During my lunch break I was able to get down to a nearby waterfront park. While gazing all of the many, many, many, many, many (...) bluegills swarming near the shore and boardwalk, I saw a fanning caudal fin that definitely didn't belong to any mere sunfish. Indeed, only a handful of fish would have that rounded shape, that cream colored base, and those several distinct dark spots. Situated just fore of the aft were a close-in set of dorsal and anal fins with the same pattern, meaning they were placed far back along the body.
I knew it could only be a gar.
I just don't know which gar!
After retrieving my cell phone from the company truck, I was able to catch a few suggestive snippets of video and some stupefyingly secretive stills. Alas and alack, I never really got a clear shot of the snout which I suspect would have helped a novice like me narrow things down a bit. The while time it was just hovering in place, fanning its rear fins at me disdainfully. There weren't many options for good angles, the fish was a decent few meters away, there was some glare on the water, and all the other little obscuring factors that could hide a bigfoot in plane sight.
Anyway, here's the least worst of the stills I've got. (There are some video clips but I need to lightly edit them before uploading)
I'm thinking longnose because of all those small-ish spots along the body?
Spotted ol' Spot here in Clemson, South Carolina. I looked up the watershed on FishMap but didn't find any documented gar sightings. With a positive lock on the species I'll feel confident uploading my cache to iNaturalist.
Thanks in advance!