A Fallen Record
By David Graham - July 6, 2021
As of this year - the long standing All-Tackle World Record for Longnose Gar has finally been scrubbed. For almost a decade I have been frustrated at the unconquerable record set some 65+ years ago by legendary gar fisherman, Townsend Miller. The fish measured an ungodly 72.25 inches with a 22 inch girth. Completely impossible stats for a true longnose gar.
The IGFA has determined the gar (finally) to have been a hybrid longnose/Alligator gar. The longnose gar and alligator gar will occasionally hybridize to what can be mistaken for a very large longnose gar to the untrained eye. Still, as a seasoned gar angler, this photo caused a lot of undue frustration
FRUSTRATION - because not once, but TWICE I have been fortunate enough to catch true world record class longnose gar. Fish the could have, and very well possible should have been in contention for World Record status. Still, as big as they were, they were nearly a foot shorter than the misidentified record set in 1954.
In 2012 I caught an enormous longnose gar from the Red River on the Oklahoma/ Texas border. At the time of the catch I knew we were dealing with something entirely different. The reality that we were probably looking at a true World Record hurt all the more knowing it was still a far cry from the measurements that were on the books... measurements of a FALSE entry.
Catching and receiving notoriety for having records isn't my game per-se... but being an ambassador of the species - and having my name associated with THIS record would be humbling, and honorable. To be the person who properly showcases the true potential of the species is worthy of the title, and the pursuit of the record.
Incredible - some two years later, from the exact some stretch of river some 100 yards from where that 61 inch fish was landed I pulled it off AGAIN on a solo adventure. Once again, another fish that measured exactly 61 inches - with weight unknown was put on the bank. To come across a longnose gar of this magnitude once is insane, to have pulled it off twice is otherworld luck.
And while the helplessness of knowing record recognition was basically out of reach - the feeling of watching such a fish return to the depths remedies the heartache.
This year the 1950's record was finally scrubbed - and the next biggest fish registered through the IGFA has taken its place. A 43 pound 62~ inch longnose gar was captured, measured, and weighed by a solo angler in 2017... likely a record chasing individual, smart enough to come equipped with a registered scale, and knowledge of what documentation on length and girth measurements are needed.
The bar has been lowered... but its still WAY up there. These are exciting times for gar anglers, where a world record is now within reach. I have been fortunate enough to touch record sized fish on several occasions,... even now I know areas halfway across the country from where I eclipsed the 60' mark twice - where I believe fish over 60 inches exist here in my new home state of Florida.