Picture this: You are wading, or perhaps tubing with toes wiggling in the water below — chatting with friends and enjoying a carefree spring evening and looking forward to the even warmer summer weather while nearby a monster-like fish lurks in the shallows, a scary-looking creature that lives a secret life in its watery home in the shadows of Akron’s downtown.
The fish looks like a well-fed muskie with one exception, the chain saw that protrudes from its front jaw, a wicked-looking appendage unique to gars that hasn’t changed in appearance for eons.
No, it’s not the makings of a low budget movie, it is a believable story, especially when you see the new Ohio state record longnose gar recently bagged by bow fisherman Zachary Jared, a worthy record certified and recorded by the Outdoor Writers of Ohio’s Record Fish Committee headed by Fremont, Ohio, outdoor writer Fred Snyder.
Jared arrowed the big gar while bowfishing at night on Turkeyfoot Lake, part of the Portage Lakes chain of waterways and lakes in Summit County May 12. His new record gar measures 53.1 inches long with a 20.47 inch girth and at 19.21 pounds the fish far exceeds the previous record gar, a 14.72 pound fish taken in 2008 from the Little Miami River.
The new record gar was officially identified as a longnose gar by state fisheries biologists Phil Hillman and Curt Wagner, a requirement to be entered a state record.
Bowfishing is a popular fishing sport in Ohio and other parts of the country. Most bowfishing is done a night when targeted fish such as gar and carp can be spotted in very shallow water. Bowfishermen often outfit their boats with powerful floodlights.
Avid bowfishing addicts often journey to warmer climates such as Texas where other gar species grow to exceed 200 pounds, freshwater trophies of monster proportions.
Jared’s record is for a bowfishing, a separate division for Ohio’s record fish. The entire list of record fish, including bowfishing records can be seen on line on the Outdoor Writers of Ohio website.