This week’s Swamp People opened with our Bruce Mitchell talking to us one-on-one.
He’s in a sentimental mood and reflects on a life well-lived in the swamp. He says that this work he does keeps him going, living off the vital bayou of Louisiana.
Not a lot of jobs allow you to go topless in a pair of overalls while sporting Jerry Garcia hair festooned with an American flag bandana as a snappy accent.
We get a scenic long shot of his pal, war veteran Ron Methvin, and a hold full of gators as the two set off to go get more.
This is America’s God and gun country, y’all. Not a lot of atheists living ’round heyuh.
Day 20 of gator hunting season has arrived in Louisiana. Bayou Black’s ebony and ivory duo of Frenchy Crochet and Gee Singleton are running all their gator lines.
The two work hard and waste no effort as they talk about how they go shrimping and catch crawfish to make ends meet. They even add sunken cypress log retrieval to their resumes in the episode tonight.
The Salt n’ Pepper pair have hung their lines in a tight little area with an odd grassy knoll, and have concocted a strategy to fill their boat. Their method works! They haul in a monstrous 12-footer which is snapping and hissing at them.
This $200 beast nearly capsizes the boat as they use a wench to pull him in. Our dearly departed is anointed with good old table salt and pepper as the two are ear-to-ear smiles.
Over 70 miles east we meet up with the Edgar clan, namely Joey and Dorien, who are in a race to bag and tag as well. They head out to a remote area and the vegetation is so thick it nearly chokes out their motor. They manage to make it through.
Finally, they whack through the plant life and arrive at their first line. The gator is wily and cagily lays in wait as he is watches Dorien, who is up in a tree surrounded by water. Joey spies him and tries to keep his nephew safe. They bag the cunning 6-footer which will bring them $80.
As Joey and Dorien power through the weeds, 50 miles away in Pierre Part the Landrys have 40 tags to fill.
Troy is worried. He says: “The more big ones you catch the more money you make.”
He tells his boys to set the lines high so only the big ones bite. Makes sense. Then Troy spies a monster sunbathing. This gator is enormous as they hook him. The fight is on baby!
The monster is snagged by his toe as they put another treble hook on him. This is a dinosaur!
Jacob pops him in the head as the 11-foot gator is measured and tagged. Onward Christian soldiers.
About 70 miles north in Hammond, Bruce and Ron get a bad phone call, their buyer is closing shop and they have one day left to fill their remaining 25 tags.
These guys have to go under a low-slung trestle bridge and literally must flood their boat to sink it some to make it under this nasty, dark (and probably full of spiders) pass-through. Then they have to slop out the water that filled their hold.
Back in Bayou Black, Frenchy and Gee are humping it to get their gator quota before heading off to their other day job.
They land a decent-sized fighter and have six gators to take back to the deck. But these two aren’t done yet, no sir. Something really interesting is coming down the pipe from them!
Meanwhile, in a remote Bayou Benoit canal, Joey and Dorien have three gators and 99 problems that involve lilies choking their motor.
The engine is crapping out. Before the boat is immobilized, they grab a 9-foot monster on the line.
Calamity strikes. The engine quits and the only fix is to get into the murky, apex-predator-filled water.
There are so many dangers in the water that Joey is eagle-eyed for his kin as they manage to half fix it, enough to get them into a safe space.
Now we switch back to Bruce and Ron who are in a race to fill tags. They are beside themselves that their lines are not being bit by gators.
Ron swears there are alligators in this area. Then they spy a 10-foot monster and bag him!
Over to Pierre Part, the other set of Landry kin are focused. Chase talks about the “crap” that the buyers are paying as he and Holden are on the hunt. They bag an 11-footer as Chase says there’s no point in just getting 6-footers. Off they go.
In Bayou Black, Frenchy and Gee have taken an interesting second gig in the swamp, gathering sunken cypress wood. The bayou region’s “sinker cypress” industry brings big, big money.
In Louisiana, you cannot chop live cypress down, so these sunken treasures are a hot commodity.
The random timbers are found all over rivers and swamps in the south, some hundreds of years old that wound up on river bottoms or in the bayou.
They are preserved with their own oils and the natural tannins in the silt around them and are specimens prized for milling into everything from mantles to exotic flooring and furniture.
The log is estimated to be worth over $1,000! But the giant water-soaked log is too much for them to get it into their gator boat.
The wood hits their vessel and sinks back into the bayou. They decide it is safer to drag it in.
Just outside Hammond, Bruce also has a load to carry. He must fill his remaining tags but the day is slow going. He frets he will go “broke”.
Ron talks about the emotional roller-coaster work they do. Then he spies a wild boar and it’s on! Bruce bags a tasty dinner.
Joey and Dorien finally make it back to civilization. They head over to some kindly people who live on the lake and also live by the code of the swamp.
We see a relieved Joey giving thanks to Jesus and the very nice man with a flathead screwdriver who helps him fix the bad motor.
Good folks who help someone in need are hard to come by, but in this part of the world they seem more plentiful.
Back with the King, Troy laments his seasonal expenses while their boat is showing evidence of this new dedication to getting the big boys.
Now they have a 10-foot angry monster on the line that nearly bites Troy. All of this action with no lucky donuts too! Troy still needs a belt.
In Gibson, Frenchy and Gee head to a mill where they sell their cypress log. This is $12.50 a foot rare wood you cannot get at your local Home Depot.
Frenchy thanks God for living off the land and being blessed to have his friend Gee and a way to make serious cash off the bayou. These guys made over $2,000 in one day!
Now it is settling up time at the dock in Pierre Part. Chase and Holden bag five giants, but King of the Swamp Troy wins the behemoth race in Pierre Part as he goofs on Chase. You can see they genuinely love what they do.
We close with our man Bruce reflecting on the things that matter most, his family.
He sets up a hog-alicious feast with his fresh boar kill as the vittles are on the barbecue while Ron and the family bow their heads in prayer and thank God for their tasty meal.
All Bruce wants is to live long enough to teach his grandson the ways of fishing and life in the swamp.
The next week teases another Edgar clan danger seeker, Dwaine jumping into the swamp just like his kid Dorien as he goes after a partially injured big gator.
Holden is shown stretched out laying on the boat like he is sleeping as Chase laughs about his party boy ways.
Swamp People airs Thursdays at 9/8c on History.
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