World record-setting spotted gar caught in Missouri reservoir, officials say

Chacour Koop
·1 min read

An angler snagged a huge spotted gar — and a world record — with a catch at a Missouri reservoir, officials say.

Williamsville fisherman Devlin Rich reeled in a 10-pound, 9-ounce spotted gar on Feb. 25, the Missouri Department of Conservation said in a news release Monday. The catch shattered the world record of 9 pounds, 12 ounces set in 1994, officials say.

Rich used a pole and line to catch the fish at Wappapello Lake, a reservoir in southeastern Missouri.

“Because of the hard, bony jaws, gars are seldom taken on hook-and-line and are rarely used for food,” Missouri Department of Conservation Fisheries Programs Specialist Andrew Branson said in a news release. “Special techniques are required to capture them consistently with rod-and-reel, but they do provide a ready target for the bow hunter because they often bask near the surface of the water.”

The state record for a spotted gar caught with a bow was a 9-pound, 15-ounce fish caught at the same reservoir in 2011.

According to state officials, spotted gar are common in the Bootheel lowlands of Missouri. The fish is known for swimming in “warm, sluggish backwaters” and rising to the surface to open and shut their jaws with a “loud snap,” officials say.

“This behavior allows them to swallow air into their swim bladder, which allows it to function much like a lung,” officials say. “This adaptation helps them survive in still or slow waters with relatively low oxygen levels.”

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