WATCH: South Carolina Fisherman Surprised by Alligator After Thinking He Caught a Sting Ray

by Jon D. B.

“Oh boy, that’s not a stingray! Surprise!” Captain Robert Birchmeier calmly exclaims as he pulls an 8-foot alligator up from the depths.

When fishing the coastal waters of Murrells Inlet in South Carolina, an angler needs to be prepared for the occasional beast. By veteran boat captain Birchmeier’s laid-back disposition, we’d assume he’s definitely one with this truth.

While fishing for flounder amidst the inlet, Birchmeier “assumed” he “had a stingray.”

“They are pretty common in this area and the ‘fish’ behaved just like one,” he tells USA Today‘s For The Win Outdoors of his recent catch. “I slowly was able to get it off the bottom and come up to the surface, and as you see in the video was totally surprised.”

Indeed, the entire encounter is available below courtesy of the captain, and it’s a doozy of a watch.

“Oh boy, that’s not a stingray,” he narrates calmly as the scaly hide of an ancient reptile comes to the surface. “Surprise, surprise!”

Instead, Birchmeier had a “7 or 8-foot alligator” on the line. After thrashing about, the beast reveals where it had been hooked: it’s left back leg.

Watch as SC Captain Hooks an Alligator

Known to locals as Capt. Birch of Pawleys Island Beach to Creek Guide Service, Robert is a frequent fisher (understatement) of the salt marsh area. As his recording rolls, he’s fishing from a kayak near the Atlantic Ocean. He says the water clarity on the day was “very poor” at a paltry “12 inches of visibility.”

This, of course, makes it much harder to identify your catch until it surfaces. Regardless, Birchmeier was not expecting an alligator to surface.

“The gators do go into the saltwater at times, but, really, in this location, I may see a small one every other year,” Birchmeier continues to For The Win Outdoors.

And don’t worry, proper anglers, Capt. Birch says his jig hook straightened out for “a clean release and happy gator” once all was said and done.

Watch for the startling encounter below, but replay for Birchmeier’s fabulously laid-back narration.

“Think I got me a stingray!” he begins in a soothing tone. “Let’s see if I can get him up…”

Once the alligator surfaces, however, all bets are off, and Capt. Birch’s slow cadence picks up to a fantastic “Oh boy, that’s not a stingray! Surprise, surprise!” he laughs as the monster reptile fights back.

“Anybody wanna help get my jig back?” he caps the encounter. Classic. And needless to say, far more chill than the last angler-alligator encounter we covered on Outsider.

Credit: Robert Birchmeier via Storyful