STANTON, Mich. — A West Michigan man has a fishing story to beat all others after he reeled in an American alligator with his fishing pole on Sunday.
Andy Bills, who works for the Stanton Department of Public Works, was working a Sunday shift this past weekend as he made his way around some sewage ponds in the southern region of the city.
“And I was looking at a big turtle that was walking into the pond," Bills explained.
"Right after the turtle did, the alligator walked from the weeds and slid into the pond.”
Bills is certainly used to seeing turtles and other small critters in the area, but never did he dream that he would see an alligator casually strolling about.
“It took me a good minute or so to gather my thoughts and try to figure out if I really just saw what I thought I saw,” Bills said.
“Once I saw that he was there, there was no way I was gonna let somebody else catch it. I wanted to be the person that got to catch it."
After calling his boss and coworkers, he headed home for a moment, but the allure of catching a gator in West Michigan was simply too much.
“I went back with my fishing rod, and after a few casts he finally bit the lure," Bills explained.
“And I got the chance to fight an alligator on a fishing pole.”
Once in a fishing net, the gator briefly attempted an escape.
“It got out at one point, out of the net, and it kind of charged us a couple times with its mouth open,” Bills said.
But alas, he was finally put into a cooler and then shortly later, he was placed into a small metal cage.
A DNR officer brought the American alligator to Wilderness Trails Zoo near Birch Run.
According to the National Wildlife Federation, American Alligators can grow to be up to 12 feet long and weigh up to 1,000 pounds.
“You know, I'm outdoors all the time doing something, and most of my friends are too. So it was one of those phone calls I love to make," Bills said.
"Every time I call them, I tell them I'm doing something right now that you've never done… I have an alligator in the back of my truck and I'm still in Michigan.”