18-year-old Charlie Oliver and his friend Evan Adams were fishing at Houston’s Buffalo Bayou on Sunday when a massive seven-foot river monster bit down on his line.
Oliver had the pole in his hands and sensed that whatever it was on the other side of his line was very large and he figured it might have been a giant snapping turtle.
Alligator snapping turtles are the largest species of freshwater turtles and the males usually weigh between 155 and 175 pounds.
“We catch really big alligator snapping turtles on accident all the time, so I thought that’s what it was,” Charlie told CHRON. “The turtles kind of stick to the bottom and just feel really heavy on the line, but a little bit into the fight, we realized it was a monster fish.”
The teens were using pieces of carp that they caught earlier as bait and it took them about 15 minutes to reel in their catch. When they first laid eyes on it, they were shocked to see that it was an alligator gar.
The alligator gar was a gigantic six-foot, 10-inches.
“You just have to let it take the bait, but then it’s kind of got the same fight as any other fish, except obviously it’s just so much bigger than anything else you’re used to catching,” Evan explained.
After they measured the animal and took a few pictures with it, Charlie and Evan released the alligator gar back into the water so it could live to see another day.
They believe the fish weighed about 140 pounds, which doesn’t break a world record but it is surely very big for the area.
Wildlife experts say that it if would have been officially weighed, it would have been officially the largest alligator gar caught from the Houston bayou in the last ten years.
“People were really freaked out about it, they thought something that big couldn’t be swimming in their backyards,” Charlie said.
The largest alligator gar ever caught on record was caught by accident in 2011 by a commercial fisherman. It was caught in Mississippi’s Lake Chotard and measured 8.5 feet in length, weighed 327 pounds, and was believed to be 94 years old.