LUFKIN, Texas (KETK) – Three East Texans reeled in over 500 lbs of alligator gar at Sam Rayburn Reservoir.

Lufkin native Mason DuPree was at work when his friend called him, telling him that his uncle was out on Rayburn and saw alligator gar spawning. That’s when DuPree and his friend, Logan Nerren, decided to head out fishing.

Within 30 minutes, they managed to get two alligator gar: one about 6-foot-8 weighing 130 lbs, and another that was 7-foot-8 and over 200 lbs.

Texas alligator gar fishing regulations say that there is a daily bag limit of one. When both DuPree and Nerren caught their fish, they decided to call Kyle Nerren to come down and catch one.

“We decided to leave and call his brother, try to get him down there to the lake, that way we could shoot another while they were still in there,” DuPree said. “So we went back and held out, managed to get an 8-foot-3.”

The last fish ended up weighing in somewhere between 210 and 220 lbs. According to DuPree, all the gar managed to put up quite a fight.

“It’s really fun and adrenaline packed for us,” DuPree said. “They’re really difficult to get, really difficult to fight to get in the boat. They break stuff, break arrows, tie knots in lines. They mess up a lot of stuff, as you might imagine with a 200-pound fish on the end of a string.”

DuPree said that this time of year, alligator gar are starting to spawn.

“When they spawn, there’ll be a large female and multiple small males with her trying to fertilize the eggs whenever she releases,” he said. “So they’re not really paying any attention to anything but trying to spawn. These fish will be in the shallows, they’ll be easy to get to, when otherwise the fish are deep and very difficult to find.”

Once caught, the scales of the fish are notoriously hard to cut through. Once you manage to cut through, you can bring in a large fillet.

“I do know some guys that really like the meat, so I give it to them,” DuPree said. “What they do is they’ll take the meat, put it in a meat grinder, and grind it up until its similar to hamburger meat style. Then they’ll batter it up and deep fry it. They claim it’s good, but I let them take care of that.”

Alligator gar are native Texans and as old as dinosaurs. According to Texas Parks & Wildlife, their ancestors have been found in fossils from 215 million years ago.

Female alligator gar can live for more than 50 years and reproduce only a few times each decade in most Texas waters.