Wednesday, May 06, 2015


A gar is a fish common to Louisiana waters.  It's a predator with a toothy mouth and a slender body.  Here in Louisiana we call them Alligator Gar because they have a snout like our alligators.  The fossil record goes back to the early Cretaceous period.  They're living fossils and have been living in our waters for lots of years.

When we catch an alligator gar, we do one of two things with it.  1) cut its head off and throw it back to feed the smaller fishes that it has been feeding on, or 2) make gar balls out of it.  Back when I lived on Bayou Derbonne, there was a cook down the road, Ginger, who made gar balls once or twice a year.  She'd call us and tell us to come down to the house.  We'd bring something to add to the feast, load the ice chest with beer and soft drinks (for the kids), and head toward Ginger's house, where we'd eat gar balls, tell lies, and hang out under the pecan trees.

I tell you all this, because while we were in Missouri and stopped by Bass Pro Shops, we saw an aquarium with an alligator gar in it.  Milady asked me to snap a picture, so I did.

That's a pretty good fish, but it wouldn't come out from behind that post.  I reckon it was about six feet long, not the longest I've seen, but a fair example of the species.  That gar will probably live to a ripe old age, being fed twice a day.  The biggest one I've ever seen was over 12 feet long, from the tip of his snout to the end of his tail.  That was a big scary fish, caught out of the Red River near Cloutierville, LA.

Ginger cooked him into gar balls, ad he fed about thirty people, with all the fixings (taters, hush puppies and salad.)  I don't care if I never catch another gar.


El Capitan said...

A buddy of mine in high school had his leg broke by one of those monsters. Well, truth be told, poor planning and inexperience got his leg broken...

He was out in the back end of nowhere bowfishing, and clambered up on a rocky bank overlooking a deep pool on the river. He spotted an alligator gar, and stuck an arrow about halfway up the body.

Problem was, the line attached to the arrow was attached to the bow, which was strapped to his wrist. Those big tails have some torque, and when that gar hit the gas, my buddy Nick got yanked off the rocks, down onto more rocks. Snapped a femur right in half.

Lesson #1 - Take your line OFF the reel, and tie it to a float jug!

Old NFO said...

Gar balls are great hot out of the grease, cold not so much... We just threw them back, as there were always plenty of catfish! :-)

Weetabix said...

Was that the BassPro in Springfield? I live about three miles from there. Email me next time so we can visit.