View Full Version : One more lizard hunt.........

September 23, 2007, 03:11 PM
The pictures are not in order but you can get the idea. You can see the inital hook-up and strugle to get the gator up to where we can stick a harpoon in him.

Then you can see him after we have hit him with the bang stick, 3 times, and are getting ready to tape his mouth.

Other pictures are how we get him in the boat. Drag him to the back and use a block and tackle.

This one is 11" 5" and about 500 pounds.

And do note who is doing all the hard work..............love those redneck girls!







September 23, 2007, 04:10 PM
Nice pics. I needs me one of dem redneck gurls. :) Who's taking the pictures?

September 23, 2007, 05:08 PM
We snagged this one about 15 miles south of Palatka, Fl. on the St. Johns River. He was back amongst some small islands off the main channel. This is a place where folks cruising the river will anchor up for the night to be out of the chanel and out of the wind.

Turns out that there was a houseboat with 6 people on it anchored up back behind the island where this gator went when we snagged him. We managed to finally get him subdued about 40 yards from where they were anchored up.

This took a good 45 min. As you can see the first pictures are just as it gets light, still before sunrise. The last pictures are full sun.

Well the people on the houseboat could not at first figure out what we were doing but when they did two of them broke out cameras and started snapping pictures.

They sent us a disk with about 70 on it..........you're seeing some of them.

And this is kind of funny.........after we got him good and dead we used a block and tackle to haul him into the boat. Actually that's how we do all the big ones.

Well now these folks have been listening to us, actually more to my wife who can be very loud, and they could tell that we were having a time with this thing. I mean it weighs 500 pounds and on my best day I don't make much more than 155, so it is a real strugle.

So when we finally haul it across the stern and its head flops down in the well of the boat and we sit back to rest a minute, both of us sweating like pigs........well the folks on the houseboat started to clap and cheer. It was kind of crazy, out there in the foggy quiet of the river having that go on.

Fat White Boy
September 23, 2007, 09:29 PM
What do you do with them? I have eaten alligator but what do you do with 500 pounds?

September 24, 2007, 03:05 AM
We own a seafood market in Jacksonville. The one you see is #8 for the season, 5 of which were over 10'. We have 2 permits left. Actually going in a few minutes, it's 4:00 AM as I'm writing this, down to the river to try and fill one of those right before sunrise.

We clean them, which is a pain. The skin, especially on the bigger ones, does not come off like a deer or hog. Darn stuff has to be cut all the way! A big one will take two of us 30-45 minutes to get the skin off, another 30-45 minutes minutes to scrape it and salt it.

Then we have to deal with the meat. That is a pain also. Another 1 1/2 hours or more to get it all boned out and the fat removed from one like that.

And mind you this is with 2 guys working at it. The small ones are a lot easier.

We sell all the meat and invariably someone will want the head. The skins get sent to a commercial gator farm and are sold.

We don't make any real money at it, just cover our costs.

Catching them is a mix between hunting and fishing. Most of the time we are out on the water at night or from a couple of hours before sunrise till a little after sunrise. It can be so beautiful out there.........!

September 24, 2007, 07:58 AM
So when we finally haul it across the stern and its head flops down in the well of the boat and we sit back to rest a minute, both of us sweating like pigs........well the folks on the houseboat started to clap and cheer. It was kind of crazy, out there in the foggy quiet of the river having that go on.

That's a hoot - a hunting audience - sounds like fun. :) That is a good sized lizard - dayum.

Fat White Boy
September 25, 2007, 11:39 PM
Pretty cool...I had the pleasure of eating a Grouper Sandwich when I was in the Keys a couple of years ago. A great sandwich. Are they still popular?

September 26, 2007, 02:14 AM
Real grouper, especially one of the better species, fried crisp and ploped on some good bread with the proper sauce is a Florida favorite.

Note I said "real grouper" because so much of what gets sold as grouper, more often in tourist areas, is not the real stuff. As of today we are selling the fresh REAL stuff, from one of the better species like Gags or Reds or Gulf Blacks, for about $10 a pound wholesale to the restaurants.

This translates into $5 dead cost to a restaurant for a 8 oz piece to go on a regular sized sandwich. Then they have to add the bread and whatever else goes with it. Now with the average restaurant having to stick with about a 1/3 food cost, because the labor and other overhead are so high for them, this translates into at least a $15 item............for the real thing.

If you're ever offered it when you're here in Florida try trigger fish. It's as good as the best groupers and about 40% less expensive.

It seems counter intuitive but it can be dificult to get good seafood here. So many of the fry houses and the tourist traps and the national chains just will not pay for good stuff. If you wnat the best what you need to do is look for locally owned restaurants that sell fresh stuff. A good way to find one is to look up one of the local commercial fish houses and ask them who uses fresh stuff.

September 26, 2007, 06:39 PM
Bswiv, looks like we will have to become good friends when I move to Jax at the end of the year!:D:D

September 27, 2007, 09:20 PM
My wife told me when we got married (29 years ago) she'd clean and cook anything I brought home. Boy, I'd love to see the look on her face haulin in a 500 lb. lizard.:eek:

Fat White Boy
September 27, 2007, 11:18 PM
Trigger fish is excellent. I catch and eat them in Baja. The Mexicans call them Cochitos or little pigs, because they hit anything you throw at them.

September 28, 2007, 12:40 AM
Do you get better results with a bang-stick as opposed to a revolver or pistol?

September 28, 2007, 05:40 AM
Now you're probably not going to believe this, unless you've had the opportunity to actually handle the head of a big gator, but the old tale about bullets bouncing off of them is to a great extent true.

We usa a .357 with jacketed solids and a stout load of Unique behind it.

We make every effort to set the bang stick off just at the base of the skull and angeling forward a bit. Mind you this does not always turn out right the first time so we often set a 2nd or 3rd one off. Note the 3 holes on the one in the picture. The shot furtherst forward is perfect the other two, depending on trajectory may or may not have done the job correctly. On the big ones we almost always set more than one.

A shot like that will generally hit either the spine at the base of the brain or the brain itself. Quick and humain.

On the other hand if we set the shot off to far forward, say on top of the skull, unless it's a small gator or unless it manages to travel through the eye socket, all we will succeed in doing is knocking him senseless for a few moments.

Now if a .357 a point blank range will not penetrate his thick concrete like skull it stands to reason that shooting at one with a pistol is going to be even less effective.

And this is really the crux of the issue................when we set the bang stick off we try and make sure that the gators head is under the water at least a few inches, both to reduce the noise and to eleminate the possibility of a bounced bullet. With a pistol..........well you can see the possibilities for accidents.

I'll try and post a couple of more pictures of the bang stick in use.

Almost forgot............besides the safety and humain aspect of it, there is the state law.........it says that you can't use guns. Kind of unusual that the law follows common sense in this case.

September 28, 2007, 08:52 AM
havent had gator meat in a long time ,,,,,,do you sell to the public and ship it, ?????b

September 28, 2007, 08:55 AM
I see the fishing rod, but how do you manage to get the mouth taped? looks kind of fun!

September 28, 2007, 05:53 PM
For Wingshooter:

We sell the meat in our seafood market and will ship but the shipping is VERY expensive. Just shipped a 12 pound package, about 4 pounds of meat with the rest of the weight being ice packs and the packaging. It cost him $63 to get it from Fl to NYC..........

For Matlock:

Basically we use the light rods you see, 20 pound test Spiderwire, as a locater line. Whether in the early morning or at night ( Most of the time at night. ) we use the light line to snag them. We then follow with the trolling motor until they stop on the bottom. Once they stop we use the much heavier rod ( 80 Lb test mono ) and a very stout hook to snag them a second time.

With the big rod you can then actually work them to the boat, or as the case may be at times, work the boat to them. We then pull them to the surface, on a big one we will have to use a second rod, and set a harpoon.

Once the harpoon is set we can haul the gator to the boat and hit him with the bang stick.

If you look at the other post you can see the bang stick going off.

It is exciting, especially at night when you often don't really know what size animal will bob to the surface next to the boat.

And yes it is more dificult than what I have explained.

It's also worth noting that there are a great number of other ways to do it. We have a lot of open water here in NE Fl. whereas in other parts of the state, where the waters are different, air boats are necessary.

September 28, 2007, 08:01 PM
So how exciting does one that big get when you get him in the boat? I have never taken a gator that big but I know they can still knock the fool out of you with there tail long after killed. Thanks for the pics Ben. We may have little deer in Fla, but we have big lizerds:D

September 28, 2007, 08:46 PM
pretty awesome. I 'spose there's no such thing as "catch and release" with them suckers!

September 28, 2007, 09:58 PM
Thanks for the explanation (re: bang stick vs pistol). I hadn't even considered the possibility of legal issues...

September 29, 2007, 03:07 AM

The goal is to ALWAYS have him dead before he comes in the boat! That said we have messed up a couple of times, back when we first started. Learned the hard way about the concrete skull and the fact that it could stop a .357.

It's also to be noted that because of the way their heart and respatory system is set up they do not recover as fast as a mamal.

Whereas you or I can be winded and with just a few moments, literally less than a minutes worth of heavy breathing, replinish our blood oxygen levels to the extent that we can expend another burst of energy, a gator can not.

Once he is winded he stays that way a long time. And the bigger he is the shorter the length of time he can fight and the longer it takes him to recover. The ones in the 6 to 9 foot class will seem to run marathons and the little guys, those under 7 feet or so, do recover fairly quickly, but not the big guys.

We just keep in mind that bullets are VERY inexpensive and use them accordingly, especially when compared to the cost of some busted equipment, a few stitches, or a broken bone.

September 29, 2007, 08:31 AM
Off topic, but AMEN to the trigger fish. Talking about a pain to clean, but they are absolutely increadible table fare. So are Spadefish. We got into some big spades 3 weeks ago. MMMMMM...now you know why my forum name is CastnBlast...ain't rocket science...