Man Vs. Beast
A month ago I traveled up to the outskirts of Charleston, SC with my fiance to visit her parents’ property and hopefully transform from a young boy to a real man by hunting an alligator. I was a bit hesitant to hunt the ultimate predator of WOS (wakers of the south) for fear of Karma, but then again I would never consider wakeboarding in these particular waters, since there are at least 20 gators within sight at all times. I also assumed that the gators of SC who would come to know me as a predator would most likely never relay the message to the gators of Orlando, so I crossed my fingers and muttered “game on” under my breath as I marched out into the marsh with nothing more than my 12 inch stainless hunting knife, war paint, a pack of water proof Marlboro’s and a thirst for blood.
(What really happened – We drove out between all the flooded rice fields in a golf cart with a bunch of fishing poles, ice cold Aquafinas, sunscreen and bug repellent.)
To catch the gator we used three deep sea fishing rods all equipped with large treble hooks. Basically you spot the biggest one you can, cast the hook over its back and then reel until the hook snags the gator. The crazy part is that the gator’s skin is so thick that the hook doesn’t even penetrate, so if you lose line tension the hook falls off and you’re SOL. The gator above was the biggest one I could find and he played mind games with me for about an hour before we were able to bring him in. I hooked and lost him twice before finally winning the battle. Once he was hooked for the third and final time, I had two other guys cast out and hook him as well so that we could actually overpower the 400 pound beast. The craziest part is when the gator finally surfaces about five feet away from your toes with its mouth wide open and you get a first glimpse at how big the thing actually is… he measured 10’9″. Luckily we had a few seasoned veterans with us who quickly got the snare pole around its neck so we could pull it on shore.
Typically the Gator is totally exhausted from the fight and surrenders for a photo or two after its mouth is taped, but once I sat down on his back to get my trophy pic, the gator stood right up and started heading back into the water. I had no idea what to do besides hang on, but every step towards the water got me thinking more and more that he was about to win the battle. Realistically he probably took only two or three steps before someone jumped on hid back with me to stop him, but the feeling of strength coming from this 10 + foot scaly dinosaur beneath me had me thinking extremely unhappy thoughts.
Oh and if you’re wondering why I keep referring to this gator as a “he”, it’s because I found out with my finger. Haha! It was a hell of a first hunting experience and soon I’ll have the gator skin PFD to prove it…We will also be serving the meat at our wedding which will be on the property…Bon Appetit.