I was born and raised in Florida. Some of the best days of my life have been spent fishing with my best friends. This is a story about one of those days.

I’d fished the Everglades before. A seemingly endless expanse of swamp and water, the Everglades make for some of the best fishing in Florida. On this particular trip, three friends and I decided to go out for tarpon. For those of you who don’t know, tarpon are big, strong sport fish. Getting to them in the glades can be a hike and certainly not guaranteed. We decided to try our luck on a remote stretch of the Everglades. In the three days we were out, we didn’t see another soul. We rode in Friday, set up camp, and started fishing. 

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We spent all of Saturday fishing. Between the four of us, we jumped 12 tarpon and ended up getting four in the boat.

Sunday started off even better than Saturday. It only took us three hours to jump 10 and land three more.

It was around 10am that John hooked the biggest fish of the trip. A 100lb beauty, John got it right in the corner of its mouth. 

After a few jumps and one hell of a fight, we finally had the fish alongside the boat and I volunteered to take the hook out. You’re right, I am a dumbass.

As I said before, tarpon are big, strong fish. After a quick breather, Big Bertha decides the fight is still on and starts thrashing her head. The only problem was that my hands were still in her mouth. Then in a flash, Bertha had somehow escaped the hooks and was on her way to terrorizing the next group of anglers brave enough to cast in her direction. As I watched her swim away, I came to the painful realization that the hooks (as in, more than one) had found their way into my fingers (as in, more than one). 

AWESOME!

We couldn’t tell how bad it was right away. The epinephrine rush made it hard to tell just how much pain I should have been in. So I cut off the glove...

Lovely. Since we forgot wire cutters, it looked like my day was over. My fingers were stuck together worse than that one time I super glued them together in 5th grade while making a science fair project.

Suddenly, the remoteness that attracted us to the fishing spot in the first place became an issue. Being hours away from the nearest group of anglers means you’re also hours away from the nearest hospital. Since it would have been a long trip in anyway, I decided the group should continue fishing. I then came to the unfortunate realization that, in addition to forgetting the wire cutters, we also forgot any painkillers. 

At least we had beer. While the guys continued to catch fish (justifying my sacrifice), I drank.  When the fishing slowed down the guys decided it was time to get me to a hospital. After a 2 hour boat ride and almost 2 hours in the car we finally arrived at the hospital.  

1 tetanus shot, 2 numbing shots, and an hour later I am on my way home. Fingers finally free after 11 hours!

 

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