A Florida teenager turned the 'catch of the day' into a catch of a lifetime, when he managed to reel in an 800-pound alligator that was over 12-foot long, while fishing for gators in the St. Lucie County canal on Florida's Treasure Coast.
Tim Stroh, a 19-year-old Criminal Justice student was fishing with his parents and a family friend during alligator season when he hooked the reptile on what his father called a "puny bass rod."
Stroh managed to get the alligator, "which was twice his height and more then five times his weight," close enough to the boat for the gator hunting family to use a "bang stick", a cylinder shaped firearm used to kill alligators and sharks at close range, to stun the massive creature, reports WPTV.
"I had adrenaline pumping through me and I was just like, 'Oh my God,'" Stroh said, reported WESH. The alligator "came up and he was popping his jaw and stuff."
Stroh said he used a harpoon to pull the gigantic alligator, whose tail was as big around as his waist, into the boat, with the help of his father and Rusty Griffenberg of New Jersey.
WPTV screen capture
Tim Stroh with the 800-pound alligator he caught on Florida's Treasure Coast.
"He had a lot of character, and I had a lot of fun," the 6'3, 160-pound Stroh told the Treasure Coast Palm. "I thought it was just a 9-footer. Then I saw how big it was. I was more afraid we would lose it than I was of the gator, because of the rod. I wasn't just pulling him in with my arms, I was using my legs. It was hard."
Stroh's father Steve, who is local taxidermist, said they had heard there was massive gator in the canal, but they were still surprised at its size. He said it was the largest alligator he had even seen. Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation officials said it's not the biggest catch on record in Florida. An alligator over 14-foot long, weighing 1000-pounds holds the record for the largest caught in the state.
The Stroh's took the gator to a processor in Loxahatchee and now have 250-pounds of alligator meat in their freezer. Steve Stroh said he plans to mount the head for his son, they will "tan the hide and make and make key-chains from the bony plates on the gator's back ridges."
Florida's alligator season runs from August 15 through Nov. 1.