Taylor Foral is quite a jokester, so when he and buddy Clinton Webb started jumping around, hugging and high-fiving last Saturday night, it drew a few glances, and then everyone went back to their Mother’s Day celebration.
Then Foral, a 27-year-old Omahan, held up a longnose gar weighing 23 pounds, 11 ounces — a state record.
That got some attention.
“I’ve dreamt about getting a state record all my life,” Foral said. “I can tell you most of the state records. That’s the first thing that came out of my mouth.”
Foral was fishing for catfish at his parents’ place on the Platte River south of Springfield, Neb. He put his line in the water and went in to eat dinner.
When he came back an hour later, he wasn’t expecting much. They’d caught only three fish all day.
“(Gar) are notorious for being bait thieves, and that’s what he was trying to do to me,” Foral said. “But I got him.”
Foral said it took about five minutes to land the gar, which had worn itself out while he was inside. Webb was his netman, and Foral said he couldn’t have brought in the fish without him.
It also took some heavy tackle.
Foral caught the gar with a 7˝-foot rod with 65-pound braided sussex line. He wouldn’t say what kind of bait he used.
“I guarantee you, if it wasn’t for that line, I wouldn’t have got him in,” Foral said. “If it had been monofilament line, with the amount of time he was on there, I never would have got him in. Guaranteed.”
They put the gar in a fish tank and then took it to the Ak-Sar-Ben Aquarium on Sunday morning to be weighed. The 55˝-inch fish beat the previous record of 20 pounds, 7 ounces held by John Ernst since 1991. Ernst caught that gar in Wagners Lake near Columbus.
Foral said he wanted to take the fish to Cabela’s to be admired, but it died. It will cost around $1,300 to $1,600 to get a replica mount, so Foral said he’ll probably end up eating it.
Although Foral’s disappointed he likely won’t be able to have the fish on his wall, he said the experience was still exciting.
“I would rather catch one huge fish a day than 10 smaller fish a day,” he said. “I fish big. Big bait, big fish.”
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