Boaters Back On Land - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

07/20/03

Boaters Back On Land

Four people are safely back on land, after a harrowing fishing trip about 70 miles off the coast of Pascagoula caused them to stay out at sea longer than they expected.

Dick Wilson, his son and two friends from Georgia decided to try their luck fishing in the Gulf of Mexico this weekend. They say the catch was pretty good, but the weather wasn't.

"It was a little scary at times, when the thunderstorms came, and the high winds, and the seas got up to 3 or 5, but we stayed tied to the oil rig, and weathered the storm," boater Billy Bell said.

The bad weather caused delays in their fishing trip, and eventually, the boat ran out of gas.

"We have a rule our my house. If I don't report in by 10 o'clock, my wife calls the Coast Guard," boater Dick Wilson said.

And that's just what she did. The Coast Guard launched an air search for these boaters early Sunday morning, just a few hours after they were expected to return from their trip. Dick said he's thankful they went out into the water prepared.

"The main thing to remember is food, water, and know where your life preservers are in case you're not that lucky," Wilson said.

Late Sunday morning, the boat they were fishing on, the Angler, was refueled near Horn Island. The Angler made it back to the D'Iberville boat launch ramp sometime after noon on Sunday. At least one person was happy to make land."

"Coming through the channel a while ago, I told Dick Wilson, I said, hey, that's a beautiful sight. He said yeah, it's casinos. I said what do they do there? It's been so long since I've been there," boater Kathy Bell said.

As for their next fishing trip off the Mississippi Gulf Coast, Billy Bell says he can't wait to go again, but they just hope next time around Mother Nature will be kinder and the catch will be bigger.

All four boaters wanted to give a special thanks to the Coast Guard for all their help.

By Toni Miles

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