Even though Brad Williams of New Albany and his father, Mike, who lives between Aberdeen and Becker, had a great time a decade ago harvesting a 120-pound 7-foot-6 alligator, a male 300-pound 10-foot-2 catch on Ross Barnett Reservoir Sept. 3 was a memory to last for the rest of their lives.
“This is a 300-pound, basically a dinosaur and trying to get him up to the boat – it’s so much fun. The thing I can remember is I got to experience this with my dad more than anything. It’s a memory we’ll have for the rest of our lives, and that’s what makes it so great. It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity not a lot of people in Mississippi can say they’ve done. Everybody in Mississippi has dove hunted or deer hunted, but not everybody can have the opportunity to go alligator hunting,” Brad said.
He and his father went alligator hunting for the first time in 2011.
“For a father to see a son, especially a grown son, to have that much fun – at the time, he was a police officer so he had a stressful job. To see that, it meant more than the gator, more than anything,” Mike said of the 2001 hunt.
He has tried for the past 10 years to get another gator tag and was chosen through the lottery this year.
Mike has a friend, Tim Taylor, who guides people on the reservoir, and they went with him.
“Mississippi alligator hunting isn’t like ‘Swamp People.’ You can’t put a piece of chicken on a hook and go get them like that. You’ve got to take real big heavy tackle and really big treble hooks and cast over them and hook them and reel them into the boat,” Brad said.
They passed over a couple of smaller gators in the swampy areas to go for a bigger catch.
“You shine with a spotlight and look for red eyes, and we saw this one. It was probably around 8 o’clock at night. I was able to hook him, and he drove straight down to the bottom of the reservoir and about pulled me off the boat. My rod tips were bent over about to where they were going to break,” Brad said.
Mike added he’s 63, and alligator hunting is more of a younger person’s sport.
He said the gator went under a log and under the boat before other people on their boat got a hook in him. They fought the gator for an hour, and Brad and another person had to pull on the gator at the same time to get his head above water to put the metal wire around his neck before they could tag him.
“The first thing you could see when they got him out of the water was the gator’s tail unfolding like a tentacle from an octopus. To me, I thought, ‘We got Godzilla,’” Mike said. “That made it all worth it. The price of the tags, the price of the gas. Memories like that are priceless.”