A father’s legacy: A fishing story with Elizabeth Broumley

Warning: This story is really beautiful and you might tear up.

I remember the orange glow of the sunrise that morning, the chill of the window on my cheek, even the smell of my Dad’s coffee, national news quietly played on the radio as we pulled into Huxley Bay Marina. Toledo Bend was a little over an hour away from our home and one of our favorite lakes to fish. I must have been around 7 years old. We fished from sunrise to sunset that day, we didn’t catch any monsters, but it was an all-day slugfest catching bass almost every other cast.

I would beg for help with each set of the hook; my Dad would giggle and only give words of encouragement with the biggest smile on his face. It was a magical day. It was a day written in time for the two of us to experience together. I had been fishing since I was old enough to walk, even breaking my arm by tripping over my Dad’s tackle box when I was just 2, but it wasn’t until that day that fishing became an obsession.

Not only did I become passionate about fishing, I got valuable time with my Dad, one on one. My Dad loved the outside world; it was his classroom, and he taught me about every living thing. Bass fishing was a way my Dad could stop the world just for us, and in those moments time stood still. My Dad passed away 15 years ago, and to this day, I thank God he took the time to share fishing with me.

I am extremely grateful for all the amazing fishermen in my life; not only do they love fishing, but they also love fishing with me. It is a love that I can’t fully explain, but to me, it is magic. Today, I fish with my amazing husband Jake, my Stepdad Rick, and my three kids, Mallory, Beau, and Judson.

March 19th, 2022, I had a Saturday all to myself. Judson, my youngest, was spending the day with his grandparents. I told my husband, Jake, not to go watch Hockey with his friends, that something special was going to happen, and I was going to catch a ShareLunker. He laughed as he walked out the door. I made it out in my kayak and immediately told myself I was going to have an amazing day. I fished all morning, catching only two fish, both decent but not what I was looking for; I decided to head home, chores were calling my name, and I was hungry.

I sat down at the dinner table and ate lunch, thinking about how many times I got hung up, threw in trees, and just felt like I couldn’t do anything right and just got mad at myself. After lunch and an attitude adjustment, I went back out. There was a large tournament on the lake that Saturday, and I was yielding my normal spots. I decided to put my kayak north and push deep into a cove I had never explored with our boat. I was alone, just me and my inner monologue. I made cast after cast, flipping brush and scraping trees with my Strike King 6-inch ocho Texas Rig.

I was almost to the farthest my kayak would take me. In this cove, I made a beautiful cast working my rig back in; I didn’t feel the normal bite, I felt a shockwave and set the hook. My kayak spinning and pinning me into two large brushy trees. My mind was telling me she was just a good fish, but my heart was telling me she was something more. I fought her hard, begging myself not to make a mistake.

She came up straight to my right side of my kayak, and I saw her mouth and eye. My hands were shaking at this point, and I am telling myself she is good, really good. Sliding the butt of my rod under my left thigh, I reached with my right hand to pull her in and quickly realized I was going to need both hands to pull her in.

“Yes, I’ll take a hook for her, get both hands in her mouth now!” I clinched her mouth with both hands, dragging her into the kayak and laying her in my lap. My eyes, my heart, my mind all needed to catch up and process that I just caught my PB, and I am all alone.

No one to see or share my most amazing catch with. How am I going to get photos of this amazing bass on the scale and record this memory? I grabbed my phone and called my Boss, Daniel, who had been fishing the tournament; maybe he will come help. I called, and they were already off the water. Oh no, think Liz, think who can help you. I remembered a couple of months earlier I had met my neighbors across the peninsula from our home, and they gave me their phone number.

A quick phone call, another dip in the water for the PB, and my neighbors came out running so proud to share in my joy; they pulled me onto their boathouse, took my photos, and helped me weigh her. Weighing in at 8.77, I was able to submit her for my very first “Lunker” in the Texas ShareLunker program. After her release. I kayaked home, teary eyed and smiling. I am pretty sure I heard my Dad’s giggle echo across the water. 

It was a good day.