Home » One fish story that spans millions of generations: A Kansas fisherman finds a massive alligator gar

One fish story that spans millions of generations: A Kansas fisherman finds a massive alligator gar

by Lester Blair
Danny Smith II displays a 39.5-pound Alligator Gar, measuring four feet, six inches, which he caught in the Neosho River in southeast Kansas. Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks officials say the fish is not native to Kansas and previously have not been documented there.
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Here’s a big story about a fisherman from Kansas who caught this prehistoric predator fish by putting his line into the water. It dates back to nearly 100,000,000 years.

Danny “Butch” Smith II of Oswego, Kansas, who landed the fish, a 4-foot, 6-inch alligator gar, weighing 39.5 pounds, knew he had caught something unusual. Smith stated that his fishing buddy had identified the fish, and stated that “they ain’t supposed to (in Kansas)”.

Officials from the Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks confirmed that the fish was identified and they are now investigating how it got in the Neosho River, southeast Kansas, east of Parsons.

They have snouts that resemble American alligators, razor-sharp teeth and can grow beyond 10 feet long and weigh up to 350 pounds, according to NationalGeographic.com. While in prehistoric times, the fish’s predecessors may have lived in Iowa or Kansas, modern alligator gars are found in the lower Mississippi River Valley, from Arkansas and Oklahoma to Florida, Texas and parts of Mexico, the site says. The alligator gars do not pose a danger to human health.

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Smith knew he had hooked something big when he was fishing last month. USA TODAY spoke with Smith that he believed he had caught a flathead of decent size.  “But it fought and fought, pretty soon it come plum out of the water. I was shocked by the shape of its head.

Soon the fish doubled back and came to the edge of Smith’s boat and he pulled it in. Once the large fish had entered the boat, “he tore it up.” Smith stated that he was stunned by the incident.

The fish flopped and turned and destroyed my one oar. There was one little flathead about 10 or 15 pounds in the boat and it was wanting out of the boat just as bad as I was because (the bigger fish) was tearing up things bad,” he said. “(It) has got sharp teeth and double rows of teeth in his mouth.”

This is the first ever alligator Gar being caught in Kansas. Officials believe it was released from an aquarium. Doug Nygren from the Department of Fisheries stated that the fish had been a pet, or was purchased at a pet shop. The fish was then released in the river when it grew to large.

It is against the law to transport fish from one state to another and release them in public waterways.

Smith stated that the state wildlife officers will be visiting the fish on Thursday for an experiment. He kept the head and gave the body of the fish to them, to establish its age or whereabouts.

The fish story does not end here. Smith said, “Not yet. It’s still going on,” Smith said. It’s just an accident of nature. If you spend enough time in the water, anything is possible.

Follow Mike Snider via Twitter @mikesnider



Source: USAToday.com

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