• Man captures 13 foot gator in St. Johns County

    By: Erica Bennett


    ST. JOHNS COUNTY, Fla. - 13 foot, 4 inches. 765 pounds. All caught on camera.

    "He got close enough to where I guess he couldn't withstand the bait. Finally, it was just his night," Keith Kelley said.

    For the past several months, Keith Kelley and Kelly Sziy have been scouting that particular gator -- who they nicknamed "Lumpy." They caught him off guard shortly after sunrise in only 4 to 5 feet of St. Johns River water. Even more surprising -- the pair had just a rope, a few hooks and their strength.

    "Put some leather gloves on and I told Kelly: we're going to have to get him by hand and that's all it is to it. Hang on," Kelly continued.

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    Four hours later, "Lumpy" was brought in and weighed. He was so heavy, he broke the scale. Specialists at the Alligator Farm say they don't see those kinds of catches very often.

    "Usually when people say they've seen a large alligator, it's usually around 11 feet or so. So, 13 feet, close to 13 1/2 feet is definitely rare," Jim Barlington, curator of reptiles, said.

    Ultimately, "Lumpy" was killed and used for processed meat. His head will be mounted on Kelley's wall. He says he's already looking ahead to the next big catch.

    "I don't know if there's another one out there, but we'll definitely be looking."

    Florida Fish and Wildlife is crunching the numbers right now, trying to figure out if this is the largest gator in the state to be killed by hand.

    Alligator hunting season runs through November.

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