ORLANDO, Fla. — While living in Florida, it's almost a given people will run into alligators here and there – but have you ever seen a 920-pound gator?
Yes, you read that correctly. Hunters in Central Florida, close to the Orlando area, can confirm they know what a 920-pound, 13 feet 3 ¼ inches-long gator looks like.
Capt. Kevin Brotz, founder of Florida Gator Hunting, explained to 10 Tampa Bay it started out as just a normal day of hunting for him and his two friends when they came across a large-scale critter they would end up capturing hours later.
Brotz said he made it clear that he wasn’t going to harvest a gator unless it was a really big 12 or a 13-foot one – and he thought it wasn’t going to happen
After harvesting close to a thousand gators in his life between personal hunts and trips with clients, Brtoz said he knew catching a big one was "an absolute needle in a haystack.”
After two hours of hunting, the hunters came across the large gator but didn’t end up catching him then.
Brotz said they saw the gator, tried to catch it, couldn’t get close enough and ended up leaving it.
After hunting elsewhere for about three hours, the team circled back to where the large gator was – and they spotted him.
Forty minutes later, they were able to get a hook into him.
“Then the fight began,” Brotz said.
He recalled the gator not moving around quickly, just slowly crawling away which he said was a sign of how big the scaley creature truly was.
“[With having three heavy-duty fishing rods in this gator and him not moving,] my stomach was in my throat,” Brotz said. “I knew he was a giant.”
It wasn’t until more than three hours later and multiple hooks, harpoons and bullets that the gator was in their possession.
The three were finally able to untangle enough lines to pull the gator away from a nearby log. They then brought it over to the bank and taped him up before putting the gator in the boat.
“The boat swamped, “ Brotz explained. “We had probably a foot of water in the boat. It was just chaos.”
According to the hunter, it’s rare to come across a gator this big, with his second biggest coming out just a couple of inches smaller.
“[The previous gator] was almost as long but not near as wide as [this one] that we just harvested,” he explained.
After reeling this large gator in, Brotz said people truly never know what’s in the water.
“We grew up here and we’ve always swam in the same lakes and rivers that we hunted,” he said. “But having seen this and being a father of three young kids, it puts a cloud of doubt in your mind if you really want to play in the water.”
But one thing Brotz wanted to remind people: We’re not on the menu for gators.
With multiple people swimming in Florida waters every day, gator attacks are not heard of that often, he explained.