Saturday, Feb. 14, at about 3:18 p.m., the Orange County Sheriff’s Office received a call from a stranded boater. The caller stated that he and his partner were from Minnesota and were pre-fishing the upcoming Elite Series Bass Tournament in March.They had gone off the main river channel and were trying to reach a location he saw on his Google map. Unfortunately, their bass boat got stuck on a mud flat, which was compounded further with the outgoing tide. It ultimately led to the fishermen being stranded.

The Sheriff’s Office Dispatcher passed on the information to Sheriff Merritt who spoke with the fishermen by phone. It was decided that an airboat would be necessary to reach the stranded men. Their boat was approximately one mile from the main river channel in an area south of IH-10. The men were concerned about it getting late in the day and they did not want to remain stranded all night.

Sheriff Merritt located the fishermen deep into the marsh and was able to hook onto the big bass boat and pull them to the main channel. It took about two hours and it was all the airboat could handle pulling such a heavy boat through the mud.

Needless to say the boaters were extremely grateful, and had a very muddy bass boat to clean afterwards.