Species: Atractosteus spatula
Thai Name: Pla jolakay
Grows to weight/length: 2m+/100kg+
Stocked at Hookers: to 1.6m/35kg, caught at 1.8m/45kg (est)
The Alligator gar is perhaps the fish most dreaded and feared by customers (and our guides!). Its fossils have been traced back over a hundred million years and its armour plated like scales and fearsome dentistry that includes a double set of needle sharp teeth on the upper jaw make it a formidable freshwater adversary. The Alligator gar’s swim bladder allows it to breathe air and consequently survive in low oxygen environments – but can also be its downfall as they will often be spotted breaking the lake surface for a gulp of air.
Our Alligator gar can be caught anywhere on the fishing lake, but to give yourself an advantage you need to follow the baitfish – and you will always see one of the gar topping or rolling nearby looking for an easy meal. Of all our fish they are the hardest to hook and the cause of the most frustration for customers. Bites are fickle, typified by short repeated beeps on the alarms which then stop, repeat again, stop for as long as 30-45 seconds before tearing off. Our guides have become expert at spotting a gar bite so take their advice on when to strike. The temptation is to hit on the very first beep – we suggest approaching your rod and keep watching and feeling the line rather than listening for the alarm. The gar will snag its prey and dart off quickly, then stop while it attempts to turn and swallow: hitting at exactly the right time is key, too early and the bait will just be pulled from the gar’s teeth, leaving it too long can be dangerous for the fish if it is given the opportunity to turn and completely swallow the bait.
While some fish do come out on floating live or deadbaits, there is a clear preference for bottom fished baits and if they are being fickle, sometimes cutting off the head of the bait can tempt a solid take.