Spectators marvel at massive alligator gar

Published 12:19 am Sunday, March 21, 2010

FERRIDAY — Vidalia resident Russell Wagoner absolutely had to turn around and come back.

It’s not every day that someone sees a 7-foot, 185-pound alligator gar hanging outside a fish market store for drivers to see, and Wagoner said he wanted a closer look.

“I was just going by (J.D.’s Fish Market), and just made the loop and came back,” Wagoner said. “I stopped, took a picture and just looked at it. We’ve seen these things around the area at different times, it’s just unusual that someone (caught) one.”

Owner J.D. Denny caught the fish March 9, and Wagoner said it was unlike anything he’d ever seen.

“That thing was big. I don’t know how many people I’ve told, but I have several hundred people on my e-mail list, and I just sent the picture out. Most folks don’t have an opportunity to see something like that.”

Denny, however, said he’s seen several that are that big in his time as a fisherman.

“I fish once or twice a week and see them all the time,” Denny said. “I caught three gars here several years ago. This is the fourth gar I’ve ever caught that big, and they were all about the same size.

“There were about a thousand people out here asking questions, because they couldn’t believe how big it was. But, there are gar out there bigger than that.”

The fish was caught on Lake Concordia with a large hook and a long line baited and tied to a tree, Denny said. After killing it with a blow to the head, Denny loaded his catch into the boat.

“I left him in the boat, came back and got my fork lift, picked him up off the boat and brought him back here,” Denny said.

Denny also said fishing these things out of Lake Concordia would be much easier if fishermen were allowed to use nets.

“They shut down the lake a few years ago, and now we can’t catch anything with a net. They need to open that thing back up, because all the big fish are eating up all the small fish.”

The body of the animal was sold, but Denny kept the head, and said he might try to let scavengers pick it down to the bone.

“I might throw it in an ant bed and let them eat it away,” he said.