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Alligator season opened on Sept. 8 and Lake Marion is again proving to be a fertile hunting ground.

“Alligator Man” Jonathan Smith has been taking people hunting for some time and has caught several large alligators over the years.

“I take people out on hunts when they get there tag from DNR. I enjoy doing this at no charge. It seems I’m pretty good at it,” Smith said.

He proved it again on the season’s second day, joining Chris Felder of Santee in taking a 13-foot 600-pound gator in front of Ballard’s Point in Santee.

But this gator hunt was not typical. Here’s how Smith tells the story.

“I met Chris at Ballard’s Point on Sept. 9 to hang out on the sandbar and talk about where and when we planned to hunt for his alligator. As we sat in the water at the sandbar, this large alligator swam right beside us.

“I asked Chris if he had his alligator tag with him and he said ‘yes.’ We grabbed my hook and rope and headed after him. After getting the hook into him, he drug us for several hours across the lake.

“When the alligator finally got tired, he came up and took a large bite at the boat, missing my fiance Amanda Ziegler’s hand by only a few inches. This alligator rolled over several times at the boat and Amanda and Chris were then able to tie another line around his tail. The alligator was harvested and taken to the processor.”

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