Lance Burgos of Baton Rouge, La., was enjoying a weekend camping trip to Louisiana's Lake Fausse Point State Park with his 11-year-old daughter Evan on Saturday when a jug line in a nearby canal caught their eye.
"She had been watching that yellow float swimming around, and she said, 'I want to know what's on the other end,'" the elder Burgos said. "I told her it was either a catfish or a garfish."
He promised to pull the line up just to take a peak when they headed out that afternoon, but what had swallowed the hook was more than they bargained for.
Roughly 12 to 14 feet more.
Burgos said he, Evan, buddy Todd Politz and Politz's daughter Samantha were on an annual father-daughter camping trip to the state park. The foursome were set up at Pack and Paddle Site No. 5, which is about a 2-mile paddle into the park, and the two girls were curious about the bobbing float.
"We loaded up the rods and reels to go fishing, and when we were paddling out I grabbed the float to pull it up," Burgos said.
Video was being captured as Burgos peddled his Hobie to the float, reaches out and picks it up.
"I think we've got a garfish," he can be heard saying as the creature on the other end of the line can be seen pulling hard.
He said he really believed it was a large gar when he felt the weight on the end of the line.
Behind Burgos, young Evan reached out to help.
"Be careful," the father coached, and Evan pulled her hand away.
And then what neither of the kayakers expected surfaced right next to the craft — a massive alligator, teeth bared.
"Oh, my god!" Burgos yelled as he simultaneously threw the float back in the water and began paddling like mad.
Poor Evan can be heard crying, as her father put as much distance as possible between them and the gator.
"That's a big-ass gator, baby," Lance Burgos exclaimed while paddling, the shock making the man's voice quaver.
Burgos told LouisianaSportsman.com the incident was terrifying.
"It was huge," he said. "The back of its head was about 3 feet long, and the snout was 1 to 1 1/2 feet across.
"The only time I've peddled that fast is at an IFA event, when I thought I had a winning stringer. I'm going to have nightmares about that gator forever."
Burgos, who has multiple top 10 IFA finishes, has taken a lot of grief online from folks who apparently think the gator drowned or that the angler was out just trying to kill a gator.
"We were just fishing," Burgos said. "We weren't out there looking for gators. That gator is not going to be harmed; it'll just move on after that hook dissolves in its stomach."
So did the scare ruin the father-daughter trip? Not hardly, Burgos said.
"That happened in the first five minutes of the (paddle), and we went on out to the main lake and spent two hours cruising around," the elder Burgos said.
He said the video has gone viral, and he's done a number of interviews including Inside Edition. But he was most excited telling his story to Louisiana Sportsman — even though it wasn't for what he hoped.
"I've always wanted to be in Louisiana Sportsman for catching a 10-pound gator trout, not for catching an actual gator," Burgos laughed.