The ‘world’s best alligator gar guide,’ Captain Kirk Kirkland out of Texas, has just caught his ‘holy grail’ fish and set a new IGFA fishing world record for alligator gar with his client, Arthur Weston.
Earlier this year, Capt. Kirk Kirkland guided a client to a 251-pound alligator gar that would have beaten the existing 60-pound line class fishing world record by 60 pounds! Kirkland has accounted for over 100 fishing world records including that one, but he has finally caught his ‘holy grail’ fish.
The 283-pound alligator gar was caught on September 2nd by his client/angler Arthur Weston and it has already been certified as the current IGFA All Tackle world record for alligator gar. The 283-pounder caught by Arthur Weston on Rayburn Lake in Lufkin, Texas seems to have been certified with record speed!
World Record 238-Pound Alligator Gar Caught In Texas
Instead of opting to kill the fish like bow fishermen, Captain Kirk Kirkland and Arthur Weston released their fish back into the water to get even bigger:
A BEAST is caught & released!
Check out this pending IGFA all-tackle WORLD RECORD Alligator Gar from Art Weston & Kirk Kirkland in Texas!!! https://t.co/1r0W1Xz8nS
At 100 inches (254 cm) long and 283 pounds (128 kg), the GARgantuan fish beats a 72 year record!
📷Kirk Kirkland pic.twitter.com/OuwK21Etkd
— Dr. Solomon David (@SolomonRDavid) September 7, 2023
What is wildest about the 283-pounder caught by Weston and Kirkland was landed on 6-pound test. The ‘test’ of a fishing line refers to the amount of pressure that can be applied to the line, it is a measure of tensile strength. To catch a fish this big on light tackle like that is unheard of.
Getting This World Record Fish To The Boat
According to Kirkland’s post on Facebook, this pending world record was the ‘culmination of (his) guiding career.’ Using ‘just the right amount of drag’ it took angler Art Weston 2 hours and 45 minutes of fighting the world record alligator gar to get it to the boat.
One crucial element to the battle was ensuring the fishing line, only 6-pound test, never touched the boat or rubbed against structures in the water. Adjusting the drag on the reel would put pressure on the fish as it pulled, but any abrasion caused from the fishing line rubbing on the boat or sticks would’ve easily caused it to snap.
The previous IGFA Fishing World Record for alligator gar had stood since 1951! That makes it one of the oldest fishing records in America. That fish measured 93″ long while Kirkland and Weston’s fish measured a whopping 100 inches long and had a 48″ girth.
Back in July, an 8-foot alligator gar was caught by Houston-based angler Paul Myers. After that catch went viral there was a productive discussion about protecting the fish and fisheries.
Catch and Release!
Sadly, alligator gar is a species that tends to be ignored when it comes to catch-and-release practices. They are commonly targeted by bow fisherman. And sadly, the fish are rarely harvested to eat after they’ve been shot with an arrow, but are instead held pup for photographs.
Case in point, New Orleans Saints quarterback Derek Carr went on a team bonding fishing excursion where they went bowfishing for alligator gar. Pictures were taken, and as far as we know, no gar were eaten.
Just down the I-10 highway, an angler in Louisiana juts caught a state record spotted gar. That fish wasn’t released as it needed to be measured on a certified scale. But it is a fish that’s definitely worth seeing if you’re interested in gar!