A professional fisherman instructing a youngster on the ins-and-outs crankbait fishing found a way to change the lesson plan from casting to catching after spotting a big gar gulping air only 40 feet from his boat. On his third toss to the fish, he enticed the 5-footer to swallow his lure and was soon in possession of Louisiana’s new longnose gar state record.
Jake Ormond, a bass pro, guide, and fishing instructor from Sterlington, was on his home lake of Bayou Bartholomew July 17 when he spotted the gar just a few hundred yards from his house. He put down his crankbait rod and picked up another rod with a flutter spoon tied on. Banking on the idea that gar are attracted to “flashy” lures, he started pitching.
“I didn’t get a bite on the first cast, so I turned the trolling motor and I saw him on ‘perspective’ on the LiveScope, on the bottom,” Ormond told Louisiana Sportsman. “The second pitch, he turned, and I could tell which end was his head. The third cast, I pulled it right over the end of his nose, and he came up and grabbed it.”
The gar measured 65 ½ inches long and weighed 31.48 pounds, about 9 ½ ounces heavier than the Louisiana record caught by Cody Broussard in April 2022 on Bayou Benoit. The fish was so long that Ormond didn’t have a net big enough to contain it, so he used his trolling motor to tow it to his private boat ramp 300 yards away. He later weighed the gar on an official scale and filled out the paperwork to certify it as a state record.
Longnose gar don’t get as big as alligator gar. They usually top out around 6 feet, and the IGFA world record for the species is 43 pounds, caught May 7, 2017, on the Trinity River in Texas by Rock Shaw. Alligator gar, on the other hand, have been known to top 8 feet and approach (or even occasionally surpass) the 300-pound mark. Though smaller, longnose gar are more widely distributed and therefore a little more commonly encountered by the average angler.
The lesson is one the 7-year-old on Ormond’s boat will likely never forget. “The first time it came up beside the boat, he was like, ‘Oh my gosh, that’s the biggest fish I’ve ever seen,’” Ormond told the Antler & Hicks podcast. “You know, it was bigger than he was.”