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Don't Stop Fishing...I Only Broke One Leg!

Aug 17, 2007
"I just broke my leg!" I yelled at my fishing partners as I lay in the bottom of the boat. They seemed unconcerned about me, only anxious about the fishing tackle I had fallen across. "Those rods are not broken are they?" my friend Captain Steve asked, not concerned about me at all.

"No" I shouted, "But my ankle is!"

It was a beautiful warm, sunny, January morning and the Gulf of Mexico at Panama City, Florida was like glass, as smooth as far as the eye could see. The temperature at 8:00 am was in the low seventies. The morning mist from the gulf hid from sight the sea birds you could hear screeching as they fought each other for a morsel of food or any bait left by early fishermen. It was a perfect day and we were about to cast off for a spot about 12 miles offshore from the marina.

Previously Captain Steve, my buddy Jimmy and I had filled up the gas tanks of Steve's 22 foot fishing boat, bought cigar minnows and squid for bait. Our rod and reels were secured in their holders with the rest of our tackle, cooler and refreshments in the bottom of the boat. Now it was time to head out to our secret hole somewhere in the Gulf, located by the coordinates that Steve had scribbled in his notebook.

Finally we were ready to begin our voyage on a mirror like sea. Everything was wonderful until I stepped from the dock onto the side of the boat and fell. My brand new tennis shoes gripped the bow as the boat shifted to the right. Unfortunately my feet were still pointed to the left. My right ankle sounded like a firecracker as it snapped!

For some this would have been the end of the fishing trip on such a glorious day in the middle of winter, but not for me. I jerked off my shoe and saw my foot swelling before my eyes. The more swollen it became, the more it hurt. The sight even subdued my fishing companions. They were scurrying around helping me find a seat, asking if I wanted to go to the hospital.

Even though there was no doubt in my mind that my ankle was broken, it would have been a disservice to the other two guys not to continue our trip after the money we had spent on tackle, bait, gas and grub. By now my foot looked like a balloon. Captain Steve went below and came back with a half gallon jug of rum. Medicinal of course!
"This will help with the pain as he grimaced at the sight of my foot!" he laughed as he handed me the bottle.

We shoved off and began gliding our way out of the harbor, maneuvering our boat around the many cargo ships that were anchored offshore of the Port of Panama City. After about 45 minutes we arrived at our location. Captains Steve's navigational tools pinpointed an artificial reef of an old tugboat. These old tugs make perfect habitats for many types of fish, from grouper to flounder.

By the time we arrived, I was pleasantly sedated even though my foot still hurt. We caught a lot of fish that winter's day. Seated on a deck chair with my right foot resting on a boat cushion, I had two lines dangling over the side of the boat. Sometimes both rods were bent with fish on each line. We had our fishing rigs baited with cut bait, cigar minnows and squid. We fished for about four hours and caught some of the largest flounder I have ever seen as well as red snapper and 2 small groupers.

By early afternoon my fishing companions were beginning to be more concerned about the state of my foot. The swelling never seemed to stop; nor did the pain. My foot hurt of course, but I didn't care. We were catching a lot of fish and this made the whole trip worthwhile.
We stowed our tackling, put our fish in the ice chests and went back to our marina. I was immediately taken to the hospital where the doctors and nurses fussed at me for not coming in sooner. My ankle was broken in 2 places, insuring me of a cast and crutches.

All in all it was a memorable experience fishing in the Gulf, but then they all are!
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, holiday eating and leisure living.
Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
http://www.bluemarlinbob.com
http://www.pompanobob.com
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