Black bears are still pretty rare in Marshall County. But just before last year's HydroFest boat races, a bear showed up at Lake Guntersville State Park.
It set off a spate of bear sightings that lasted much of the summer and into the fall.
It was deja vu all over again last Sunday afternoon.
Jon-Caleb Wright and Scott King were fishing a bass tournament out of Browns Creek and were heading back to the weigh-in about 7:30 p.m. when they spotted something in the lake between Lake Guntersville State Park and Buck Island.
"I said, 'Make sure you don't hit that stump,'" Wright said.
They looked some more and realized it was no stump.
"We thought it was a big old dog," Wright said. "We got a little bit closer and saw it was a bear."
Wright does a lot of fishing. He's seen deer, beavers and lots of other critters swimming in the lake over the years. But never a bear.
Wright got a really good cell phone video of the bear swimming. When it hits the bank on Buck Island, it never slowed down but raced up the bank and through the yard of a cabin.
"The bear swam a long way and the got up on the bank and ran," Wright said.
He guesses he and King were maybe 25 yards away from it.
"We weren't getting any closer, because if he'd gotten in the boat, I would have gotten in the water," Wright said. "The bear would have had the run of the boat."
He put the video on his Facebook page that night. By Monday evening, 24 hours later, they video had received 105,000 views. It was getting 5,000 views every half-hour at one point. Wright was having a good time with it, cracking jokes about the comments made.
"I've enjoyed the hilarity of it," Wright said.
He said the bear was bigger than it appears in the video. He guessed its weight at 250 pounds. He's a hunter, so he has a pretty good idea of how big critters are.
"I thought it would be cool to get 100,000 views," he said. "That happened pretty fast. Let's go for 200,000 now. Maybe the national news will pick it up."
Wright is an account manager with American Fidelity selling insurance and other financial products to educators in various school districts.
When they saw the bear, Wright and King weren't too worried about being late to the weigh-in.
"We caught fish, but they were all cookie cutter fish of about 2-1/2 to 3 pounds each," he said.
He said if he can make people laugh and have fun with the video of the bear, that's his only goal. He invites people to visit his page and take a look at the video.
"I have to give credit to Scott King too," he said. "I was in his boat."
State wildlife experts have said previously that bears are coming into northeast Alabama from Georgia, where there's a bumper crop of the animals. They first started expanding into the state over around Little River in DeKalb County. Last year brought the first widespread sightings in Marshall County.