This book is a given for recreational and commercial fishermen as well as anyone who loves the outdoors! Since most anglers identify their fish by reviewing illustrations rather than using scientific keys, the authors have succeeded in making fishing easier by providing superb illustrations and detailed diagnostics for fish identification. A valuable, one-stop reference tool for everyday anglers, fisheries experts, biologists, and outdoors writers, this guide includes intensively researched information on 207 species of saltwater fish, essential data on each speciesí habitat, identification, typical size, and food value. By Jerald Horst & Mike Lane, illustrated by Duane Raver. 207 species.
Although often thought of as freshwater fish, alligator gars reach their greatest density in the brackish marshes and lakes of Louisiana. The species is found in coastal estuaries from the Florida Panhandle to northern Mexico, as well as throughout the entire Mississippi River drainage. It typically does not venture out to open sea.
Identification & Biology :
This fish can be identified by its dense armor of overlapping diamond-shaped placoid scales and its alligator-like snout studded with teeth. It is the only species of gar with a double row of teeth. It is typically silver or silvery-green with a spotted tail. Alligator gars are fish predators, although they usually prey on species of little interest to fishermen. They will also scavenge dead fish and have been known to eat the carcasses of fish discarded by fishermen after filleting. Alligator gar will frequently roll at the surface of the water, with their spotted tail being especially noticeable when they do so. During the summer, they will gulp air to augment their oxygen supply. Alligator gar feed very little in winter months and can be difficult to catch then.
Up to10 feet long and 300 pounds, although a 100-pound fish is considered large.
Food Value :
Fair; the segments of flesh are separated by tough connective tissue. On large fish this can be objectionable. In south Louisiana, alligator gar are cleaned, chunked and boiled until the meat can be flaked from the connective tissue and bone. The flesh is mixed with potatoes, seasonings, and herbs, and then formed into balls or patties, which are fried. In north Louisiana, smoked alligator gar is considered a delicacy. Numerous sources state that their roe is poisonous and should not be eaten.
Description by: Jerald Horst, Associate Professor, Fisheries - LSU AgCenter