Texas

Everyone raves about Texas ad nauseam and I thought there was no way that the state could possibly live up to the hype. I was wrong.

Before heading to my fishing destination, I stopped at Whataburger, the burger pride of Texas. I then drove to Austin, which was every bit as cool as I hoped it would be. I had some great BBQ at Stubb’s and listened to some live music before exploring 6th Street, a more family-friendly version of Bourbon Street. The next day I headed to Palestine, Texas, to fish with Bubba Bedre (www.garfishingguide.com) for trophy alligator gar. Alligator gar are fascinating and prehistoric-looking fish. They grow to several hundred pounds and are able to survive out of the water for up to two hours. Bubba appeared on Jeremy Wade's River Monsters and is internationally famous for producing huge alligator gar.

A trophy alligator gar needs to be six feet long, so, while I was hoping for a trophy, I tried not to get too excited so as not to disappoint myself if I caught “only” a five-foot fish. I caught four non-trophy gar (although one did weigh 45 – 50 pounds) and contented myself to watching wild hogs on the banks and alligators swimming, when I hooked into a true river monster: a 6 foot, 9.5 inch long, 187-pound alligator gar. This fish had an astounding 34-inch girth. This ranks as one of the best and most exciting fish I have ever caught.

Before the trip ended, I caught a 71-inch, 100-pound alligator gar, one inch shy of the minimum for another Texas trophy. In total, I caught six alligator gar with Bubba, all of which were exciting to battle, especially the last two. I celebrated my amazing trip with another round of Whataburger and, in true Texas fashion, headed off into the sunset.