Florida Trapper Catches Monster, 14-Foot Alligator in a Residential Lake

When part-time trapper Lane Stephens (pictured left) responded to a nuisance alligator call on the residential shores of Lake Talquin, Florida, he was told the problematic reptile was more than 10 feet in length. Turns out, the gator was a lot more than "10 feet in length." Here's the story of how Lane caught this 14-foot of swamp dragon, one of the biggest alligators ever caught in the Sunshine State.
Lane is a full-time lobbyist who works closely with such pro-hunting organizations as the Congressional Sportsmen's Foundation (CSF) and Allied Sportsmen's Associations of Florida. Despite the hectic schedule caused by his career, Lane still finds time to hunt, fish and to trap nuisance alligators for the state of Florida. Lane estimates he's caught more than 100 alligators during his three years helping out the state. While most average about 7 feet, Lane says he's caught several super-sized gators. "I caught a 12-foot 2-inch [gator] a couple years ago and in April of this year I caught an 11 footer that was just enormous. He weighed an estimated 700 pounds."
The story of Lane's monster catch started weeks ago when a woman who lived on Lake Talquin reported a large gator that was well over 10 feet long. The gator kept showing up on the banks of her property. Lane investigated and set a double hook baited with pig lungs high above the water near the shore. He returned to find a 4 ½-foot alligator on the line. "I still don't know how that little gator swallowed that huge double hook set up."
Lane utilized a baited hook attached to a buoy for his next attempt. After only an hour and a half on the water he had an 11-foot 2-inch long gator in his boat. The woman who originally reported the nuisance animal looked at Lane's catch and said, "That's not the big one."
Lane returned to try again. This time he caught an 11-foot, 8-inch gator on his float line after only five minutes. The lady responded, "That's not the big one." "At this point I was thinking, well, ok, guess I'll try again."
"The next day I was at another complainant's house less than a quarter of a mile away from the original property and I caught an 11-foot 4-inch gator after about 20 minutes," Lane said. "I took this gator by the first lady's house and she looked at him and said, 'That's still not the big one.' " For those of you keeping track, Lane had caught almost 40 feet of alligators at this point.
Lane was pulling in a near 9-foot gator (obviously not "the big one") when two men told him there was an alligator bigger than their boat just around the bend. Remembering that the lady said "the big one" was headed that direction the last time she saw it, Lane knew that had to be his quarry.
A week of steady rain kept Lane from returning right away but when he did, he spotted an alligator cruising the cove after only an hour and a half of watching the water. He floated his bait and backed off to watch with binoculars. A short time after, the lady boated by and pointed to the water. Lane saw her mouth "That's the big one" through his binoculars.
An hour and a half later the gator took the bait and headed into some lily pads. Lane fought the alligator for almost an hour as it spun through the pads, winding and twisting the rope around itself. "I got the thing off the bottom and its tail thrashed against the boat over and over…I was soaking wet…Looking at this thing I knew it was the one the lady wanted out of there."
Lane hit the alligator twice with a bang stick. "The first time stunned him. I hit him again while he was stunned at that was it."
After a two-hour fight, Lane had "the big one" the lady had originally complained about weeks earlier. As Lane tied the monster to the side of the boat for the drive back to the dock, he couldn't help but notice that it was almost as long as his 14 ½-foot boat.
Lane's gator measured 14 feet long and was estimated to weigh more than 800 pounds. If Lane had gotten the gator measured by a biologist, it would have been near the top of the record books. "I didn't have it measured because I didn't know nuisance gators qualified for the record books. I know now." Lane kept the gator's head as a trophy and he is glad that he did. A state biologist measured it at 23 ¾ inches in length making it the largest ever-recorded in Florida. The width behind the nostrils was 10 3/8 inches. He sold the meat and hide.

Lane Stephens, a trapper for the state of Florida, caught this 14-foot alligator from a residential lake. It’s one of the biggest gators to ever be caught in the state.