Monster gator nabbed in Myakka River

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VENICE-- One week ago today, alligator hunting season got underway here in Florida. Already, two Suncoast men have likely bagged one of the largest gators we will hear about this year.

On Monday night, Shawn Koss and Hank Duyn managed to catch a 12ft 6 inch alligator just south of the Snook Haven Restaurant on the Myakka River. Both men are from Venice.

"When it came up out of the water, we noticed the back was significantly longer than anything we have ever seen before. We knew we had a big one."

After an hour fight, the gator boys finally managed to get the gator on board the 14ft boat they were riding in.

"Pulling him in the boat was a little bit difficult. We about sunk the boat," said Koss.

The alligator was taken to Bad to the Bone Taxidermy in East Venice where it is being prepared for its next move. Sometime soon, it will be hanging on the wall at the Snook Haven Restaurant.

"It surprised me how big it was and I have seen a lot of big gators," said Eddie Vitale, who runs the taxidermy store. "By far, this is the biggest gator from this area."

The gator will be donated to Snook Haven sometime within the next six months. According to Everglades National Park, the largest alligator recorded in Florida was 17ft 5inches.