This is a really big fish story. A Kansas fisherman threw a line into the water and caught a prehistoric predatory fish that dates back nearly 100 million years.
Danny “Butch” Smith II in Oswego, Kansas, landed a 4’6 inch alligator gar weighing 39.5 pounds and knew he had caught something strange. His fishing buddies identified the fish and “they can’t be here (Kansas),” Smith said.
Kansas Wildlife Park Bureau Authorities have confirmed their identities and are investigating how a fish called “living fossil” invaded the Neoshaw River, east of Parsons, in southeastern Kansas.
They have an American alligator-like nose, sharp razor teeth, grow over 10 feet in length, and weigh up to 350 pounds. NationalGeographic.com.. In prehistoric times, fish predecessors may have lived in Iowa or Kansas, but modern alligator gar is found in the lower Mississippi River, from Arkansas and Oklahoma to parts of Florida, Texas, and Mexico. Alligator gar is harmless to humans and feeds on other fish, crabs, turtles, birds and small mammals.
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Smith knew he was hooking something big when he was fishing last month. “I thought I had a pretty decent flat head,” he told USA Today. “But it fought and fought. Soon the plums came out of the water. The shape of its head really disappointed me.”
Soon the fish doubled and came to the end of Smith’s boat and he pulled it in. But when the big fish entered the boat, “he tore the boat. I was shocked by it,” Smith said.
“The fish were fluttering and smashing one of my oars. I had one small flathead of about 10 or 15 pounds on the boat and it was torn (the big fish). I wanted to get out of the boat as well. It’s a bad thing. ” “(It) has sharp teeth and two rows of teeth in his mouth.”
State officials said it was the first time alligator gar had been captured in Kansas and released from the aquarium. “It’s unlikely that the fish was once someone’s pet, or was bought from a pet store and released into the river if it grows too large,” said Doug Naigren, director of the fisheries department at the agency, in a news release.
Transporting fish across state boundaries and releasing them or other species into public waters is illegal in the state.
According to Smith, the state’s wildlife authorities are conducting an experiment on the head of his fish on Thursday (he handed the body of the fish to the authorities) to find out his age and perhaps where he came from.
Therefore, the story of this fish is not over yet. “Not yet. It’s still going on,” Smith said. “It’s just a natural anomaly. You spend enough time on water.
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter. @mikesnider..
This article was originally published in USA TODAY: Historical Fish Story: A Kansas Angler Lands a 4-Foot Crocodile Gar