Swamp People‘s father and son duo of Junior and Willie Edwards started this year’s alligator season hunting together, but only a few episodes into the season, we see Willie is striking out on his own a bit. Do you reckon that could have anything to do with Junior accidentally shooting him? Nah.
^ Junior Edwards (right) and his son Willie Edwards from Swamp People
There are a couple of things you can be certain of when Willie Edwards is on the screen in Swamp People: one is that he will be making some
reckless fearless maneuvers in the interest of catching big alligators, and the other is that he won’t say a bad word about his father. Not one. Ever. Even if he gets yelled at, or bitten, or shot.
In the video below, what comes out most clearly is his love of the swamp and of his father. In the episode after Junior accidentally shot him in the hand, his admiration for Junior didn’t seem to have wavered a bit. And as the season has gone on, despite his foray into Bruce-like solo hunting, he’s come right back to hunt with his Dad.
We’ve seen Junior Edwards yell at Willie a lot, but we have also seen him catch a lot of alligator, and there can be no doubt how proud he is of Willie. Most of the yelling, in fact, comes when Willie throws a hook slightly less than perfectly or pulls up a gator head 2 feet away from the business end of Junior’s rifle instead of 1.5 feet away. Junior knows how to hunt alligators, and he wants Willie to do it perfectly. Willie is a pretty good hunter in his own right, but he knows that he is not as good as his daddy, yet. Willie takes his knocks and gives his dad nothing but respect.
The more you watch Swamp People, the more aware you become of the subtle differences between the hunters’ strategies for hauling in big gators. Troy Landry counts on developing a rhythm with the folks on his boat in order to have a successful season. We don’t know exactly what this means, but apparently he has it with Clint and Liz, but not with Jacob, at least when they’re not fishing in a thunder storm. RJ and Jay Paul Molinere rely on their ancient Houma instincts . . . and their airboat. The Guist brothers are happy to catch and cook whatever crosses their paths, so they just hang out with a beer until something comes along.
Junior and Willie do a lot of the things that the other hunters do, such as making sure their bait is as stinky as possible, hanging their lines at just the right height, and working hard from before dawn until after dusk; but, they also employ at least one technique that no one else uses: the hand-thrown treble hook. During Season One, we had a chance to see Junior and Willie melt down lead and pour it into a bundle of hooks in a pipe to make a homemade, gator-ready treble hook. In just about every episode since then, we’ve seen Willie use it. It works.
Unlike some of the other alligator hunters featured on Swamp People, Junior Edwards is a full-time, year-round professional fisherman. Given how much alligator hunters make and the volatility of Southern Louisiana game and fish markets, this is a genuine accomplishment. Junior will be hunting and fishing for whatever is in season all year long, and at the same time he will be preparing for whatever the next season requires of him. And we suspect Willie will be right there with him.