On Sunday, April 16, Art Weston landed an alligator gar of epic proportions. Weston caught the fish with help from accomplished gar guide Kirk Kirkland while fishing in the Trinity River near Huntsville, Texas. It weighed 251 and is now being considered for an International Game Association (IGFA) line class world record.
“I caught it using cut carp for bait and the battle lasted 25 minutes until Captain Kirk Kirkland was able to lasso it,” Weston tells Field & Stream. “We had a certified crane scale and a game wench on hand, and we recorded it and released it alive.”
Weston, who holds a total of 40 IGFA records for such species as peacock bass and golden dorado, caught the monster gar on 80-pound test line. The current IGFA 80-pound line class world record is held by a 191-pound alligator gar that was also caught in the Trinity River back in 2015. Once certified, Weston’s gar will best the standing record by a whopping 60 pounds.
“We were very lucky to land her while she was still green,” says Weston, who hooked up with the behemoth while fishing his cut carp on the bottom of the river. “The first time she surfaced by the boat Captain Kirk was able to get the lasso around her.”
The fish measured 90.5 inches in length with a girth of 45.5 inches. Weston says it was one of six pending IGFA records that he and Captain Kirkland have managed to log in the last several days while fishing on the Trinity River. Both men were still out on the river when contacted by Field & Stream for comment.
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During his current outing with Kirkland, Weston has also logged pending IGFA records for a 142-pound alligator gar caught on 50-pound test, a 191-pound alligator gar on 130-pound test, as well as two line class records and one length record for spotted bass. “The 251-pound gar was so big that it drug our boat around in a circle,” says Weston. “There was no way to pull her into the boat so we used the lasso to get her ashore.”
According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, alligator gar can grow up to 8 feet long and weigh more than 300 pounds. The vast majority of IGFA records for the species were caught in Texas waters, with a handful of entries coming out of Louisiana. The all-tackle world record was caught by Bill Valverde in Texas’ Rio Grande River in 1951. That fish weighed 251 pounds and still stands as the heaviest freshwater fish ever taken with a rod and reel in the Lone Star State.