Fishing & Boating News

Texas Gar Fishing With A European Touch

by: James Shumake,

(Thursday, December 03,1998 - Jasper, TX)
Wim van Velzen is from Holland (Dutch not Texas) and he has spent the last five years traveling the world fishing for trophy sized game fish. This past September He and his companion Joseph (Joe) Taylor of England visited the Piney Woods of East Texas in pursuit of a large Alligator Gar.

Their contact began in September of 1997 with Internet communications between Wim and Big Sam's Tackle. The idea of spending a month of Gar Fishing was presented and accepted and then an year of actual planning for the visit, with most of the planning done via the Internet. Transportation, lodging and other essential items were taken care of over the one year waiting time for the trip.

The two visitors were well versed in fishing trips into other countries as Wim had fished in Russia and Eastern Siberia for the pacific Salmon, in the Volga-delta for European Catfish, in Kazakhstan for the European Catfish, in Egypt for the Nile Perch, in Zimbabwe for Vundu Catfish, Zambia for Tigerfish, Canada for Northern Pike, Salmon rRiver (USA) for Steelhead, Ireland for Northern Pike, and Mozambique for Big Game Fishing.

Joseph has also been to many of the above places and has also fished for Tarpon in Costa Rica, Sturgeon in the USA , the Mahseer in India and Carp in France.

The two met while fishing in Egypt and have joined together to fish together for many of their excursions. The trip to Jasper ,Texas in September of 1998 would be both anglers first venture into gar fishing. Local Professional guide Brandon Shumake is well known for his bass fishing abilities, but he indeed would have to study up on the gar fishing techniques to make the 28 day fishing adventure successful.

The search for the large Alligator Gar would prove to be very difficult, as this large vicious fish seems to eat when and what he wants at his own discretion. Several Needle nose Gar were caught during the trips, but the elusive Alligator gar was not to be captured this trip. The trips started on Lake Rayburn and stretched as far as Sabine lake near the Coast. They also fished on Toledo Bend and Lake Livingston. They spent most of their time on the Angelina river below the dam of Sam Rayburn Reservoir . The concentration of gar is well known in the river and many large Alligator gar were spotted in the ox bow lakes off the main river . The Needle nose were very plentiful and seemed to be the most eager to bite the assorted baits such as cut shad, goldfish, and bream. "Part of the fun" Brandon indicated, "was watching the two Europeans catch their bait while Bream Fishing." "They really got excited doing this and when we landed the first gar they really got excited."

In looking at the trip from the guide's perspective Brandon was sometimes perplexed and sat for hours without catching anything. But from Wim and Joe's view the sitting and waiting was a part of trophy fishing . Wim complimented Brandon on a job well done and via the Internet said "I absolutely loved Texas, of course not the speeding ticket and DR. Pepper Soft Drinks. OK we did not catch the big one, but I feel that Brandon gave it his best shot. He is one of the better guides I have fished with."

We are already talking with Wim about next year. This time he wants to purchase a boat and a truck and keep it in storage. We will help him find the things he needs at Big Sam's, and we look forward to having them in our area again. If they are looking at trucks and boats after one visit, no telling what they will want after two more. We might even make them honorary Texans.