Gigantic gator grabbed near Lake Okeechobee

OKEECHOBEE — A nearly 13-foot-long gator was caught near Lake Okeechobee on Oct. 25.

From left to right: Wayne Paterson, Brent Baughman and Phil Baughman stand next to their gigantic catch. Photo by Richard Marion.

Phil Baughman says he along with Wayne Paterson and Brent Baughman caught the gator after launching from the Scott Driver boat ramp and heading upriver.

The trio were heading up the Kissimmee River and hoping to spot an alligator along the banks with they spotted the huge gator.

“We were going to try to bait him with chicken at first,” said Baughman. “But he came off the bank real quick so we threw a hook and got lucky and snag-hooked him. It took all three of us and we fought him for over an hour. It drug us up and down the river and every which way.”

The gator was so heavy that they couldn’t actually pull it up into the boat. They ended up tying the gator to the side of their boat and pulling it over to the boat ramp. Even then Phil had to call his son Brandon to come help pull the gator out of the water and into their truck.

Once they had the gator out of the water and were able to properly measure it, they realized it was one of the biggest they’ve ever caught, at 12 feet and 9 inches.

“That’s the biggest we’ve ever got,” explained Baughman. “The largest we had up to that point was an 11 foot and 7 inch gator.”

If that wasn’t enough, Baughman says that two days later the group pulled in an 11-foot gator around the same area. If you’re hunting gator, that’s a pretty good week.

According to Baughman it’s been an unusual gator hunting season, with the majority of the larger gators taking up residence in the rivers around Lake Okeechobee and not the marsh land. He puts the blame on hurricane Irma for blowing away some of the gators cover in the marsh lands along with their food supply.

“We’ve seen plenty of food up in the river and canals and that along with the deeper water is why gators have migrated there,” said Baughman.

The Baughman’s plan to stuff and mount the gator in a half body mount, from the back of the front legs up to the head.



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