At any moment, his rod could snap in half. His catch was enormous and he was using all of his strength to get it out of the water. Adrenaline pumped through his veins as he planted his feet apart and slowly began to reel it in.
But by the time he realized that the creature weighed enough to capsize the boat, it was too late. As it emerged from the water, they all began screaming.
There’s no better continent on which to enjoy the marvels of nature than Australia. Trent de With was fortunate to live in a beautiful part of the Northern Territory, in a town called Katherine.
He and his family ran a local tackle store, Rod & Rifle TackleWorld, and were all avid anglers. Trent loved nothing more than sailing out on the Victoria River and reeling in a catch. But he never expected this.
It just so happened that Trent had a few days off in October, just before the Halloween weekend. He thought it’d be the ideal time for a little mid-week getaway with his mates. And why not go fishing?
The Northern Territory’s borders had recently reopened to visitors, which meant the tourists would be flocking in soon. Too many people on the water would spell trouble.
He couldn’t wait for the mini escape. He’d never liked the Halloween period: It was such an effort to go to busy stores full of kids, buy tons of candy, and look all over for costume inspiration. Wasn’t it an American thing, anyway?
Trent would far rather relax on a boat, gently swaying to the rhythm of the tides, waiting patiently for a bite with an ice-cold beer in hand. What could go wrong?
On the day of their outing, the weather was perfect and the waters of the Victoria River equally so. Trent and his mates went out about three hours west of Katherine to Timber Creek, a well-known fishing spot – their favorite one.
Soon they were motoring along with their classic 200, enjoying the tranquility and wondering what they’d catch. Trent was hoping to bag a few large barramundis… not fight off a fearsome beast.
It was a great day out – except for the fact that the fish weren’t biting… which was very strange. Trent had a few false alarms and got excited about nothing, which amused his mates to no end.
They teased “Australia’s number-one angler,” who had been “fishing since his childhood” yet couldn’t even bait “a few little fishies”. Little did they know, something was about to wipe the smiles off all their faces.
Suddenly, out of the blue, Trent felt the telltale jerk on his rod. He leaped up, winding the winch furiously. With his prized rod bending until it almost touched the water, his catch tried to swim deeper into the depths.
Pulling with all his might, he thought he’d just caught the biggest fish of his life. Only, this was no fish.
Trent’s arms were taking strain, and he was starting to breathe heavily. He didn’t know what was caught on the hook, but he was determined to bring it in. And he wasn’t about to lose his gear.
Like a tug of war, it was Trent against whatever was in the murky water. It was still too deep under for him to see what exactly was putting up this fight. What creature had such power to bend his rod almost in two?
Adrenaline raced through Trent’s body as he planted his feet apart to get better leverage and hooked the rod up to the boat. Then, with his forearms burning under the weight of the beast, he slowly began to reel it in… closer and closer toward the boat.
Suddenly, the boat began to tilt with a sickening groan, and the thrashing creature finally began to emerge. And that’s when Trent realized that he’d made a huge mistake.
A dark shape appeared just below the surface of the water, and Trent’s jaw came unhinged. Realizing that the horrific four-foot-long silhouette was no fish, he scrabbled to free the rod.
The boat rocked and scooped water with every thrash from the monster on the other end of the line. It refused to let go of the lure.
“Cut the line!” one of his friends screamed as they watched the boat fill with water. But Trent stubbornly refused.
He wasn’t about to lose his prized lure and was ready to fight for it. Referring to his lure, he joked nervously: “Anyone wants to get that back for me?” But no one was smiling.
Trent almost lost his footing as the beast’s leathery skin broke the surface of the water. Then, suddenly, it breached. Finally getting a good look at what was on the end of the line, everyone stood aghast.
Leaping out of the water, still clasping the lure in its razor-toothed mouth, was a giant saltwater crocodile. How was he going to handle this?
The terrifying crocodile breached once more — still refusing to let go of the lure. Trent continued pulling at the rod and trying to get the upper hand.
As the monster drew nearer to the boat, it tipped again, tilting Trent dangerously close to its snapping jaws. That’s when he came to a frightening realization: It was trying to roll the boat.
With fear pulsing through his body, Trent held fast. His arms and shoulders burned and his heart raced. Just when he thought he could no longer stand the strain on his muscles, he braced himself for one more almighty pull.
Suddenly, the line went slack, catapulting the boat back into an upright position. The lure had broken free!
Watching the enormous creature retreat into the depths, everyone let out sighs of relief. With pats on the back for Trent, everyone had a look at the damaged lure. Trent was aware that anglers sometimes accidentally hooked crocs, but this one had seemed to want to eat the lure!
Luckily Trent’s rod and reel were of good quality – it had made all the difference. Even when hooking a big barramundi, you wouldn’t want your gear to fail.
Trent posted a video of his Battle Royale on the Rod & Rifle TackleWorld Katherine Facebook page, and it received thousands of views in a matter of days.
He explained that it’s more common than one would think for Aussies to hook a crocodile instead of a fish. He just hadn’t expected it to happen to him!
Needless to say, many people had been impressed with Trent’s croc fighting skills. He admitted that he’d gone up against many a large fish in the past, but this one topped them all by far.
Facing off with an aggressive crocodile that’s ready to fight for its life is extremely dangerous. So it’s no surprise that the video quickly went viral.
“Here we were just trolling along with a classic 200 and this fella decides he wants to have a crack at it. Managed to get the lure back! Although it doesn’t track as straight as it used to,” Trent captioned the popular video.
Those who viewed the video were especially impressed with his tools, noting how strong they appeared to be while he was fighting the crocodile.
“How awesome,” one user wrote. “Can I ask what the setup was please as in rod reel line and leader?
If that combo can pull a salty that size, it can pull anything!” Another user commented on Trent’s refusal to let his lure go: “That’s insane! I would have been quite content giving up some line and a lure if I saw this thing in my hook.”
The clip has so far been viewed over a million times with almost 4,000 comments. It garnered a lot of attention from a lot of different people.
Facebook user Gavin Nichols highlighted the dangers of such a stunt, “Is everyone just going to ignore the fact that that crocodile could have rolled them out of the boat and eaten the dude?” Then, the video made its way onto YouTube.
“This guy is nuts,” one YouTube user wrote. “I would have thrown my pole in the lake and ran as soon as it surfaced.”
And, for any reasonable person, that would have been the most common reaction among most people if they found the formidable predator on the end of their rod! Here’s why…
The saltwater crocodile is the largest living reptile and crocodilian known to science. A male saltwater crocodile can grow to a length of up to 20 feet and is an opportunistic apex predator. It ambushes most of its prey and then drowns or swallows it whole.
It is capable of overpowering almost any animal that enters its territory, including other apex predators such as sharks… and even humans.
Because of its tendency to swim long distances at sea, individual saltwater crocodiles occasionally appeared in areas far away from their general range. Saltwater crocodiles generally spend the tropical wet season in freshwater swamps and rivers, moving downstream to estuaries in the dry season.
Crocodiles compete fiercely with each other for territory, with dominant males, in particular, occupying the most eligible stretches of freshwater creeks and streams.
Saltwater crocodiles are regarded as dangerous for people who share the same environment. Attacks by saltwater crocodiles often occur in Southeast Asia, Australia, New Guinea, and the Solomon Islands.
Reviews indicate that at least half of all attacks by saltwater crocodiles are fatal. So, Trent coming so close to reeling one in one is no joke! Here’s the story of Eugene Crowley, another man who had a mysterious encounter after making a life-changing catch.
His little boat shook and moved left and right when he dropped that humongous animal on the wooden deck. That was undoubtedly the biggest piece of fish he had ever caught in his lifetime.
He admired it for a minute. It had been a struggle, and he had even been close to risking his life. But when he looked inside the fish’s mouth, he was struck with awe and horror. Now he understood it all.
The protagonist in this story is a man named Eugene Cronley, an aficionado fisherman from Brandon, Mississippi. He had been catfishing for years. Fishing was always a hobby of his, but after retiring, he devoted himself to one specific type of catch.
He enjoyed fishing pieces that he could cook and sell to restaurants or fishmongers around the area. But there was something about catching a catfish that made the challenge a lot more stimulating.
Catfish are not particularly valued for their taste. Their meat can cost around 3 dollars per pound, but that’s only when they are young and small.
As they grow, their flesh gets fatty, loses its good flavor, and it can absorb many harmful and toxic chemicals from the waters where they live. However, there’s something about big, old catfish that makes them a very sought-after piece by many recreational fishermen.
They’re considered one of the most difficult pieces to catch. They’re fierce, they’re big, they’re heavy, and they can become very aggressive and dangerous if they feel threatened.
For this reason, many sports fishermen dream of being able to catch the biggest, heaviest and meanest catfish around. It’s a challenge to them and a chance to show themselves what they’re capable of. But sometimes, things can get ugly.
Catfish have spines and stingers on fins on top of and on the underside of their bodies; and sometimes, these can be charged with poison.
It’s not unusual for fishermen to get stung by these; the venom can cause a very annoying rash, infections, and lasting damage to the skin. And that’s not all: it gets worse.
Sometimes, trying to compete and overcome the fierceness of this mean beast that roams around the depths of our lakes can be dangerous.
If the catfish is too strong, heavy, or big, it can drag down into the water, whoever is trying to take it out. Some come out badly injured from their attempt of taming and catching one of these. Some have even died.
Catfishing can be especially dangerous if one goes alone; the risk of getting dragged down and even drowning is even higher if you have no one to help you in case the catch is too big.
Eugene Cronley was a reserved man who liked to pursue his hobby in solitude. But that day, he would regret not having brought someone else with him.
He had never had any problem or difficult time catfishing until then. He knew the waters of the Mississippi like the palm of his hand. And even though one can find wild turtles and alligators there, he wasn’t scared.
But when he faced the titanic catfish that would become the catch of his life, it made him think that maybe he had made a mistake. He should never have ventured into those waters alone.
It took a while before the beast that would test Eugene’s ability as a fisherman came around. He had already spent two hours sitting in his boat, calmly roaming around the Mississippi.
He had caught a trout. That was nice, but it wasn’t what he was looking for. However, sometimes you must be careful what you wish for.
After a couple of hours, he felt it: some big fish had bit the bait. Eugene’s boat shook left and right. By the look of things, it was a heavy and strong one.
Eugene pulled his rod, tensing all his muscles and using all his strength to get that beast out of the water. It took him almost one hour; but eventually, he managed to bring that humongous animal out of the water and drop it on his boat. That’s when he noticed something.
The catfish had something inside its mouth, aside from Eugene’s hook. He couldn’t tell clearly what it was. The fish was still alive and kept its mouth half-closed.
Eugene grabbed its head and carefully tried to open the catfish’s mouth fully, trying not to get bit. And what he saw left him bewildered to no end.
The catfish had an alligator foot inside its mouth, with the claws and everything! It looked like it had been ripped off recently; the wound was still fresh.
Maybe he had found it somewhere deep in the river. But Eugene thought of the chance that it might have even bitten off an alligator’s foot by itself. Could that even be possible?
It didn’t seem very likely, but who knows? The catfish was bigger and stronger than anything Eugene had ever seen before. It had almost dragged him down into the water.
It looked more like a monster than like something you would expect to find in a river. And when he informed the local authorities about the freak of nature he had just caught, he was in for another surprise.
Its weight was 131 pounds, which is almost 60 kilograms; its size was 16.6 inches long and 41 inches of girth, or 1.4 and 1.04 meters. That made the world record for the biggest catfish ever seen!
That made Eugene feel elated. It was the greatest accomplishment as a fisherman that he could have ever dreamed of. However, it didn’t come easy.
“We had to untie the boat and float down the river,” Cronley told the media. “I couldn’t move him. I’d pull on him and take in a foot of line and he’d pull and take 10 ft. I just sat there like I was hung up.”
“It is truly a fish of a lifetime,” he said, adding, “He is a monster.” He truly has reasons to feel proud of his catch. But was the catfish big and strong enough to really rip off an alligator’s foot?
In order to protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events or places or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.