Angler Art West­on joined expert guide Cap­tain Kirk Kirk­land on a quest to catch a mas­sive alli­ga­tor gar in East Texas. Kirk­land, an alli­ga­tor gar spe­cial­ist with 250 days fish­ing expe­ri­ence year­ly, hoped to catch a 130-pound spec­i­men at Lake Sam Ray­burn. Lit­tle did they expect the beast they’d reel in, bat­tling for near­ly three hours against the strongest fish of their careers.

Set­ting bait and wait­ing patient­ly, West­on and Kirk­land’s patience paid off with a mon­ster strike. “The reel start­ed scream­ing as the fish grabbed and took off,” recalled West­on. They fought tire­less­ly to sub­due the pow­er­ful alli­ga­tor gar. At over two hours, Kirk­land sensed they had a true leviathan, urg­ing West­on to increase efforts.

Final­ly, the mas­sive shape emerged, and West­on shout­ed in dis­be­lief at the giant before them. Once ashore, their jaws dropped at its true size — a colos­sal 283 pounds, shat­ter­ing records. As the Texas Parks and Wildlife notes, alli­ga­tor gar species date back to dinosaurs, liv­ing in rivers and reser­voirs across the state.

Pend­ing review, West­on is set to claim the Inter­na­tion­al Game Fish Asso­ci­a­tion’s pres­ti­gious all-tack­le and line-class records, exceed­ing marks over 70 years old. “One of the great­est achieve­ments of the decade,” stat­ed IGFA Pres­i­dent Jason Schratwieser. After reviv­ing the caught pre­his­toric fish, the duo released their catch, but the mem­o­ry of bat­tling the leg­endary catch will last forever.

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