Kirk Kirkland is the foremost expert and most acclaimed professional alligator gar angler in the world. He’s a proud member of the Railblaza prostaff, and we had the privilege of sitting down with him recently.
Railblaza: Where are you located, and where do you primarily fish?
Kirk: I’m based out of Trinity, Texas, which is about 70 miles north of Houston, Texas. For the last two or three years, I’ve primarily fished Lake Livingston and the Trinity River. I’ve fished all over the United States, really where these things roam.
Railblaza: Throughout the year, when do you fish for Alligator Gar?
Kirk: My fishing season runs from about mid-March to October, and then I’ll start hunting deer in November.
Railblaza: For those that might not be familiar with Alligator Gar, can you tell us a bit about them?
Kirk: Many of the Alligator Gar I catch can weigh anywhere from 45 to 200 pounds and range from four to eight feet long. We know they’ll live to be anywhere from 50 to 70 years old.
Railblaza: That’s amazing! With fish that big, is there a potential for a world record?
Kirk: Yes, I’ve got over 150 IGFA World Records. The biggest fish I’ve caught was 365 pounds in 1991. That fish was 9 feet 6 inches long with a 54-inch girth. It would have been an IGFA All-Tackle World Record, but at the time, I was not yet interested in IGFA World Records and more focused on learning how to catch them.
Railblaza: You’ve done a lot of work for Alligator Gar conservation in the state of Texas. Can you tell us more about that?
Kirk: I’ve tagged over 3,500 fish for the state of Texas and helped get regulation passed that limits anglers to keep one fish per day. They’ve gone on to limit keepers to under 48 inches. The regulations have helped our base of big fish, and we hope to see an IGFA All-Tackle World Record in Texas in the near future.
Railblaza: This year, Railblaza wrapped your boat and truck; what kind of boats do you use?
Kirk: I have two different boats, one is a 1660 Weldbilt with a 640 Tohatsu jet, and the other is an 1870 Weldbilt with a 250 Tohatsu jet.
Railblaza: What Railblaza products do you use on your boats?
Kirk: Gosh, they’ve got everything! If you can think of it, Railblaza has got something that will hold it. The best accessories for gar fishing are cut boards, cupholders, GoPro mounts, but the product I use the most is their rod holders.
Railblaza: What do you like best about the Railblaza products?
Kirk: The best thing for me is the ability to click and move the Railblaza products easily. Alligator Gar tend to break things, so it’s great to be able to remove the rod holders quickly, toss them in the console, so I have the side of the boat clear when I land big fish.
Railblaza: It’s been great learning about you and the fascinating fish you catch. Where can folks follow you?
Kirk: You can find me on Facebook, Instagram @CaptKirkKirkland, and my website AlligatorGarFishing.com.