When people think of tranquil fishing trips out in a quiet lagoon, the prey they have in mind is most likely not an alligator. However, for fishermen who like to inject some excitement into their routine, alligator fishing is an adrenaline rush like few others. Over the years, those who have been brave enough to try it have used a variety of methods to lure in these creatures and put them out of commission.
The most rugged of outdoorsmen may decide to take the approach of Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin, whose knowledge of crocodiles was so extensive that he was able to sneak up on them and capture them in a fierce grip with his own bare hands. Of course, Irwin’s aim was conservation, and he never killed the crocodiles he captured. Nonetheless, a similar tactic can be taken with alligators, and there are legends surrounding larger than life figures who have done just that. However, this is an extremely dangerous method, and it is certainly not recommended for the general public.
Other less conventional methods include knocking the gators out with a blunt object such as a rock or kicking them in the head with a heavy boot. Again, these methods are not very safe, and they are also inhumane. A more common method is to come hunting with a bow and a quiver of barbed arrows, though if you select this tactic, you need to be especially careful about not shooting any nearby people in the process. The same applies to those who prefer to use guns to hunt gators.
The most common method of catching alligators is to trail hooks loaded with bait alongside a boat. After the alligators take a bite, they will be trapped, and the fishermen can continue to drag them along or haul them into the boat. In other cases, alligators hunters may simply leave lines and hooks out, set as traps for any gators that may venture into the area, though hunting regulations often require that they check these traps regularly and remove anything that has been caught.
This passive way of catching alligators may be effective, but it’s not very exciting or sporting. For a real thrill and a sense of a battle between man and nature, fishermen can invest in extremely heavy-duty rods and reels and fish for gators just as they would for big fish. This is a very active method that requires a great deal of stamina and physical strength, but for those who are up for the challenge, it can be much more rewarding to capture an alligator in this manner.
Because of the dangers involved, one shouldn’t attempt gator fishing alone; there should always be a companion on hand to offer help, administer first aid or call for a medical professional if needed. That friend may also want to be ready with a camera or video camera for the purpose of documenting the big catch.
Aside from the thrill of the catch, one of the major reasons that people hunt alligators is for the purpose of having a trophy to display in the home or at a hunting lodge. Alligators also are edible, and it’s not unheard of to live off of alligator meat, which is tender and has a mild flavor that can easily be integrated into many recipes. Those who use alligators for food most often make use of the torso, leg and tail, and the meat can be frozen for more than a year with no adverse effects.
Alligators can also be exciting quarry for hunters of a different kind. Photographers often go to nature reserves in hopes of spotting these elusive creatures, and snapping a compelling shot is a challenge in and of itself. Because gators are only native to swamps in a fairly small portion of the United States, with Louisiana and Florida housing the largest populations, many people travel great distances to see these animals, and those who manage alligator farms must maintain a balance to ensure that these creatures are not over-hunted. Once on the endangered species list, alligators have made a comeback, and this time, there’s every reason to hope that their population will remain healthy and thriving.