A seasoned angler whose no stranger to landing giant alligator gar caught his biggest of the year last week when he hauled an 8.5-footer from an undisclosed bayou inside the city limits of Houston, Texas. Paul Myers hooked the giant gar while fishing with a client in the early morning hours of Thursday, July 20. It could have been a contender for a new state record, but he opted not to weigh the fish in favor of releasing it unharmed.
“It was about 5 a.m., and nothing was hitting,” Myers tells Field & Steam. “My client was like, ‘Man, it’s quiet.’ I told him: ‘That’s because there’s a really big fish in here that dominates these waters. As long as she’s on the prowl, nothing else is going to feed.'” Within an hour, Myers’ prophecy came true. A huge gar picked up his bait and began peeling off line.
“When I picked up the rod and set the hook, all heck broke loose,” he said. “She went about 150 yards on a Penn ATH5500 with the drag all the way locked down. That’s about 45 pounds of pressure that those reels have, and it didn’t even matter. It was like I had my bail open.”
Myers—who says he’s caught more than 120 alligator gar so far this year—fought the fish hard, running up and down the bank trying to subdue it for the better part of 20 minutes; then he turned the rod over to his client. “He brought her in, and then I roped her,” he said. “We just kept her right there in the shallows, and in the sand, because I am very big on conservation—especially with these older fish, there’s just not that many of them around anymore. You’re talking about a fish that could be more than 50 years old.”
After landing the ancient behemoth, Myers live-streamed his measuring process on Facebook. His tape stretched a whopping 102 inches (8.5 feet) down the center of the gar’s back. It’s hard to say what it might have weighed, but similar-sized fish caught in Texas in recent months (with slightly less length) have weighed between 207 and 251 pounds.
In June 2023, a fisherman caught an alligator gar that measured 7.5 feet and tipped scales at 207 pounds while jug fishing with a 12-inch tilapia in Lake Corpus Christi. A few months before that, renowned gar guide Kirk Kirkland put his client Art Weston on an alligator gar in the Trinity River that also measured 7.5 feet and weighed 251 pounds. According to the Texas Parks & Wildlife, the rod-and-reel state record alligator gar weighed 279 pounds. It was caught by Bill Valverde in the Rio Grande River in 1951.