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BassNub

Wildlife encounters

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I'm just curious for you guys that fish in the southern part of the states. How often do you guys encounter alligators or other sort of dangerous animals? I'm from Michigan so, closes thing to me is probably water snakes only. I've always wondered about this, let me know your experiences.

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Im the same as you because im from Pennsylvania.  Im constatly watching my step for copperheads and water moccasins when I fish ponds.

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You see them but not as often as you would imagine, they are smart enough to associate boats with something they dont want to mess with so they tend to stay away. Occasionaly you will see one sunning in the backs of sloughs or creeks.

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I'm in southern Alabama, and I fish from both kayak and a bass boat.  When we are in kayaks, which is typically in smaller waters (creaks, rivers, smaller ponds) we see a ton of water snakes.  Some that are harmless and then others like mocassins (sp?).  You just have to be prepared for it and pay attention to what you are doing.  In the boat I occasionally see them but much less than in the kayak.

I went wadeing with a buddy once and we caught 54 LMB during the day.  The whole time I was paying careful attention and watching every step.  At the end of the day, I changed to flip flops as we loaded up the vehicles.  I suddenly looked down and realized that 2 or 3 times I had stumbled past a copperhead that was laying on the ground with its mouth open, hissing at me.  I so easily could have stepped on it just by being careless.  You just gotta keep your head and pay attention.  

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You definatly have to watch your step when fishing from the bank or wadeing down south.  Good situational awareness is key.  Cotton mouths are very territorial and they will come after you if they are having a bad day which could make your day bad as well.

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When I'm wading creeks with the guys there is not a day that we don't encounter a few snakes. They are incredible common. We have ran across one gator while wading but when fishing the river we see EVERYTHING. Gators and snakes are everywhere once you get in the backwater. But thats a typical river system to me. Now I've got to say that I rarely see anything like that on major lakes, exception being Eufaula.

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Im the same as you because im from Pennsylvania. Im constatly watching my step for copperheads and water moccasins when I fish ponds.

You're probably not going to have to worry about those in PA.  

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When i grew up in Arkansas we would fish this particular place that there would always be a gator surface and float behind the boat.  We would just hit TM and make a little distance, and continue fishing.  This place was a flipping paradise for those who like to flip.  I do not know what it is like anymore.

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I fish and hunt all over the marshes and swamps of Southwest Louisiana where some of the best honey holes are only accessible by foot. Most generally snakes and gators will not bother you unless you take them by surprise, you just have to pay close attention to where you are walking and once you stop listen for certain noises, look for grass movements, and generally scan the area.

Gators do love spinner baits & Johnson Spoons or any top water bait for that matter following all the way back to you; my suggestion is a fast retrieve and depending on the size of the gator an even faster retreat.

Water Moccasins and Cottonmouths are a greater concern to me since those sneaky suckers can appear out of nowhere.

Here is one I ran into last year will bank fishing with grass about chest high ;)

Gator.jpg

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Lots of them on all our lakes and creeks. Normanally you will not see most unless you get into the backs of the creeks or up the rivers. They are no problem unless you start pressuring them or jacking with them. Then they will either sink down or move away.

The smaller ones seem to have no fear of a boat(Yet) and will destroy a buzzbait. We have actually had a young one(1 1/2 ft) on Lake Livingston set up under the bow of the boat and race out to attack a surface lure. Problem here would be worrying about the mother and where she might be.

Never had a problem with a gator. Snakes thought are another issue. Have had to fight several off that attempted to climb into the boat over the years.

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 During the warmer months, snakes are a constant threat when I am fishing from the bank. There is one man that lets me fish his pond who shot 27 copperheads last April. He got well over 100 for the year. He got a few cotton mouths around 4' and a 5' rattler, too.

 If I am fishing from a boat and get hung up in the trees, I shake the branches VERY well before getting close to the branches to keep snakes from falling in the boat. It only takes once to learn that lesson.

No problems with gators, yet.

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How 'bout guys from Rhode Island, does that count?

:D

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Fishing down South and seeing all the wildlife is one of the things I look forward to each year. Gators are all over the place. A few years ago I fished Rodman Res. Got some great pictures of some HUGE gators. Snakes are every where and a little common sense when fishing under willow trees in needed. Cottonmouths are sneaky critters and give no warning.

With all that aside the birds in Florida come in all sizes and shapes and colors. It would be quite easy to forget about fishing at times just to watch all the activities of the birds and wild life. Actually got close up to a beautiful bald Eagle and did not have the presence of mind to take a picture. Was fishing in a small canal last year off one of the smaller lakes and got to see some wild boars rutting around and deer are quite plentiful as well.

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Where I live there ain 't no gators, coons and coyotes for sure, skunks, you need to be very unlucky to "encounter" a skunk when you can actually smell it a mile away but it can happen, rattlesnakes are quite common, it 's the lil critters what make life intersting around here like them darned fire ants are everywhere  >:(, those red wasps with more fire power than a Longbow helicopter with an attitude :o, those black bumble bees with enough fire power to make a C130 Spectre feel humble, those wolly caterpillars that look like a porcupine and just to round up our hot climates = hot bugs we 've got scorpions.

Add to that the ever present thorny vegetation of all sorts.

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I saw my first gator in the wild the first time I fished Eufaula at the end of November. It was awesome. Couldn't believe what I was seeing.  Didn't know how to act....how close could i get...did i need to stay far away....we decided to troll over to about 10 yards away and just check him out. It was awesome (and a little creepy) that he would just come up to the top of the water and not move for minutes at a time, then he would submerge for 10 seconds and reappear 30 yards away.

The snakes creep me out. See them all the time during the warm months. Reminds me of that dang Bill Dance video where the snake falls out of the tree every time.

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I spend a lot of time flipping over rocks and logs if the fish aren't biting. I'm in central Oklahoma so there aren't any dangerous water snakes for a long way east or south. However, due to popular belief, EVERY water snake seen by EVERY fisherman I know is a cottonmouth, even though their range is nowhere near central Oklahoma (as long as you are looking at a state range map, not a map of the entire south). There are a lot of water snakes around here in virtually every body of water. They do a good job keeping the place clean, eating weak, dying, or dead fish. They really help to keep disease in check and make the fishing better.

So my favorite thing to do when a water snake pops up and everyone starts freaking out is to ****** it up quickly. If there are any old timers around they start wining and moaning, explaining that the water snake is in fact a cottonmouth, and then they start making up stuff about the ways they can tell. If they won't still won't listen to the truth, I'll usually grab the snake by the tail and let it sink its teeth into my forearm (its not any worse than getting bit by a flathead while noodling). I just laugh as blood runs down my wrists and the old timers start to call me crazy and tell me I'm going to die. But of course, I don't.

I've found that fisherman know about as much about snakes as snakes know about fisherman. Generally nothing! But they sure think they are all knowing...

no offense guys  ;)

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Hmm...

You might only get to be wrong one time...

::)

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I have seen quite a few gators this year while out fishing.

You want to talk about a top water bite. :D

Don't ask me how I know. ;D

Brute

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I spend a lot of time flipping over rocks and logs if the fish aren't biting. I'm in central Oklahoma so there aren't any dangerous water snakes for a long way east or south. However, due to popular belief, EVERY water snake seen by EVERY fisherman I know is a cottonmouth, even though their range is nowhere near central Oklahoma (as long as you are looking at a state range map, not a map of the entire south). There are a lot of water snakes around here in virtually every body of water. They do a good job keeping the place clean, eating weak, dying, or dead fish. They really help to keep disease in check and make the fishing better.

So my favorite thing to do when a water snake pops up and everyone starts freaking out is to ****** it up quickly. If there are any old timers around they start wining and moaning, explaining that the water snake is in fact a cottonmouth, and then they start making up stuff about the ways they can tell. If they won't still won't listen to the truth, I'll usually grab the snake by the tail and let it sink its teeth into my forearm (its not any worse than getting bit by a flathead while noodling). I just laugh as blood runs down my wrists and the old timers start to call me crazy and tell me I'm going to die. But of course, I don't.

I've found that fisherman know about as much about snakes as snakes know about fisherman. Generally nothing! But they sure think they are all knowing...

no offense guys ;)

Sounds like I have a fellow herper on here...I regularly go out looking for snakes and such, sometimes I do that more than fish, sometimes not :-/

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I've run into a few coy-dogs while stream fishing.  They usually take off before you see them.  Once, I was getting the stink eye from a rutting white tail buck.  I finally had to chuck a stick at him to get him to move since he was blocking my path on the trail back to the car.  I occasionally run into weasels and feral mink.  My biggest concern is running into nesting geese - they are by fay the most aggressive animals around here.  I can't imagine running in to a nesting mute swan - that would be really bad.

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I seen seen manatees swimming in lake Okeechobee rim canals on many trips there, grazing on the grass.

I wonder how they survive there with all the big gators.

You can sometimes see beavers (otters?) florida panthers, bobcats,

deer, as well as wild hogs on the waters edge. All the varieties of tropical and preditory birds are pretty cool to observe.

The thing that gives me the heebeegeebies is the huge 16' python snakes that are now part of the everglades. I would probably be shootin holes in my boat if one of those critters crawled in.

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How 'bout guys from Rhode Island, does that count?

Gators wouldn't mess with 'em.  Too skinny and not enough meat.

Here is one of my regular fishing buddies:

GATORs.jpg

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I spend a lot of time flipping over rocks and logs if the fish aren't biting. I'm in central Oklahoma so there aren't any dangerous water snakes for a long way east or south. However, due to popular belief, EVERY water snake seen by EVERY fisherman I know is a cottonmouth, even though their range is nowhere near central Oklahoma (as long as you are looking at a state range map, not a map of the entire south). There are a lot of water snakes around here in virtually every body of water. They do a good job keeping the place clean, eating weak, dying, or dead fish. They really help to keep disease in check and make the fishing better.

So my favorite thing to do when a water snake pops up and everyone starts freaking out is to ****** it up quickly. If there are any old timers around they start wining and moaning, explaining that the water snake is in fact a cottonmouth, and then they start making up stuff about the ways they can tell. If they won't still won't listen to the truth, I'll usually grab the snake by the tail and let it sink its teeth into my forearm (its not any worse than getting bit by a flathead while noodling). I just laugh as blood runs down my wrists and the old timers start to call me crazy and tell me I'm going to die. But of course, I don't.

I've found that fisherman know about as much about snakes as snakes know about fisherman. Generally nothing! But they sure think they are all knowing...

no offense guys ;)

The same thing happens here while I'm fishing. There are no Cottonmouths in this part of the state, but every water snake that swims by someone else fishing is a "poisonous water moccasin". I jsut laugh every time I here something say that.

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