: Lepisosteus platyrhincus
OTHER NAMES: Gar,
They are found in the Ochlocknee River
and waters east and south in peninsular Florida.
They inhabit medium-to-large lowland
streams, canals and lakes with mud or sand bottoms near underwater
vegetation. Like all gars, they use an air bladder to breathe air to
survive in poorly oxygenated water.
They have irregular round, black spots
on the top of the head and over the entire body and on all the fins.
Other gars, except for spotted gars, have spots on the fins and usually
on the posterior part of the body. They can be distinguished from other
gars, such as spotted gars, by the distance from the front of the eye to
the back of the gill cover. In Florida gars, the distance is less than
two-thirds the length of the snout. In spotted gars, the distance is
more than two-thirds the length of the snout. Other characteristics of
Florida gars include a shorter, broader snout with a single row of
irregularly spaced sharp teeth on both upper and lower jaws and no bony
scales on the throat. The coloration is olive-brown along the back and
upper sides with a white-to-yellow belly. The young sometimes have dark
stripes along back and sides.
Females grow faster, bigger, and live
longer than males and can attain lengths in excess of 3 feet.
: 21 pounds.
FOOD VALUE: None. The roe
of a gar is poisonous to man, birds and other fish.
GAME QUALITIES: Gar are a
sporty fighter, although they are not fished for much..
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