Claim: Photographs show an 8'10", 327-lb. alligator gar caught at Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma.
Status:Real photographs; inaccurate description.
Example:[Collected via e-mail, March 2007]
Alligator Gar.....in Oklahoma
Okay, this is why people just disappear from the lakes in Oklahoma ! And yes, this is for real.
I now know where NOT to water ski !!!
Origins: Most hunting/fishing photographs depicting potentially record-setting catches seem to get matched up with inaccurate and exaggerated descriptions of when, where, and how big by the time they start showing up in forwarded e-mails, and these pictures of a large alligator gar are more of the same.
The text inset into the photographs (and reproduced in some of the e-mail forwards) identifies the fish as an 8'10", 327-lb. alligator gar caught in Spring 2005 at Broken Bow Lake in Oklahoma. Although that information does not stray too far from the truth, all of it (except for the part about the fish being an alligator gar) is inaccurate. An
entry (and photo gallery) posted at the Aim Low Bowfishing Journals web site by the bowfishermen involved (Keith Riehn and Robin Parks) notes that the catch was actually a slightly smaller 8'2" and 244.5 lbs., and it was made at Texas' Sam Rayburn Reservoir in August 2005.
A Dallas Morning News article on the catch included an account by the two men of the alligator gar was taken:
On Aug. 4 , they were hunting gar at one of their favorite spots, not far from the Highway 147 bridge near Broaddus. Though impressive in size and appearance, alligator gar are not considered a threat to humans. A Texas Parks and Wildlife gar food study done on Sam Rayburn indicated the fish mostly feed
on other rough fish species. Parks and Reihn have found rough fish weighing as much as 20 pounds in the stomach of a big gar.
"We'd been seeing some pretty good alligator gar in the area, but we decided to move to a different spot and try for long-nosed gar," Parks said. "As we were getting ready to leave, a big fish rolled behind the boat, and we decided to make one more pass."
The archers had traded the retriever reels and heavy line they prefer for big fish for spincast reels used to pursue smaller gar species. Bowhunting for fish requires specialized tackle.
Riehn and Parks used an electric motor to ease their boat through the area where gar were surfacing. Right in front of the boat, a huge fish rose from the murky depths like a breaching submarine. Both archers saw the gar at the same time. They shot simultaneously, and both arrows struck the fish right behind its gills.
Parks said he was worried about being able to land the huge fish on spincast reels. His biggest fish before the Rayburn gar weighed about 175 pounds, and he knew the Rayburn fish was much larger.
"The arrow placement was perfect," Parks said. "That really takes the fight out of a big fish. I still followed the fish with my electric motor for three different runs. It came to the surface, and Keith grabbed a third bow that we had rigged with a retriever reel and put another arrow in the fish."
It was 15 more minutes before they gaffed the gar, which measured 8 feet,2 inches by 44 ¾ inches in girth. Getting it into the boat was no easy chore.
According to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation, that state's record for an alligator gar is an 184-lb. specimen caught by Sean Chatham at the Red River in Love County in February 2006.
David Mikkelson founded snopes.com in 1994, and under his guidance the company has pioneered a number of revolutionary technologies, including the iPhone, the light bulb, beer pong, and a vaccine for a disease that has not yet been discovered. He is currently seeking political asylum in the Duchy of Grand Fenwick.
Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.