A fish story that goes back millions of years: Kansas fisherman lands huge alligator gar

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This is the story of a real big fish: a fisherman in Kansas threw a line into the water and caught a prehistoric predatory fish that dates back to about 100 million years.

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Danny “Butch” Smith II of Oswego, Kansas, who landed the fish, a 4-foot, 6-inch alligator that weighed 39.5 pounds, knew he had caught something unusual. His fishing friend identified the fish and said, “They’re not going to be here (in Kansas),” Smith said.

Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Officials confirmed the identity and are investigating how the fish, dubbed a “living fossil,” was found in the Neosho River in southeast Kansas, east of the city of Parsons.


They have snouts that resemble those of American alligators, razor-sharp teeth and can be over 10 feet long and weigh up to 350 pounds. NationalGeographic.com. While in prehistoric times, the fish’s predecessors may have lived in Iowa or Kansas, the modern alligator gar is found in the lower Mississippi River valley, from Arkansas and Oklahoma to parts of Florida, Texas and Mexico, the site says. Not harmful to humans, alligators eat other fish, crabs, turtles, birds and small mammals.

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Smith knew he had done something big when he was fishing last month. “I thought I had a pretty cool flathead,” he told USA Today. “But it fought and fought, pretty soon it came out of the water. The shape of its head really put me off.”

Soon the fish doubled and came to the shore of Smith’s boat and pulled it. But once the big fish was in the boat, “he tore the boat. I was shocked by it,” Smith said.

“The fish was flopping and flipping and destroying one of my oars. The boat had a small shovel of about 10 or 15 pounds and it was as bad off the boat as I was because (big fish) Things are bad,” he said. “(He) has sharp teeth and double rows of teeth in his mouth.”

State officials said this is the first time an alligator gar has been caught in Kansas and possibly released from an aquarium. Doug Nygren, director of the department’s Department of Fisheries, said in a news release, “It is unlikely that this fish was ever a pet or was purchased from a pet store, and was released into the river when it grew too large.” Given.”

Taking fish across state lines and releasing them or other species into public waters is illegal in the state.

Smith said state wildlife officials are coming Thursday to conduct an experiment on the head of the fish, which they kept (they gave the body of the fish to officials), to determine its age and perhaps where it came from.

So this fish story is not over yet. “Not yet. It’s still going on,” Smith said. “It’s just a freak of nature. You spend enough time on the water, anything can happen,

Follow Mike Snyder on Twitter: @mikesnider.

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