Date: 17 May 2012 Comments: 0
Sea Kayaker interviews the Gator Guy
Sea Kayaker magazine: Staff Interview with Thomas Swaider Jr…. The Gator Guy.
Adult language advisory on video.
Sidenote: We’ve never had an experience like this with a Gator. I am sure our own choice of words would compare.
Florida kayak fisherman Thomas Swiader Jr. had had a stressful day at work and thought doing little fishing in the evening would be soothing. As he was loading up his closed deck fishing kayak and getting ready to go his girlfriend asked him to take Buffy, her Yorkshire terrier along. There was a bit of a breeze on the lake so with Buffy in the stern Thomas paddled into the lee of a small island so he could fish without drifting. He fished for 10 or 15 minutes without a bite. He was hoping for a largemouth bass, but what he got was an even larger mouth with bigger teeth. The helmet cam that Thomas had recording the evenings fishing caught the sudden lunge of an alligator over the side of his kayak. The gator’s snout struck Thomas in the arm with a stinging blow but didn’t bite. The impact ut the kayk high up on edge, spilling Buffy into the water. Thomas backpaddled away from the gator after it slid off the bow of his kayak. He didn’t realize the dog had gone overboard until he felt the tug of its leash—he had tied it to his ankle for safety’s sake. It was the first time he’d taken Buffy aboard his kayak.
Thomas has been hunting and fishing from his kayak for abut ten years but is new to Florida. He knew that gators were common in the area but hadn’t seen any. Some lakes have signs posted warning about gators, others don’t. There was a school near the lake’s shore and Thomas thought it wasn’t likely that the school would be close to water where gators were frequent visitors. He’s not sure what made the gator strike, but suspects that it wasn’t drawn by Buffy. The movement of Thomas’ arm as he worked the fishing rod is what he thinks caught the gator’s attention.
He reported the encounter to Fish and Wildlife authorities. The local new reports noted that the it was not likely that the gator would be found in the network of lakes and waterways so no action was taken to capture it.
Thomas went home with a good story to tell and a video clip that had 30,000 hits in the 24hours prior to my phone conversation with him. The bass weren’t biting, but he’s glad the gators weren’t biting either. His Youtube channel is treetoptommy.