This is a really big fish story: A fisherman in Kansas threw a line into the water and caught a prehistoric predator fish that started nearly 100 million years ago.
Danny “Butch” Smith II of Oswego, Kansas, who landed the fish, a 4-foot, 6-inch alligator gar, weighing 39.5 pounds, knew he had caught something unusual. His fishing partner recognized the fish and said, “They shouldn’t be here (in Kansas),” Smith said.
Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks Officials have confirmed the identity and are investigating how the fish, called a “living fossil,” entered the Neosho River southeast of Kansas, east of the city of Parsons.
They have snouts resembling American alligators, sharp teeth and can grow over 10 feet in length and weigh up to 350 pounds, according to NationalGeographic.com. While in ancient times, fish predecessors may have settled in Iowa or Kansas, modern crocodile gars are found in the lower Mississippi River Valley, from Arkansas and Oklahoma to Florida, Texas and parts of Mexico, the site said. . Harmless to humans, alligator gars eat other fish, crabs, turtles, birds and small mammals.
Smith knew he was hanging something big on his fishing last month. “I thought I had a pretty decent flathead,” he told USA NOW. “But it fought and fought, it was about to come out of the water. The shape of its head really threw me off.”
Soon the fish doubled and went back to the side of Smith’s boat and he pulled it up. But once the big fish was in the boat, “he tore the boat apart. I was shocked by it,” Smith said.
“The fish was flopping and flipping and destroyed one of my nets. There was a little flathead that was about 10 or 15 pounds in the boat and it was missing the boat as bad as I was because (the bigger fish) was torn. bad things, “he said. “(It) has sharp teeth and double set of teeth in its mouth.”
This is the first time a Gar crocodile has been caught in Kansas and likely released from an aquarium, state officials said. “It’s unlikely this fish was once taken care of by someone or purchased from a pet store, and was only released into the river once it became overwhelming,” department’s fisheries director Doug Nygren told a news release.
Bringing fish on state lines and releasing them or other species into public waters is against state law.
Smith said state wildlife officials will come Thursday to do an experiment on the fish’s head, which he hid (he gave the fish’s carcass to officials), to determine its age and possibly where it was. originated.
So this fish story is not over yet. “Not yet. It’s still going on,” Smith said. “It’s just a rarity of nature. You spend enough time in the water whatever happens,
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.
This article originally appeared in USA NOW: Historical fish story: The 4-foot alligator gar went to Kansas angler