A pair of Hialeah men allegedly tried to reel in an alligator using a fishing line.
The big lizard got away. The men did not.
Anibal Delgado Reyes, 46, and Erial Hernandez Diaz, 37, were nabbed after being seen trying to illegally hook a gator while fishing at Holiday Park, authorities said.
Wednesday, a judge allowed them to go free without having to post a bond.
At the men's court hearing, Broward Judge John "Jay" Hurley reacted to the pair's statement to officers that they landed the alligator by accident.
"Boy, that's some dumb luck, huh? Just accidentally had an alligator," Hurley said.
According to authorities, the illicit fishing expedition took place late Tuesday evening at one of the docks of Everglades Holiday Park, which edges the Everglades and where Animal Planet's popular show "Gator Boys" used to be filmed.
An off-duty Broward sheriff's deputy and his son, who also were fishing in the area, alerted park staffers after noticing the men's apparently inept -- and illegal -- method to catch a gator, said Carli Segelson, spokeswoman with the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.
"They purposely attempted to hook a gator multiple times, but the line kept snapping," Segelson said. "They were never able to reel the gator in to where they could harvest it."
Arriving deputies detained the men until an FWC officer arrived to officially apprehend the suspects.
Though Hurley let the suspects leave jail without having to post bond on a misdemeanor charge, he offered them a warning.
"I am just going to ask both of you to be more careful and don't accidentally catch any alligators," Hurley said. "If you see an alligator, walk away from it. It might accidentally get into the back of your truck."
The two men are now charged with violating the state's wildlife conservation rules, a second-degree misdemeanor that calls for a fine of up to $500, or possible incarceration for up to 60 days.
Catching alligators in Florida is legal, but hunters need a permit. The two men arrested will have to wait until at least next year's alligator season if they want to catch a gator legally.
Permits for this upcoming season were sold out. More than 6,000 permits were issued for the season, which runs Aug. 15 to Nov. 1. Each permit holder can kill two alligators.
The method of catching alligators also is regulated. The allowed methods include the use of snares, harpoons, spearguns and crossbows. The use of baited hooks or firearms is prohibited.
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