Austin Casey, Tony Klingler, Nick Thompson, Brandon Snyder and Ed Williams show off the 12-foot, 600-pound alligator they caught Friday night in Eagle Lake. Alligator season in Mississippi opened Friday and continues until Sept. 5.
First big catch of alligator season is 600-pounder
in Eagle Lake north of Vicksburg, Mississippi
Not long after they hit the water on the first day of alligator season Friday, Austin Casey and his team spotted a 10 ½-footer lurking in Eagle Lake.
They kept an eye on it, ready to send a fishing line in its direction, but soon found a bigger and better prize.
Casey and four of his hunting buddies — Tony Klingler, Nick Thompson, Brandon Snyder and Ed Williams — hauled in a 12-foot, 600-pound gator early Friday evening near Buck Chute.
It took the group about 90 minutes to catch, kill and drag the beast back to shore.
“We saw a 10 1/2-foot gator and were sitting on him. Then Nick Thompson spotted this one coming out of his den,” Casey said. “Nick hooked him in the tail. We got another hook in him, and then got the last one in. We killed him with a knife. He bit the side of the boat about three times, but he didn’t puncture the boat. He attempted to.”
It was the first big catch of the 2016 alligator season in Warren County, but far from a record. Kennie Crechale of Morton caught a 14-foot-1/2 inch, 826-pound gator last season.
Heck, this wasn’t even the biggest one Casey and his team — who call themselves “The Channel Chasers” — have ever caught. They pulled in a gator measuring 12 feet, 9 inches and 680 pounds in 2015.
The Channel Chasers have been together for three years.
“We have had multiple 12-footers. We’ve killed a bunch of big gators,” Casey said. “As soon as gator season is over, we’re counting the days until the next one.”
The Channel Chasers were heading back on the water Saturday night with one less tag to fill. Mississippi hunting regulations limit each tag holder to two alligators per season — one over 7 feet long and another under 7 feet. Both gators must be at least 4 feet long.
Thompson, who hails from Cleveland, won the group’s tag for the West Central Zone in a statewide lottery earlier this summer. They also have a tag for the Pearl River/Ross Barnett Reservoir Zone, and one for private lands that’s good in most parts of the state. Alligator season opened Friday at noon and continues until noon on Sept. 5.
Klingler is from Bolton, Williams from Madison, and Snyder from Jackson.
Casey said they all enjoy other forms of hunting, but alligator hunting provides a special kind of thrill.
“Deer hunting is fun, but it’s low key. You see a big gator and go after it, and the fight is on,” he said. “There’s nothing that fights on a fishing pole like an alligator does.”
~The Vicksburg Post