It’s a fishing tale with teeth.
Over the Labor Day holiday, Tracy Brown and his two friends, James and Joe Fink, set out from Smith’s Fish Camp on Escambia River in search of big game.
They found it in the form of a 12-foot, 550-pound alligator affectionately called “The Swamp House Gator.”
“James has seen this alligator for eight years,” Brown said. “They’re avid gator hunters. I ended up hooking up with them and we went out to Escambia River.
“Florida has this lottery where, if you’re fortunate enough, you win two tags for an alligator permit. I was fortunate.”
The small group spotted the gator just a short ways north of where they put in at Smith’s Fish Camp and, after a grueling three-hour fight, had nothing to show but broken hook lines.
“We figured he was short of air,” Brown said. “I know I was, fighting him so long. Then he came flying out of the air, like a marlin.”
The trio finally harpooned the gator and began wrestling it into the boat.
“We kept pulling and pulling,” Brown said. “Little-by-little, we finally pulled him in the boat.
“About then, Florida Wildlife showed up because we had been making so much noise celebrating. They saw it and said that it was a monster.”
The shock Florida Wildlife officials had was nothing compared to the shock Brown’s girlfriend received when he arrived home with his prize.
“I told her I was going to get a monster,” Brown said. “And she said ‘Well, if you do we’ll get a wall mount.’
“I woke her up at 3 in the morning and she came out and saw this alligator. She said we’ll have to build a bigger house.”