West Virginia angler catches state record longnose gar

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West Virginia angler catches state record longnose gar
The record-breaking fish measured 53.62 inches and was caught by Rich Chapman of Ashton, West Virginia, on July 3.

CHARLESTON, W.Va. — According to state officials, an 11-year record for the longest longnose gar caught in West Virginia has been broken.

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The record-breaking fish, which measured 53.62 inches, was caught by Rich Chapman of Ashton, West Virginia, on July 3, 2023, in the Ohio River in Mason County.

Chapman caught the gar on July 3 in the Ohio River in Mason County.

The fish exceeded the previous longnose gar length record of 52.25 inches, set by Mark Foster in 2012 on the Ohio River. However, it did not break the longstanding weight record of 19.08 pounds set by Michael Casey 30 years ago on the Kanawha River.

Biologist Jeff Hansbarger of the W.Va. Division of Natural Resources verified the record catch. Chapman used live bluegill for bait.

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Gars are among the only surviving members of an ancient group of ray-finned fish, which first appeared during the Triassic more than 240 million years ago.

They have elongated bodies that are heavily armored and are fronted by elongated jaws filled with long, sharp teeth. Their swim bladders can function as lungs, and most gars surface periodically to gulp air.

Anglers who believe they have caught a potential record-breaking fish should report his or her catch to the WVDNR for verification. Fish not qualifying as a state record may still be eligible for a trophy citation. For more information, visit .

To purchase a West Virginia fishing license, visit .

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