Alligator Gar (Pla Jarrake - ปลา จระเข้)
Identification: The Alligator Gar has a distinctive appearance, to say the least, with its massively elongated snout stuffed full of sharp pointy teeth – somewhat like the alligator from which it gets its name. Apart from the head and snout it looks much like the pike with which many of us are familiar. It has similar darker green on top with a lighter underbody, and in many cases a lightly mottled appearance too.
Additional information: The Alligator Gar comes from North America, where it can be found in in fresh, brackish and even saltwater, being more adaptable to the latter than other gars. It is a true predator, preying on other fish, small mammals, and even water birds.
The Alligator Gar is unusual in that it can survive for some time out of water using its swim bladder which acts as a primitive lung. this is an adaptation that allows it to swallow air from the surface when water oxygen levels are low. It seems to thrive in the still lakes of Thailand where it is stocked, although there is as yet no record of them having bred in Thailand – hence all fish caught have been imported and stocked.
A mature Alligator Gar can weigh in at well over 100Kgs, but the biggest available to catch in the Chiang Mai area comes in at closer to 30Kg. That’s still a great fish, and great sport too, although surprisingly they don’t put up a particularly hard fight.
Fishing for these predators will normally mean fishing with a fish live/dead bait along with a strong wire trace – anything less will surely be bitten through.
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