My group used a fishing pole to snag and get first line to get ours. I had actually bought the "gator" rod from Huntinglight.com. They recommended a Penn 5000 Battle II to go on it but I found one cheaper elsewhere. Personally I think it ended up being too much. The rod and reel we snagged ours with was just a pretty basic combo for fishing but with some heavier braid on it. It's not like you're going to reel in an 11 foot gator. The rest of the gear, e.g., grappling hook and harpoon lines are what bring it to the boat. The fishing line is just a marker so you can get the other stuff on him.
Use something you can throw well and accurately. A big stiff rod is useless if you can't get the hook over the gator...not as easy as it sounds in the dark and excitement.
Needs to be stiff enough and with heavy enough braid to set the hook into the tough hide and then needs a decent enough drag because he is gonna run some line off.
Exactly. I bought the 14/0 hook our first year hunting thinking bigger was better. That kind of weight is almost impossible to cast accurately. We only take that rig now as a back up. Here's a link to where I buy my stuff. https://huntinglight.com/Alligator-Hunting-Equipment/Snatch-Hooks-Braided-Line-Rods-and-Reels Despite saying what I bought was too big, they do have some good stuff. That grappling hook buried right in and held very well. I also like the weight being beneath the treble hooks so it's not taking up space allowing the hooks to sink in deeper.
We used an abu Garcia 6000 reel on a MH bass rod. 100 pound braid and a weighted treble. When we hooked the gator he went straight to the bottom of the river channel and we put the boat right above him. Dropped another hook down on a hand line (paracord) and snagged him with that. Once you get 2 hooks in him it's a waiting game for him to come up for air.
We gator hunted a few times around 8 to 13 years ago. And we studied all methods and had most of them in the boat as we were going at it ourselves.
Rod and reel was definetly most effective for us on the river to get that initial line in the gator.
Toliver 1st post right under the OP is bout exactly what I would say as well.
That size reel with a 7 to 8 foot surf rod is great. We spooled our surf rods with 80 or 100 pound braid. We 10/0 treble hooks on the end that had their own lead molded into the shank of the trebel hook. I forgot what brand that was called but they were simple and worked great. Or we used big treble hook and afixiated a 2oz bullet weight to the end of the mainline.
We hooked a gator once on the back leg and first hand witnessed it reach around with its mouth reach back and bite that braid right off and swim away. So then we started adding soft strand metal leaders and that solved that.
We found that the smaller ones, 7or 8ish footers are more likely to fight around the river with you. A good rod and reel guy and a good driver at the helm can work together and get these gators boat side. The bigger 10 ft plus gators we've hooked tend to make a run after we snag em then they'll lay on the bottom and not budge. Providing you an opportunity to boat over em and fish for em with a bigger handheld line.
Good luck, it can be frustrating but it is fun!!!!!!!!!