According to The NT News, Jason Matiu Grimes, 36, was in a 4.5m tinnie with fisherman Rupa Manimua collecting trepang when they spotted the 3m reptile at Knocker Bay, 180km northeast of Darwin, News.com.au reported.
There was no time for their other crew mate in the water to climb to safety - the crocodile attacked, dragging him beneath the waves.
"It bit him by the head and took him under," Mr Grimes said.
Both Mr Grimes and Mr Manimua pulled their mate — and the crocodile who had latched on — back to the boat with an air hose that was connected to his weight belt.
When the fishermen got the pair to the boat, Mr Grimes bit the crocodile while Mr Manimua stabbed it repeatedly with a screwdriver.
"I was biting the croc on the snout with my teeth as Rupa was stabbing at it," Mr Grimes said.
The reptile let the victim go and they pulled him on to the side of the boat.
The man was airlifted to hospital and underwent surgery.
But while Rupa Manimua was honoured with Australia''s fourth-highest bravery decoration, a commendation for brave conduct, Mr Grimes got nothing.