LAKE WALES, Fla. (WFLA) – An 8-year-old Lake Wales boy has accomplished what many hunters dream of. Little Grayson Chandley caught a whopper of a gator that measured 11-feet, 3-inches long. It was the first time he caught an alligator.
Grayson caught the massive gator on Lake Kissimmee during the family’s last hunt of the season in late October.
“I wanted to get it and I got it,” Grayson told WFLA.com about his huge catch.
Grayson comes from a family of gator hunters who have strong ties to the area.
Grayson’s father Kevin was born and raised on Lake Kissimmee, where he operates the Grape Hammock Fish Camp with his wife Lacey and his brother Barrett and sister-in-law Lori.
They are the third generation of their family to operate the camp, so they know Lake Kissimmee well.
Kevin also runs Chandley Guide Service which takes people on alligator hunts. Grayson’s mom Lacey says her sons have been going on gator hunting trips with their father since about the age of 5.
She’s very proud of Grayson’s accomplishment, he caught the gator without any help from his dad, who was piloting the boat. His brother, dad and a family friend helped pull the gator in.
“I don’t know if we’ll get one that can top this,” she said.
Lacey didn’t go on the trip. She said her husband called her with the news. “You won’t believe this,” he told her.
After they arrived home, Lacey took photos of Grayson and his big gator.
Grayson is a third-grader at Hillcrest Elementary School. Of course, he told his friends about his big catch. “I killed a big one,” he told them. To which they replied, “That’s awesome.”
Grayson said his next goal is to catch a 12-footer.
Grayson wasn’t the only member of the family to bring a gator home from the trip. His older brother Gage, 11, caught a gator that was 8-feet, 3-inches long.
Mom Lacey said she will probably go along for the ride during hunting season next year.
She is a gator hunter herself, having caught 10 and 11-foot-long gators in the years before she had her sons.