June 28, 2011
How do you know something is big? When it takes two arrows to get a job done that normally only takes one.
In true river monster fashion, two Vicksburg, Mississippi firefighters -- Robert Belk and Randy Rippy -- arrowed an alligator gar that weighed 243-pounds and measured 7 feet, 2 inches.
The pair can thank Belk's young son Talor, age 10, for putting the duo on a monster fish.
According to the Clarion Ledger, While bowfishing in a runout on the Yazoo river for the long-nosed fish, the older Belk and and Rippy were in a 16-foot boat set-up for bowfishing while Talor was bowfishing from the shoreline.
Talor spotted the gigantic fish and took a shot that didn't connect. After shouting to his dad about a "fish as big as the boat", the pair spotted the gar, who had tipped its head above the surface, and simultaneously let loose two arrows that hit exactly four inches apart from each other.
With the fish arrowed, the fight was on. Over the next 30 minutes the pair worked on reeling in the beast. Once they got him boatside, they created a make-shift noose from a piece of boat rope, lassoed the gar, and eventually drug the mammoth fish out of the water.
The alligator gar should easily break the all-tackle state record, which is 175 pounds in addition to the rod and reel record, which is 215 pounds.
The all-tackle world record for the species was set way back in 1951, when Bill Valverde caught a fish that weighed 279 pounds on the Rio Grande in Texas.
They do get bigger than that though. On Valentines Day this past February, commercial fisherman Kenny Williams, also of Vicksburg, netted a alligator gar that tipped the scales at 327-pounds and was 8 feet 5 1/4 inches long.
Now that's a fish!
For a closer look at the big fish Belk and Rippy caught, please visit the Clarion Ledger website.