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Had a gator scare


GRiver
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Hi everyone 

Fishing Florida when the water temp starts to drop, you learn to watch for alligators basking in the sun.

I was fishing Monday, trolling along the bank on the St. John’s, got skunked, but anyway.

There is slots cut back in the woods that they floated logs out years ago, heard them called, cuts, float path, log slips.. all kinds of things.
 Cruising along the bank tossing a Texas rigged worm,  came to one of the slots and was going to nose in and fish it. Just I started in, on the back side of a palmetto, a 6ft-8ft gator came off the bank and into the water. Scared  the #$&** out of me, I’m guessing on the size was, too busy crapping my pants too get a good estimate. It landed close enough that I got wet and it rocked the boat.  I caught it’s first movement out of the corner of my eye, as he raised its head, then that big leap they do, right at me. I probably had that frightened distorted look on my face frozen like I just saw Medusa.  He probably had the same look…. At least I’d like to think I scared him just as much, and we be laughing together.
I thought he was going to land in the boat or at least on the gunnel. I know he wasn’t attacking me, but he probably wouldn’t have passed on the chance of a meal ether. 
Its my fault….. l knew better than get that close to the corner, that was dumb, dumb, dumb. I’m always checking the bank and scanning ahead this time of year, especially right after a cold spell and water temps dropping. I had already seen close to a dozen that morning basking. I give them a wide berth, if they don’t slide off before I get close. Never had that happen before, I got day dreaming and not paying attention to my surroundings. 
     Just thought I’d share that story, it’s funny now, but I think I can tell my doctor I don’t need a stress test. 

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I hear ya!!

Ive had that happen more than a few times especially on The Lake meandering our way back into a few newly flooded areas after a summer thunderstorm both times in the back of the Monkey Box. 
 

We had no business going that far back but both boaters felt we’d be in new pristine waters. 
When they stared to grunt and I saw a few obvious resting areas when during mating season is where they lay eggs I should have said something but didn’t. 
 

I told the boater to crank the big motor and to not sit in the seat to drive out.
Just put it in gear and drive standing from between the seats. 
Right after I explained why, a 8-10 footer raised his head and nosed the bottom of the gunnel next to his seat!

 

He screamed, I yelled and hit 70 comin out 😆

 

 

 

 

Mike

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Happens all the time here in the south Florida Everglades. I run across them all the time basking or just chilling and then out of the blue they explode into a stupendous run, making all kinds of racket to scurry away. Sometimes I shake my head, like really, why all the fuzz lol Goes to show they fear us as much as we fear them! At night they just float around all red eyed doing nothing much and when I get near them, they do a slow sink and vanish. 

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I have had that happen to me.  In the Everglades we have canals dug with high banks.  In stealth mode with the wind to my back, I have startled them sunning themselves up on these high banks.  I have had one dive off the bank and almost land in the boat.  Needed a change of underwear after that.  When startled they move quick.  We see hundreds during low water levels.

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I admit..that does sound exciting way over here where we dont have alligators.  but I will fish FL one day in a kayak.  soon.  I'll bring adult diapers.  

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That’s what makes it interesting. Many encounters on the St John’s and even more on the Ocklawaha river. Actually drop my keys to the truck in there with several  gators within 50 yards of us. One of the few times I was concerned about gators (Ok let’s be honest scared the blank out of me) as it took us over a hour in chest deep water to find them.

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1 hour ago, GaryH said:

Many encounters on the St John’s and even more on the Ocklawaha river.

“There they be monsters” 

I fish the Ocklawaha a lot, they’re is a ton of gators in those waters.

I’ve had the shallow water alarm go off on the depth/ fish finder because on of big boys passed under my boat while fishing.

Do you have/carry and extra set of keys now? LOL.

 

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One of the main things that I watch out for (and I don't see much of this happening with many fisherman in places that has a lot of gators) is to be VERY mindful when handling those exhausted bass IN the water, catching or releasing. I've seen many guys dangling a fish over the side of a craft in water with very low visibility--reviving or whatever, lotta meat dangling around just below the service for a 9 footer to take quick advantage of! I've seen many gators dive off the bank, only to hug the bottom for a long time. They claw into the mud, locking themselves down, all the while looking upwards, silently watching and waiting, which is what they do. So they're down there, big ones, watching and waiting for that ripe opportunity. Sharks do it. Why not a hungry gator? Watch those hands! 

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Plenty of gators here in South Louisiana as well.  I want to echo Zcoker's statements.  I retrieve and release all fish quickly when gators are around.  I had a former teacher that was fishing a drainage canal in a pirogue.  He caught a fish and brought it to the pirogue.  When he reached into the water to grab the fish, a smallish gator came up and grabbed the fish along with his arm.  Luckily the gator was on the small side, but it left a few punctures and cuts on his arm.  I sure a change of underwear was also needed.

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2 hours ago, GRiver said:

“There they be monsters” 

I fish the Ocklawaha a lot, they’re is a ton of gators in those waters.

I’ve had the shallow water alarm go off on the depth/ fish finder because on of big boys passed under my boat while fishing.

Do you have/carry and extra set of keys now? LOL.

 

Now I have a fob 😂 this happen right at the Nelson fish camp. I was tossing the keys to a friend and my hand hit the throttle and flip into the water. You are right there are some big ones up there. 

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On 1/5/2023 at 1:25 PM, ol'crickety said:

It happens to me all the time. Maine gators are bigger than Nile crocs and nastier than Australia's saltwater crocs.

 

Cracking Up Lol GIF by Rodney Dangerfield

😃

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I have lived in Florida all my life.  Seen thousands of gators from 18" to 14 feet.   Fished alone in the Everglades at night.  Been on a few night trips with professional gator hunters.  There are places in Florida where gators are as thick as mosquitos. In deep south Florida they even have crocodiles.

 

Most gators don't want anything to do with humans or boats.  The problem comes when humans feed them or otherwise attempt to interact with them.   Rarely does anyone get hurt by a gator, but it does happen.  Our handyman almost lost his hand when trimming bushes on a canal bank. A gator struck at movement which happened to be his hand.  Small children and dogs look like a tasty meal to a gator.  Never ever let either one roam around near any lake or canal in Florida.  Don't swim alone where gators are known to live, which is most everywhere.  Unfortunately for fishermen, gators don't chase down water skiers. (joke).   The scariest gator encounter I ever had was when I found my boat in a narrow canal between a 10' moma gator and a pack of baby gators.  Glad I had a 24 volt trolling motor!

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The only time I worry about alligators is when I'm bank fishing. Guys on this site talk about being quiet when approaching the waters edge not to scare the fish.

 

No sir! I am gonna be whistling Dixie & shuffling my feet. 

 

In a boat I generally see em before they see me. To me the little are more of a problem than bigger ones. They will come out of nowhere & absolutely destroy any lure.

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2 minutes ago, Catt said:

The only time I worry about alligators is when I'm bank fishing. Guys on this site talk about being quiet when approaching the waters edge not to scare the fish.

 

No sir! I am gonna be whistling Dixie & shuffling my feet. 

 

In a boat I generally see em before they see me. To me the little are more of a problem than bigger ones. They will come out of nowhere & absolutely destroy any lure.


Darn Right!

I rarely bank fish anymore, but when I had to make my way through overgrown brush I grab a long stick and bang my way through especially when approaching the bank shore. 
 

 

 

 

Mike

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Gators definitely add another factor to consider that us Yankees dont have to think about. Would make me think twice about night fishing if I lived in gator country. 

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16 minutes ago, Jar11591 said:

Gators definitely add another factor to consider that us Yankees dont have to think about. Would make me think twice about night fishing if I lived in gator country. 

Black Bears do that for me.

:ph34r:

A-Jay

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5 minutes ago, Jar11591 said:

Would make me think twice about night fishing if I lived in gator country. 

I wouldn't think once about night fishing with dragons swimming around. Nope! I draw the line at gargantuan snapping turtles.

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3 hours ago, Jar11591 said:

Gators definitely add another factor to consider that us Yankees dont have to think about. Would make me think twice about night fishing if I lived in gator country. 

 

I kayak fish at night down here in the south Florida Everglades. Started out bank fishing at night. Never a problem with any gators. Actually, they are lot easier to see at night. Their eyes glow red when light is shined. Easy to pick out when casting. Helps save on the lures lol. 

 

C3-EA10-C0-1-A54-4-E91-A3-D5-650-B6-A22-

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27 minutes ago, Zcoker said:

 

I kayak fish at night down here in the south Florida Everglades. Started out bank fishing at night. Never a problem with any of them. Actually, they are lot easier to see at night. Their eyes glow red when light is shined. Easy to pick out when casting. Helps save on the lures lol. 

 

C3-EA10-C0-1-A54-4-E91-A3-D5-650-B6-A22-

Reminds me of lake Jesup. I think you could walk across the lake without touching the water.

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6 minutes ago, GaryH said:

Reminds me of lake Jesup. I think you could walk across the lake without touching the water.

 

Lol yep, in some places can walk over them like rocks, just like in Jesup, mainly in the summer. Gators can be quite useful at night.

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