John Merwin

It was pretty cold up here over the weekend, which naturally got me thinking about places I’ve fished where it was warm. Florida is one such, of course, where you can toss a plastic worm into some likely shoreline bass cover and come face to face with something like this gator.

Alligators are fairly common in most of Florida’s bass lakes. I photographed this specimen from a walkway in Everglades National Park. In other area lakes it’s actually very difficult to get close enough to a sunning gator for a half-decent photo. The big reptiles were fairly shy and swam off whenever we tried to get the boat up close.

But just seeing them while fishing is a little unnerving. Area marina operators have gator yarns, of course, that are tailor- made for tweaking us snowbirds. Like the one I was told about three local yokels in central Florida who got pretty well juiced at a party and decided to go night fishing for bass. As I heard it–true or not– their capsized boat was found a couple of days later. Of the three anglers, all that was ever found was part of one leg.

Something to think about, eh?