Kyle Walley of Columbia is an avid bass angler who goes fishing every chance he gets. On May 23, Walley’s wife, Aleshia, son Logan and father, Stuart Walley, joined him on Lake Bill Waller near his hometown.
“When we come out here to fish, we definitely don’t come out here for big fish; we come out here to take some home for supper,” Walley said. “This lake has too many small bass, and we’ve been trying to get the population in balance the past couple years, so catching a lunker bass was not on the agenda. But that’s just what happened.”
Just before calling it a day, Walley made one last cast, and his lure was smashed by a monster bass. After an epic battle between him, the bass and a hungry alligator, he got the fish in the boat. It weighed 10.1-pounds, was 25¾ inches long and was the trophy of a lifetime.
“There’s one color worm the bass really like in these parts, and that’s gooseberry, and we were down to one pack,” Walley said. “We made one trip around the lake and caught 14 fish, and the last one slung off our last Gooseberry worm, so we decided to head back to the ramp.”
A visitor to the boat
Before they could get to the ramp, an alligator swam towards the boat. Alecia Walley wanted to take some photos before they left.
“We trolled up toward the alligator. He was swimming near the lily pads, and my wife was taking pictures, so I picked up my frog rod and cast my KVD Poppin Perch frog past the alligator and was bringing it back out,” Walley said. “I popped that frog twice, and there was such a massive explosion that I thought the gator ate it, but then I saw the gator swimming the other direction, so I set the hook, and it was like setting the hook into a truck!”
The bass was huge; it jumped in front of the alligator, and when the gator realized it was a fish jumping, it turned around and came back toward her.
“When the alligator came up to the fish, I gave the fish some slack, and she went back down and wrapped the line around a log,” Walley said. “We ran up there to get the fish off of the log, and every time she boiled near the surface, the gator slashed and bit at the bass. The gator kept biting at the bass so now the gator was trying to catch the fish, and we were trying to catch her before the gator got her.”
A fight for the fish
Walley finally got the fish off of the log and started trolling away from the pads into open water. But every time the bass got close to the boat and wallowed and thrashed on the surface, the gator tried to grab it.
“The gator finally got between the fish and boat, and it kept biting at the fish every time he got near the boat,” Walley said. “We realized we didn’t have a net, so that made it harder trying to land a monster bass … and with an alligator trying to eat the fish. I let the bass go down and then was trying to maneuver her around the boat while my wife started swatting at the gator with a rod to make him leave, but he didn’t. I finally worked the bass around the boat behind the motor so we could get to her, and Dad was able to grab the bass and bring her in.”
I’ve been fishing the lake for 30 years, so I told Dad that this fish was 30 years in the making, and I almost lost her to an alligator,” Walley said. “I couldn’t just come out here and catch a 10-pound bass; I had to do it in spectacular fashion.”