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Taxidermist takes on 327-pound fish

May 11, 2011 at 4:30 PM

STUART, Fla., May 11 (UPI) -- A Florida taxidermist said he is working on creating a mold of what is believed to be the largest freshwater fish ever caught in North America.

Mike Kirkhart, owner of New Wave Taxidermy in Stuart, said he is working alongside his son, Buddy, and employee Justin Herron to make a mold of the 327-pound alligator gar caught in Mississippi in February by Kenny Williams, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel reported Wednesday.

Kirkhart said the mold will be used to create a skin mount for the state of Mississippi Museum of Natural Science in Jackson and a full-size fiberglass replica for Williams.

The taxidermist said the alligator gar, named for its sharp teeth and alligator-like snout, measures 8 1/2 feet long and is estimated to have been 50 to 75 years old when it was caught.

"It looks like a dinosaur," Kirkhart said. "What a beautiful and ugly creature."

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