565-pound Lakeland alligator caught by two friends, Harris Woodsby & Mathew Fellows

Men capture reptile after years of hunting

LAKELAND, Fla. - A team of gator hunters tracked down a mammoth reptile they'd been after for years.

The pair had eyed the 12-foot 6-inch, 565-pound beast once before and were determined not to let it slip away again.

It's the biggest catch for long-time friends Harris Woodsby and Mathew Fellows, who've hunted and captured alligators together for more than four years. 

They've endured long nights and lots of mosquito bites for their dangerous passion of gator hunting.

It all started one night on the muggy Kissimmee River.

Every now and then the gator would come up and thrash around.  The friends said they would be holding onto the gaff ,and it would almost break their wrists when it started spinning.

Once they found the gator, it was a two-and-a-half-hour struggle for the pair as the nearly 600-pound reptile thrashed around the boat.

With three shots to the skull, they were able subdue him, but their next obstacle was getting it back to land.

With 6 miles ahead of them, and a prize two times the weight of them and the boat combined, they feared they would capsize.

With the help of a good friend, the two outdoorsmen were able to safely get the animal back to shore.

Harris already owns a wholesale seafood company in Orlando and is getting ready to open Jimmy Belles, a seafood market named after his kids in Lakeland. 

He plans to display their gigantic prize front and center for all of his customers to see.

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