How big is an Alligator Gar? More about the aquatic species as Texas fisherman earns "Outstanding Angler Award" for catching prehistoric fish

Texas fisherman caught a large Alligator Gar (Image via Facebook / Texas Parks and Wildlife)
Texas fisherman caught a large Alligator Gar (Image via Facebook / Texas Parks and Wildlife)

A Texas angler recently received the Outstanding Angler Award for successfully catching and releasing a large fish from the most well-liked alligator gar sportfishing spot in the state. The Trinity River's "GAR-gantuan" alligator gar was caught by John Harrington on July 18, 2023, using a rod and reel, according to information released by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department on August 28, 2023.

Since the fish was caught and released, exact measurements of the Harrington's gar are currently unknown, as informed by a TPWD representative to Fox News Digital.

Fox News reported that the TPWD's representative stated in an email, writing:

"The angler did not have any weight or length data that we could verify, so he earned an Outstanding Angler Award to commemorate his amazing catch”.

According to the website of Texas Parks and Wildlife, this is the largest variety of gar. These gars usually have a maximum length of 8 feet and a maximum weight of 300 pounds. The upper jaw of an adult gar has two rows of big teeth on either side. However, the heaviest one was caught in 2001 and weighed 327 pounds.

Texas fisherman won an award for catching an Alligator Gar even though he later released it into the Trinity River

This one is the largest species of gar (Image via TPWD / Facebook / Texas Parks and Wildlife)
This one is the largest species of gar (Image via TPWD / Facebook / Texas Parks and Wildlife)

The Trinity River in Texas is one of the most popular places in the world to catch the above-mentioned type of gar. On July 18, 2023, while out on the water enjoying a lovely day with a rod and reel in hand, angler John Harrington made the catch of a lifetime. As per the official Facebook post of TPWD, the fish that the angler caught seemed to be grinning in the photo.

The alligator gar is reportedly a sizable fish that is between 6 and 10 feet long and weighs between 100 and 350 pounds. However, it is still unclear how big and how heavy the gar, which was caught by John Harrington, was.


Even though Harrington's capture didn't meet the requirements for another prize category, the TPWD still gave him an award in recognition of his achievement. The Facebook post mentioned:

"John Harrington caught this GAR-gantuan alligator gar out of the Trinity River on July 18 with a rod and reel."

It further stated:

"The gar was released to swim another day."

After that, Harrington let the gar go into the 710-mile-long Trinity River so it could continue swimming.


According to TPWD, longnose or spotted gar are the most prevalent types of alligator gar in Texas, which is the home to the largest and longest-living freshwater species.

Details about the species of fish

Alligator gar is one of the biggest freshwater fish in North America and the largest species in the gar family. The adult version of these fishes look like alligators, which is how it earns its name. This is the largest species of gar to exist and can reportedly weigh up to 300 pounds and be as long as eight feet.


The torpedo-shaped body of this gar is typically brown or olive in color and fades to a lighter gray or yellow ventral surface. They can even be black in exceedingly rare circumstances.

These types of fish enjoy eating ducks and other water birds. However, they most likely eat freshwater fishes. They mostly eat salty marine catfish, but they also eat fish carcasses and other garbage that is dumped around ports and harbors.

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Edited by Priya Majumdar
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