Story courtesy of the Tyler Morning Telegraph
ATHENS — Joseph Williams fancies himself a catcher of monsters, and he recently landed the granddaddy gar of them all, according to a Texas Parks and Wildlife news release today.
Williams of Cleveland, Texas, fishes the Trinity River below Lake Livingston dam about 30 weekends a year, trying to catch big alligator gar and release them alive.
In April, he landed a 200-pound-plus monster that did not survive and became the rod and reel record for the Trinity, but he had bigger plans: the state catch-and-release record, which requires the fish to be photographed, measured and released alive.
On Monday, Williams succeeded, landing and releasing an 88-inch-long gar that he will submit for recognition as the new state catch-and-release record. Williams' fish topped the previous catch-and-release record of 80 inches caught by Leo Flores from Choke Canyon Reservoir in March.
Williams is passionate about conserving these trophy fish, using a circle hook or small treble hook to hook them in the mouth. He fishes from a small, 14-foot boat that lets the fish tow him around without straightening the hook.