The spring of 2019 was a busy time for the Department of Game and Inland Fiasheries (DGIF) State Record Committee. The committee reviewed and certified new state records for brook trout caught by hook-and-line and gar captured with archery gear including a Nathalie resident that landed a longnose gar with archery gear.
On April 26, Blake Deal from Nathalie arrowed a 21-pound, 13-ounce longnose gar with archery gear from Lake Gaston in Mecklenburg County. The massive gar measured 48 3⁄4 inches in length with a girth of 19 inches.
Deal captured the fish while bowfishing near the Interstate 85 overpass and had the fish officially weighed at Bobcat’s Bait and Tackle in Clarksville.
Deal’s catch was verified by a DGIF biologist, reviewed by the State Record Committee and is now recognized as the Virginia Archery Fishing State Record Gar.
Jonathan Owen and Joseph Baer were co-holders of the previous record with each angler separately capturing longnose gar weighing 19 pound, 14 ounces.
Owen’s fish was caught in 2016 from the Chickahominy River, while Baer’s fish was captured in 2018 from the Rappahannock River.
The Department of Game and Inland Fisheries publicly acknowledged and congratulated Deal on his tremendous catch.
For more information on fishing in Virginia, visit https://www.dgif.virginia.gov/fishing/.