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Usually identifiable by size alone, and by the short, very wide snout. If still in doubt (and brave enough) check the teeth—the Alligator Gar has two rows on each side of the mouth, top and bottom, while other Gars have only one. Color usually is dark brown above, yellow below, with a thin strip from head to tail. Few, if any, spots on most individuals.

SIZE: Grows to 10 feet long and more than 300 pounds, but the great majority weigh less than 100 pounds. Average is probably 25-75 pounds. World record 279 pounds; Florida record 123 pounds.

FOOD VALUE: Seldom eaten. Flesh would be okay, but roe is often toxic.

GAME QUALITIES: A roughhouse battler and a chal- lenge to land because of sheer size, but not very swift.

TACKLE AND BAITS: One hits a big plug or other artificial lure now and then, but anglers who fish for Alligator Gar use very heavy spinning tackle or saltwater gear, and bait with live fish suspended near the surface with a float.

FISHING SYSTEMS: Still Fishing; Drifting.

OTHER NAMES:

Great Gar

Manjuari

RANGE: Western Panhandle, mainly the Apalachicola and Escambia Rivers, but present to some extent near the mouths of smaller rivers, such as the Ochlockonee.

HABITAT: Free-roaming, but usually seen in the middle reaches of the rivers.Also ventures into salt water and sometimes startles anglers who are drifting over shallow grass beds when it rolls near their boat.