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Manning gets state record strike

Tyler Manning, 22, of Mitchell, poses with his unrestricted state record longnose gar. He got the fish using a bow and arrow and it was 19 pounds, 4 ounces and 54 inches long. (Submitted photo)

Tyler Manning had every intention of catching walleye May 23 on the James River, near Rockport Colony in Hanson County.

As he stood there waiting for a bite with his pole, Manning, 22, looked down at the biggest gar he'd ever seen.

"When I saw it, I grabbed my bow, drew it back and got it," he said. "I'd never even seen a gar half that size."

After the catch, Manning took the fish to Shorty's Locker in Mitchell to get it officially weighed.

He then brought it to the Game, Fish and Parks Department in Sioux Falls, where the gar was confirmed by a wildlife biologist.

After getting confirmation, Manning holds the unrestricted state record, meaning the fish came by any legal means other than a hook and line. This fish measured 19 pounds, 4 ounces and was 54 inches long.

"It's pretty exciting," the Mitchell native said. "Not a lot of people get a state-record."

The restricted state record -- meaning a fish caught with a line and hook that was not snagged -- is held by Curt Larsen. Larsen caught a 16-pound, 12-ounce longnose gar at the Missouri River on April 6, 1996.

The state unrestricted shortnose gar was also caught on the James River. Ty Smith got the 7-pound, 5-ounce fish with a bow and arrow on Aug. 10, 2001.

Manning said he began fishing with his father when he was about 3 years old and has been bow fishing for the past six years.

"I just love the thrill of it," Manning said.

Brooke Cersosimo
Brooke Cersosimo is The Daily Republic's sports editor.