: Lepisosteus spatula
OTHER NAMES: Gar,
Found in the Escambia, Yellow and
Choctawhatchee rivers in northwest Florida.
They inhabit sluggish pools and
backwaters of large rivers, bayous and lakes. They rarely are found in
brackish or salt water.
They are one of the most distinctive
freshwater fish species. Alligator gars are the largest of all gar
species with a head that looks very much like an alligator's. They can
be distinguished from all other gars species by the two rows of teeth in
the upper jaw, their short-broader snout, and their size when fully
grown. The body is long, slender, and olive or greenish brown (sometimes
black) along the back and upper sides with white to yellow bellies. The
sides are mottled toward the head with large black spots toward the rear
and on the rear fins. The young have a light stripe along their back
from tip of snout to upper base of caudal fin.
They are one of the monsters of fresh
waters. They can reach lengths of up to 10 feet and weights of more than
: 123 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: None. The roe
of a gar is poisonous to man, birds and other fish.
Because of their huge size and great
strength, alligator gars are popular with anglers. They are not a fish
that is caught easily because its sharp teeth will cut most lines in an
TACKLE AND BAITS:
They can be taken with minnows and
artificial lures or during daylight by spearing (although not by spear
gun) and snagging them with treble hooks. They are popular with
bow-fishermen and anglers using frayed nylon cord as a lure snag, which
entangles the gars teeth.
FISHING TECHNIQUES: Still