The New Stuff

Man Catches 800 Pound Alligator On A Fishing Pole

WEST PALM BEACH, Florida ~ (NBC Chicago/ WPTV) ~ A Florida man using a fishing pole managed to reel in the biggest story at the bait shop: he caught a 12-foot, 800-pound alligator.

19-year-old Tim Stroh was out fishing with Mom, Dad and a friend on the St. Lucie River, pursuing a rumor that a giant alligator hung out around the locks. Within an hour they had spotted it. "I thought it was just a 9-footer," Tim Stroh told, "then I saw how big it was." The 12-foot 3-inch gator took the bait and as Stroh fought to reel it in, on what he called a "puny bass rod", he realized it's immense size; the tail alone was as big as his waist.

Once the beast was pulled up to the gunwale, Stroh hit the beast with a "bang stick", a wand that will fire a .44-caliber bullet from the end when pressed against an object. "I had adrenaline pumping through me and I was just like 'oh my God'," he said, "the alligator came up and was popping his jaw and stuff." Once they got the brute on land, four additional friends helped carry the alligator, which was missing one of its back legs, into the family truck.

Stroh's parents own the Southern Life Taxidermy and Guide Service on Hobe Sound, and have plans for the monster. "We have a big box cooler we normally would put a gator into, but he wouldn't fit. We had to keep him in the truck overnight and throw in ice to keep him cool," father Steve Stroh said. He also said he was going to mount the head for Tim so he can put it in his room, and mother Rachel Stroh plans to make a lamp from the remaining rear leg. The family also wants to make keychains out of the alligator's bony back, and they now have about 250 pounds of alligator meat stored in their freezers.

Photo credit: Melissa Messina/

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