Ask For Donnie Hinkle "West Point Lake Gar Grabber"
The year 2007 proved to truly be a banner year in my Longnose Gar fishing career. There were a lot of first time events and the surprise’s just kept coming all year long.
It all started on May 24th when I caught my first ever Black Gar. It looked like someone painted it with liquid shoe dye and it was still wet. In four years of Longnose Gar Fishing I've only seen one melanistic Gar for certain and thought I saw one twice but the sightings were so quick I couldn't be for sure. I immediately began studying for the reason that a Longnose gar could become solid black. My studies concluded that it's a condition called Melanism. Melanism is an increased amount of black or nearly black pigmentation (as of skin, feathers, or hair), in this case the Gars scales, resulting from the presence of melanin. It is the opposite of albinism, which occurs due to lack of melanin.
I emailed the pictures of my catch around to several publications and then Columbus Enquirer news paper out of Columbus Georgia called me wanting to do a sports section article on the catch which began the increased interest in my Longnose Gar fishing on West Point Lake. A few days later Brad Gill of Georgia Outdoor News called my cell phone while I was at work. When I answered the phone he says "Longnose Gar Fishing huh. Tell me about the black Gar you caught". Then he gave my number to an intern writer named Drew Hall who called to set a date to fish with me to do a July 2007 article. So Timmy and I set out to try to inspire Drew in writing an article that would give Longnose Gar some credibility as a quality game fish and not "Trash Fish" as many fishermen still label them as.
With all the new publicity and new interest in Longnose Gar Fishing at an all time high I opened a guide service this year. Yes, Longnose Gar Fishing on West Point Lake was wide open with clients and inquiries about anything and everything I do concerning catching Gar on the Point. I couldn't be happier with my success as well as the encouragement I was getting from my Gar Fishing peers from Gar Anglers' Sporting Society and all around the country, even in Canada, my new friend Pierre Fortier who swaps emails with me often.
Then suddenly one day to my surprise when I took my daughter Shelley and her fellow Jason Gar Fishing, Shelley boated the second Melanistic Gar of the season. Wow!!! I was completely in awe that a rare fish like that could enter my boat twice in one season. I told Shelley that I though I was something special and the you came along, only the second time you've ever wet a rope and what do you do? Catch a Gar I've been putting countless hours into trying to catch for the last four years! Thanks a lot Shelley!
At the beginning of the 2007 Gar season Bob Frick, Coosa River Longnose Gar guide and fellow GASS member began a Gar Fishing competition on Gar Anglers' Sporting Society and to top off an awesome 2007 Longnose Gar season I was awarded Angler Of The Year by Bob in behalf of GASS. I'm not sure I really deserved it because the recipient got clobbered by the presenter of the award with one awesome catch for 2007 that weighed 23 lbs and 5 ounces and measured 61 inched long!!! That pretty well snuffed my biggest of 2007, so thank you Bob for the award but you deserve much more recognition and respect for that beautiful catch.
Below I've added a slide show of the Georgia Outdoor News trip that Drew Hall sent me months ago. I promised I would put them on my website until after the July issue was released so I've held on to my promise Drew. Also a few pictures of 2007's Gar Season.
Until next year, I hope everyone has a save holiday season and thanks again to all of my friends for the encouragement.