WATCH: Fisherman shocked after snagging gator in NC lake

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LOOK: Viewer send in pictures of alligator on Lake Wylie

He kept the gator on the line as he called wildlife officers, but it broke loose before they arrived.

WATCH: Fisherman reels in gator at N.C. lake

“When I realized I had something different is the weight of it and the way it grabbed it. I caught whatever it was, and that's when I come to realize, reeling it in, it was an alligator,” said Stephen Rhodes.

Experts say it’s unusual to find alligators that far north and inland. Last month, Channel 9 reported on sightings of an alligator spotted at Lake Wylie. A man and his son saw the 2-foot-long reptile near Copperhead Island while kayaking.

A wildlife biologist told Channel 9 it was likely captured illegally as a baby and dropped into the lake when it became too big.