Judy and the Alligator Gar
and I headed out to the stand of cypress trees to have
lunch. The river has been badly grassed up lately,
and a layer of water lettuce covered the surface of the
water under the trees.
the cypress trees is a shady spot to sit.
water under the cypress trees isn't very deep, and we
came in fast so we could get all the way up under the
trees. Now, just a couple of weeks ago we had called "snake
check" as we came under some trees and had actually
spotted a snake in the branches overhead. Luckily we
saw him before he had a chance to fall out of the tree
onto our heads and freak us out.
were being very alert for any snakes that might intend
to drop on us, and so were caught completely by surprise
when the attack came from below rather than above.
As I was looking
up, there was a sudden splash and bump and Judy screamed. She
scrambled backward into my section of the boat, still
screaming, and I added a chorus of "What is it?
What is it?"
I didn't know if
it was a snake or a spider or if it had bit her or not,
or if it was going to be after me next! Finally Judy calmed
down enough to let me see what it was, and it turned out
to be a little itty bitty Alligator Garfish that
had jumped into her lap!
Garfish have long pointy ugly snouts filled with razor-sharp
teeth - which is how they got their name. They survive
the worst conditions the marsh has to offer with no noticible
They are generally
considered trash fish that aren't fit to eat, but people
who think otherwise are welcome to try these recipes.
Garfish eat a lot of good game fish so they aren't very
popular. Some people will kill any they catch before throwing
them back into the river. This is a very small fish - I've
seen Garfish that were 20lbs or more.
Judy freaks out so
easily lately, but she did do a fine job of flipping the
Gar out of the boat with a paddle, and we suffered little
damage other than to our nerves.
Since my camera was
around my neck rather than on the seat behind her it didn't
get sat on...lunch was a little flattened, but edible.