Even though tall fish stories can get really far out there, like maybe sea serpents rising from the deep, one hits close to home as a couple of fishermen claim to have spotted an alligator in a Pauls Valley lake.
For some it can be shocking, for others just a curiosity, as Jerrall Caldwell, better known as Pops to many, and his son-in-law, Bobby Delaplain, were out on the waters of Longmire Lake when they saw the small gator.
It came a few weeks ago when the two were in a boat fishing on the southeast end of the recreational lake located just a few miles east of PV.
“Bobby said he saw something and 'it ain't no beaver. It's an alligator,'” Caldwell said.
“I didn't see it at first but I did see something go under the boat. The first time I saw it is when he came back up, so we followed it. You could tell it was an alligator. It was probably three or four feet long.”
Pops says the gator was only a few feet away from the bank when they got as close as they could so Delaplain could try and get some photos of the animal.
Apparently they got too close as it went back under the water and wasn't seen again.
“I thought it was beaver,” Delaplain said. “I heard a splash and got up there closer. When I really turned and looked at it I got a good look. It was an alligator.”
He says they got to within maybe 15 feet and estimates the gator to be three to four feet long.
Both men admit being more surprised than anything else to see an alligator swimming in one of Pauls Valley's two lakes.
“I had never seen one out there or heard about one in Longmire,” Bobby said.
“I have heard stories about an alligator being in a pond not too far from here and one in Texhoma (Lake), but that's hearsay.”
For Pops, he did once hear a story about an “even bigger one being out there” at the local lake.
Once their story did get out to others they were encouraged to try and get the word out as a kind of warning.
“It disturbs me,” said Nora Benito.
“A kid swimming out there could get hurt. A warning about this needs to posted out there.”
Neither Pops or Bobby really looked at the sighting as a potential danger to anyone.
“It shocked us, but I didn't think that much about it,” Pops said. “It didn't bother us none. I didn't even think about it being a danger to little kids or anyone.”
“If I was young it wouldn't stop me from swimming out there,” Delaplain adds with a smile.