ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. - An Orange County man is celebrating a historic catch: the second-heaviest gator on record. The 13-foot, 3 ¼ inch behemoth weighed in at 920 pounds.
Kevin Brotz led the hunt. He says reeling the gator in was scary.
"I mean, I can wholeheartedly say that and still keep my man card," said Brotz. "It was absolutely insane."
Brotz has a ton of experience. He’s been leading guided gator hunting tours for about 20 years, and he runs FloridaGatorHunting.com.
He says after they got several hooks in the gator, it took four hours to reel the behemoth in.
"You got three guys on the side of a jumbo in a 1,000-pound gator weighing you down. There's like this much boat above the water," he said, pressing his fingers together.
Source: Captain Kevin Brotz and Aaron Love
He says a biologist told him the gator was between 60 and 90 years old.
"So to survive that long, it's very clever. Right? He survived a lot of hunting seasons, a lot of natural, tough times," said Brotz. "Seeing this guy come up next to me, really put in perspective to where I realized like we are an absolute dot compared to what this beast is."
Florida Fish and Wildlife says the heaviest gator ever caught in the state weighed in at 1043 pounds. Brotz says the FWC gave him a call, hoping to confirm he’d just caught the second-heaviest on record.
Brotz says the entire experience was humbling.
"I mean, I've grown up in Florida, never been afraid of gators, you know, swam in the same waters that we hunt. And every year I get a little more leery because I see things that I'm like, all right, we shouldn't be so brave in the water."