Hungry croc rams into family's small boat in remote NT waters
A big crocodile that charged a family's small boat and then seemed keen to mount the vessel has highlighted how fishermen can quickly turn prey in the Northern Territory.
Bradley Jeppesen's wife Emma recorded footage of the croc, which he estimated around 3.5 metres long, chasing a barramundi he had hooked on a recent fishing trip in Elcho Island, off the coast of Arnhem Land.
As Jeppesen, 49, reeled the fish in, the crocodile rammed his 4.5 metre boat which was also carrying his young daughter Zoey, 8.
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In the mild panic that spread across the boat, Emma dropped her phone which meant she missed capturing the beast sticking its head up and over the stern, he said.
Jeppesen then "bashed" the croc a couple of times on the head with the tip of his rod.
The croc "slunk off" a bit, Jeppesen said, which gave him enough time to get the boat started "and we took off out of there".
"My missus actually said, 'What would happen if he got over and jumped in the boat?' I said, 'If he jumped in the boat, we jump out of the boat as quickly as possible.'
"I think (the croc) was just having a bit of a look. I'm not too sure what it was up to but it was close enough for me."
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There are around 100,000 wild saltwater crocodiles in the NT, and encounters with locals and fishermen are common.
The crocodile population has soared since almost being shot to extinction 50 years ago.
Jeppesen, who hails from the small town of Galiwin'ku on Elcho Island, said he sees crocodiles all the time while out fishing.
Zoey also just shrugged off the unexpected visit, he said.
"We've been up here for a few years so we're sort of used to the critters around here.
"They (Emma and Zoey) were up the front, they just took it all in."
Jeppesen said it was hard to know what the croc might have planned to do next, "but it was close enough for me".
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"It wasn't like a big rogue croc that was trying to tip the boat over," he said.
"More probably it was having a look, just trying to get the fish … looking for an easy feed."
Jeppesen said large salties will often sit under his boat waiting for him to catch a fish.
"They're always around up here," he said.
"But I've never had one that charged the boat like that or stuck its head over the back."