On June 24, Georgia angler Caleb McClure caught a longnose gar from Lake Allatoona—30 miles north of Atlanta—that doubled the lake’s previous record, caught only a month ago. The nearly five-foot long specimen was just a few pounds shy of the current state record for the species.
Georgia Outdoor News, which tracks lake and river records throughout the Peach State, reports that McClure’s longnose tipped the scales at 27 pounds and four ounces and measured 59 and ⅝ inches in length. The previous record, caught on Memorial Day by 12-year-old Leam Farmer, weighed 12 pounds, 3.7 ounces. Farmer’s fish topped the previous longnose record by 4 pounds, making McClure’s fish 19 pounds heavier than the biggest longnose ever reeled in from the lake before May of this year.
A recent GDNR fishing report noted that McClure’s fish also topped the biggest longnose ever captured from the lake, besting a 24-pounder caught during gillnet sampling in the fall of 2021. The current state record, set in March of last year, was 31 pounds, two ounces, caught by Rachel Harrison on the Coosa River.
According to the International Game Fish Association, the all-tackle world record for longnose gar is 43 pounds even. That fish was caught by Rock Shaw in the Trinity River in Texas on May 7, 2017.
Lake Allatoona is a U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-constructed 12,010-acre reservoir fed by the Etowah and Little rivers and Allatoona and Stamp creeks. It holds a variety of bass, crappie, and catfish species, as well as tiger trout, yellow perch, shellcracker, and longnose gar.
Longnose gar, also known as longnose garpike or billy gar, are ray-finned fish that have long snouts filled with needle-like teeth. They use their distinctive rostrum-like chopsticks to nab a wide range of prey including frogs, snakes, aquatic turtles, invertebrates, waterfowl, and small mammals.