressive list of International Gamefish Association (IGFA) records for the species last month, catching a 188-pound 7-footer on 4-pound line while fishing Sam Rayburn Reservoir in Texas on April 7. 

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Weston was fishing with Kirk Kirkland, the gar guide extraordinaire and captain of the Garfish Enterprise who led him to the all-tackle world-record at Rayburn last fall. That 283-pound behemoth retired a record set in 1951. 

“After 7 days and multiple trips over 4 to 5 yrs and countless lost fish we finally did it,” Kirkland wrote on his Facebook page April 9. “Lots of blood, sweat and tears (and broken line) went into this record-setting catch.”

Weston used a 6-foot, medium-action spinning rod with an Okuma spinning reel spooled with 4-pound test Momoi Hi-Catch IGFA monofilament line and a 175-pound-test steel leader with an 8/0 Gamakatsu Big River J-Hook, the Beaumont Enterprise reported. The rig was baited with a chunk of fresh carp, which the gar grabbed around mid-morning in the same area that Weston caught the 283-pounder last September. It took him about an hour to get the fish to the boat. After weighing and photographing the gar, they released it back into Rayburn. It topped the standing record, a 117-pounder caught in the Trinity River by Jason Schall in April 2022, by 71 pounds.

If the IGFA signs off on the catch, Weston will have the 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 50, 80, and 130-pound line class records for alligator gar to go along with his all-tackle record. The feat would give Weston 10 IGFA gar records in total. Jennifer Schall, who holds women’s line-class records for 2, 4, 6, 8, 12, 16, 30, 80 and 130-pound line, has nine.

Remarkably, Weston managed to catch and release another massive “gator” on his weeklong trip with Kirkland: On April 6, the same day he hooked, fought and eventually lost an alligator gar that he believes would have doubled the 117-pound line-class record he was targeting, Weston also tangled with a 200-pound alligator snapping turtle. 

“Kirk had a good idea it was a turtle based on the way it was fighting, and he was right, as it came to the surface quickly,” Weston told Fox News. “What we didn’t expect was how big it was.”

Read Next: Texas Man Catches and Releases Monster Alligator Snapping Turtle

Alligator snapping turtles are a threatened species that are protected in Texas. The men hoisted the prehistoric-looking beast into the boat so they could safely remove the hook before releasing it back into the lake.

“That thing was huge—wicked looking,” Weston to the Beaumont paper. “Its arms were big as my calves and its claws were close to four inches—they looked like bear claws.”

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