Alligators and paddle fishing craft

Seems since the recent deaths in Florida attibuted to either alligators doing the killing or taking advantage of human carrion, almost everywhere you look on the net, forums discussing paddle craft are discussing alligators and paddling. For the past year, I’ve fished primarily in a lake that has numerous alligators, counted 8 in a 3 acre area one morning, all laying about on hydrilla mats sunning themselve. I’ve had them splash and roll in the water 10-20 feet from me, come up on them when I’ve paddled near banks, and almost hit one in the head with my kayak. But, at no time, did any exhibit any interest in me other than getting away.

Basically, I practice avoidance, don’t feed them, and give them as wide of berth as possible. But, I enjoy watching gators. So, I guess that I have respect for gators, but don’t fear them. I’m wondering if any of you fish and paddle around gators and what your experiences have been. I am certain that Yak-a-Lou may know a few personally.

Let’s see…
If they’re 5’ or less we treat em like lil green speed bumps. Well… not litterally cuz they won’t let us actually run over them but we do sometimes see how close we can approach them before they make a break for it.

Larger ones get more respect. The larger they are, the wider the berth we give them.

Of the thousands of gators I’ve encountered not one acted aggressively except the ones I’ve caught or killed. They do get a tad irate when you fool with them. They’re very hard to kill unless you know what you’re doing. I’ve heard that an 8’ gator has a brain about as large as a walnut.

I had one (appx. 5’) last year that kept following my cork while I was fishing. Eventually he got close enough to me that I introduced his tender nose to the edge of my paddle blade while the blade was travelling at a notable velocity. The next day when I fished the same spot Mr. Gator opted to ignore my cork and stayed on the bank while I fished. Reptiles aren’t smart but I guess they can be taought. Anywho, while he snoozed I approached to within 10’ for a few pics. No big deal.

Here in Loozyanna we have a huge gator population yet we’ve only had two unprovoked attacks in the past thirty years. Of course, our human population is much smaller than Florida’s.

Jer is right… DON’T FEED THEM. It doesn’t take long for them to begin associating humans with food. That’s a recipe for disaster. Like he said… give em respect and a wide berth.

Insects kill a LOT more people every year than reptiles. In my experience, humans are much less predictable and more dangerous than any critter.

good post
I really like the bit about insects killing more people than gators and snakes. It’s all about relative risk.

Some relatives are more risky than other
in my experience…lets see, trade you a brother and sister for… :).