Rods and snatch hooks
We use a fishing rod to snag alligators on a regular basis. We find that a stiff rod that is easy to cast and retrieve works well. A good smooth drag helps, if you are not equipped to clamp down on him. For line we use 65 plus pound braided spiderwire or Power Pro. The heaviest braided hightech line that casts well is what I would use. These lines are extreamly durable. I have had them drag me through all kinds of stuff and have been amazed that the line does not just snap. The downside is that if you get snagged on something and you can not get the hook off breaking the line is tough.
We have used many different sizes of treble hooks. Large hooks are good at grabbing the gator, but they are hard to come by and are expensive when you find them. Once you go above 10/0 the price skyrockets. We use mostly 12/0 and 14/0 sizes.
Some people attached a length of cable and a swivel to the hooks to help avoid having the alligator hide rubbing on the line and possibly causing a break-off. What I found, over time, is that when the swivel touched the gator it would feel it. This caused them to move and I missed the hookup. My hookups went up when started tying the line directly to the hook. Another thind is that when the hook has a cable or leader attached to it, it is harder to control the cast. The cable and swivel does not even help that much. If a gator was to roll then the cable would not even make it one time around most gators and the line would be in direct contact. Also the swivel is only going to help if you are hooking them in the tip of the snout or the tip of the tail. In order to help with any abrasion issues we tie a bimini twist at the end of the line. This gives us a double line to the hook and can be realed up through the eyes on the rod. Google the knot and there are many examples on how to tie it.
In addition to using a big hook on a rod we will also have a 14/0 that we attach to a heavy rope. We hunt phosphate pits that are pretty deep. If we hook one on a rod and it goes down and sits on the bottom, we will lower the hook on the rope and snag into it and slowly pull it up. You are not trying to set the hook. Slowly pull the gator up maintaining constant pressure on all lines. Someone should be ready to harpoon the gator as soon as the gator gives you a chance. Avoid making loud noise or shouting “Oh my &% it’s a $#% monster”. As the gator comes to the surface it will many times remain calm trying to figure out what is going on giving you a couple seconds to harpoon it. But loud noises will spook the gator and you will lose out on a good shot at it. Once spooked they will make a run for it and will be much more difficult to get them to the side of the boat to be harpooned.
- 10/0 is good for lighter rods and keeping track of a gator
- 12/0 is good for throwing on a rod and putting some back into a gator to be more aggressive at pulling him in
- 14/0 is harder to throw on a rod but is good on a rope to really bring one boat side
- Anything bigger is not necessary. It is an expensive hook that could get snagged where you can not get it back from. There is more than gators in that there water. A buddy had three rods and a 14/0 on a submerged stump before he realized he did not have the next state record gator.