WFN's Top Catches - A Foolish Gar, Aggressive Smallmouths, Fishing From a Zeppelin

As summer turns into fall and the temperatures begin to drop, you might shed a few tears. But not to worry: you’ll forget all about weeping after you read this latest installment of WFN’s Top Catches!

An Ill-fated Leap

The alligator is one of the most feared predators in the animal kingdom, but in this story, it comes off as more crafty and cocky than anything else. Alligators will feed on any species of fish that they can, and an unlucky gar recently learned the hard way that, even when leaping out of the water, it can quickly become a meal. A wildlife photographer captured the series of astonishing images that show the gar in mid-jump, landing into the jaws of a waiting gator. After quickly flipping the gar over in its mouth, the gator clamped its jaws shut and enjoyed its meal. Unlucky for the gar, but very, very lucky (and perhaps a bit skilful) for the gator.

Bitten by Bedding Bass

You might not know this, but smallmouth bass are fiercely protective of their young, even before they hatch. After the female lays her eggs, she retreats to deeper water, while the male hangs back and protects the eggs. The above video is proof of all of this – it shows a diver in Lake Erie approaching the spawning beds, and being ‘attacked’ by the bass as he gets closer. Obviously, the fish don’t pose any real threat to the diver, but it’s still very interesting to see the parental instincts kick in and the complete lack of fear shown.

Message in a Bottle

The concept of writing a message, placing it into a bottle, and hurling it into the sea has always had a certain mystique to it. By doing this, you hope that someone in another country or continent will someday find your message when it inevitably washes up on shore. And, believe it or not, there is now a new world record for the oldest message every found in a bottle. A Scottish fisherman working on a commercial fishing boat recently found a bottle tangled up in one of the fishing nets. He retrieved it, and upon uncorking it, discovered a message inside confirming that the bottle had spent 97 years and 309 days at sea. Even more interesting is that it was released as part of an experiment carried out by the Fishery Board of Scotland. In total, 1,890 bottles were released, in an attempt to chart the currents in the waters around Scotland. To date, only 315 have been found, which means that this record is sure to be broken.

A New (Old) Way to “Fly” Fish

When you think of fishing as it is now, and how it was back in the 1930s, it’s fairly obvious that the sport has undergone considerable changes. However, after watching the above video, it’s clear that even back then, anglers were coming up with new and interesting ways to land the big one. The footage was filmed in 1934, and it shows an angler fishing from the cabin of a blimp. As you’ll see, he hooks a small shark, and with the help of a winch, lifts the shark out of the water. It really is a sight to behold.

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