Wayne County angler catches world record-sized noticed gar

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JEFFERSON CITY, MO. – The Missouri Department of Conservation (MDC) congratulates Devlin Rich of Williamsville on catching a new state record. Rich was fishing with a line of fishing on Lake Wappapello on February 25 when he was wrapping the 10-pound-9-ounce fish. In addition to being the youngest state record in Missouri, its catch beats the current world record of 9 pounds, 12 ounces, which was reset in 1994.

Spotted gar is common in the Bootheel Lowlands in southeast Missouri.

“Because of the tough, bony jaws, gars are rarely hooked and leashed and rarely used in food,” said Andrew Branson, MDC fisheries programs specialist. “Special techniques are required to consistently target them with the rod and reel, but they provide the bowhunter with a ready target as they often bask near the surface of the water.”

Gars are generally associated with warm, sluggish backwaters. They often rise to the surface, open and close their jaws with a loud crack, and then sink below. This behavior allows them to swallow air into their swim bladder, making it function much like a lung. This adaptation helps them survive in still or slow waters with relatively low oxygen levels.

MDC staff verified Rich’s record catch on a certified scale in Williamsville. This is the second state record set in 2021.

Missouri State Record fish are recognized in two categories: pole-and-line and alternate methods. Alternative methods include: throw lines, limb lines, bench lines, pitcher lines, spearfishing, snagging, catching, giggling, grasping, archery, and atlatl.

For more information on state record fish, please visit http://bit.ly/2efq1vl.

Download the Mo Fishing app from MDC, available on the App Store for Apple devices or Google Play for Android devices, to find a fishing spot near you or to purchase fishing licenses.