Watch a Die-Hard Fisherman Snag a 7-Ft Texas River Monster… Then Do the Unthinkable

The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) is a ray-finned euryhaline fish related to the bowfin in the infraclass Holostei.
© TKBackyard/

Written by Sharon Parry

Updated: October 21, 2023

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The term ‘river monster’ is used a lot, but this particular creature truly lives up to the description. Not only is she huge, but she also looks like an animal from prehistoric times.

Here we join an enthusiastic fisherman and his guide, Ceelow the hooker, fishing in the Trinity River in Dallas, Texas, with a huge fish head as bait and with hooks pointing in opposite directions. They cast the bait, and it lands in the water with a resounding splash!

Their aim is to catch flathead catfish, but something much bigger makes an appearance!

Don’t Miss The Entire Video—Watch Below!

Monster in the Trinity River

An Alligator gar, Atractosteus spatula, while swimming in a huge aquarium


gar are huge freshwater carnivorous fish

©Bill Roque/

This section of the Trinity River is not easy to fish. The banks in this spot are made up of soft mud, and both fishermen are constantly slipping and sinking up to their knees. The mud sticks to everything!

At the start of the footage, two fish get caught on both lines at exactly the same time, but at this point, they do not realize what is caught on the one hook! They identify the fish as an alligator gar. She is almost too large for one man to handle, and the fisherman has to get into the water with her. He attempts to show us how magnificent she is, including a glimpse of her sharp teeth.

However, he shows her huge respect at all times and tries to minimize the distress caused to this amazing creature. After a few minutes, he releases her without harm.

How Big Are Alligator Gar?

The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) is a ray-finned euryhaline fish related to the bowfin in the infraclass Holostei.

The alligator gar (Atractosteus spatula) is a ray-finned euryhaline fish related to the bowfin in the infraclass Holostei.


The alligator gar is a truly extraordinary fish! It is found in Central and North America and lives in rivers, lakes, swamps, bayous, and estuaries. They can live for up to 50 years and reach 10 feet in length and 350 pounds in weight. This particular fish was around seven feet long and weighed around 200 pounds.

It is one of the biggest freshwater fish in the world and has sharp teeth but is not known for attacking humans. It can breathe both air and water and is carnivorous. They are opportunistic eaters who eat a wide variety of other animals. Alligator gar eat other fish (including buffalo fish and carp). They will also eat ducks, turtles, and small mammals, to name just a few!

Is It Normal For Alligator Gar to Be Really Big?

alligator gar

Alligator Gar are generally big fish and grow larger with age.

©Charlotte Bleijenberg/

The short answer here is yes. The alligator gar can get really big! They can reach up to 10 feet in length and weigh over 300 pounds. It holds the title of being the second-largest freshwater fish in North America, with only the white sturgeon surpassing it in size.

Remarkably, the Texas state record for rod and reel catch stands at 279 pounds, while the current world record is an astounding 327 pounds. The gar was estimated to be a whopping 95 years old!

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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