Pursuing the Prehistoric E-mail
Written by Josh Dolin   
Sunday, 28 December 2014 14:13

1Jumping Gar In August of 2014 I embarked on the greatest journey of my fishing career to date; A week long solo expedition chasing one of North America’s largest freshwater predators, the Alligator Gar. I began dreaming up this trip as soon as I got into the sport of kayak fishing. It took a total of four years of continuous planning and research to make such a trip possible. I consider myself a relatively experienced multi-species trophy hunter in my home waters of Virginia. However, attempting to land a trophy class fish in a region I had never visited, let alone fished is a tall task for anyone. Especially when trying to do it from a kayak. Only recently did the trip materialize and go from a far-fetched dream to a reality. Naturally the anticipation was high.

The trip itself was a struggle as soon as I put my feet on Texas soil. Extreme heat and humidity, an intense lightning barrage, lack of bait and major camera and gear malfunctions were just a few of the problems that plagued me on my 47-mile float down the Trinity River. I had no choice but to adapt and overcome. After three days on the water and with a little aid from a friend of a friend, I managed to find the fish I had traveled 1300 miles to catch.

2Fullscreen capture 8232014 50722 AM 3Fullscreen capture 8232014 50808 AM 4-3  Foot Gar

The next to last day I landed my first Gator Gar. A decent fish, at 4-½ feet it was the longest fish of my career yet still a baby in Alligator Gar terms. I quickly followed that fish up with another wimpy fish at 3-½ feet. As the sun went down I had a new-found confidence in my quest though with one day left on the water I would have to pull all the pieces together if I wanted to make the long trip back home with my head held high.

The final day of my weeklong expedition did not disappoint. Loaded down with a cooler full of cut Buffalo (a cousin of the Common Carp) I started chucking baits. It wasn’t long before I buried the hook into a fiery Gator Gar that proceeded to take me to the woodshed. After hard fought battle with plenty of aerial displays I managed to subdue an absolutely beautiful 5-½-foot Alligator Gar out of the chocolate colored water.

After releasing the hefty 5-footer I commenced to soak baits in the exact same stretch of river. I noticed a lot of big fish activity in this particular stretch, and after 45 minutes of baking in the heat I had my final run of the trip. This run would result in the longest, most brutal test of attrition that any fish has ever dealt me.

5-5 Foot Gar 6-6 Foot Gar

I knew I had stuck a beast upon hook set with the immediate rebuttal on the other end of the line. But I had no clue what I had on until she surfaced yak-side. A snarling 6 foot, 100-pound beast that fought me for over an hour and on one occasion managed to get me on the brink of flipping in the murky water with one grand swipe of her massive tail. She dealt my drag a great deal of back talk but upon sunset of the final day, I had landed my White Whale.

It was a journey that forever changed me as an angler and an adventure that has left me hungry for more. Once you come face to face with prehistoric giant of that nature it’s hard to return back to home waters and be content with simply chasing a Largemouth Bass or Blue Catfish. This trip has kick started my love affair with big game freshwater kayak fishing and I have already begun to make plans for a trip back to Texas along with other potential opportunities to chase the largest freshwater fish the world has to offer, both in the U.S. and abroad.

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Feel free to “like” my page on Facebook www.facebook.com/peelindragextremefishing. Also, my website www.fishhardorstayhome.com has additional entertaining and educational articles on my multispecies trophy fish quests. Thanks!

Fish Hard or Stay Home!

Josh Dolin “The Wolfman” Richmond, Virginia

 

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