UPCOMING EVENT: TOYOTA SERIES - 2020 - Dale Hollow Lake

Not just a swamp person

Not just a swamp person
Troy Broussard showing off his dangerous catch.

(Editor's note: To meet Troy Broussard in person, along with Swamp People co-stars Troy Landry, Chase Landry, Junior Edwards, Willie Edwards and Harlan Hatcher, make sure to head on down to the 2013 Forrest Wood Cup in Shreveport, La. For more details, click here.

Say what you will about the bayou, whether you love its Cajun flavor or loathe its mysterious swamps, everything about it is unique - and nothing born and bred there has ever been described as weak.

Perhaps the fiercest resident of the bayous of Texas and Louisiana is the alligator, that prehistoric predator so perfectly camouflaged in its swampy terrain. Many a man and gator have tangled, but none as famously as the cast of "Swamp People," the History Channel's popular program that follows hunters as they trap and kill monster-sized gators during Louisiana's short alligator-hunting season.

While many of the alligator hunters featured on the show are characters in their own right, one of the more intriguing reality-show personalities is Troy "T-Roy" Broussard, who also happens to be competing this year in the EverStart Series Texas Division as a co-angler. He and his hunting partner, Harlan Hatcher, are described on the TV show's web site as "the interlopers," having traveled from Texas to participate in the Louisiana gator season, sometimes to the consternation of the natives. Broussard and Hatcher engaged in a bet with series star Troy Landry as to which state breeds the better gator hunters - Texas or Landry's native Louisiana.

Made for television

A younger Troy Broussard literally wrestles an alligator onto shore.Broussard grew up gator hunting and bass fishing in the coastal areas of south Texas, where he still resides. When Texas re-opened gator hunting in 1984, Broussard and his father didn't waste any time. A few years later, on his 15th birthday, Broussard's father handed him some gator tags and said, "Let's see what you've got." He soon caught his first gator - a 10-footer - and the rest is history.

Time passed, and Broussard continued to hone his gator-hunting skills, taking people out for hunts as well as surveying habitat for the state of Texas to determine how many tags will be issued in a given season. Then one day, he was invited to travel to Louisiana to audition for Swamp People.

The producers initially passed, not wanting to move any of their operations to Texas, so Broussard and his good friend Hatcher decided that if they ever had the chance to audition again, they should work together as a team. Thus the Broussard/Hatcher hunting duo was born.

"We grew up side by side doing this," Broussard said. "Nobody has the tags that we have."

Sure enough, the next year found the History Channel calling yet again. This time, the pair was to come to Louisiana to hunt during that state's gator season, inevitably creating a rivalry with the natives.

"We got some tags from a neighboring landowner who's in proximity to Troy Landry," Broussard said. "At the time, we didn't really know what was going on. We'd go out there and start hunting, and the next thing I know, Troy Landry would be driving up to us saying, `You guys are hunting where I've been hunting.'"

Thus began the turf war - and a wager.

"We're kind of proud guys, being from Texas, and we took it as a challenge," he said. "So I put up a little bit. I'd never owned anything made out of alligator skin, so I saved a 10-foot hide and made a couple of scabbards out of gator leather. There are only two like it, and they're pretty expensive. With the history we have as a couple of the best hunters in Texas, we threw that bet out there. It turned into a friendly deal as it went on and we got to know him a little better and kind of became friends."

Caution: danger

Swamp People star Troy Broussard has learned to balance gator hunting and fishing on the EverStart Series circuit.When "Swamp People" comes on the air, a warning message appears: "The way of life depicted in this program dates back 300 years. Hunting, especially alligator hunting, lies at its core. Some images may be disturbing."

If the television show is not for the faint of heart, then actually hunting for the beasts definitely isn't. The show depicts two-person hunting teams in search of gators that have been hooked on previously set lines. Generally, one man reels the gator in while the other shoots it. Then they haul the enormous animals into the boat.

But according to Broussard, gator-hunting doesn't have to be a team sport.

"I probably hunt more by myself than I do with a partner," he said. "It's one of those things where, if you don't have somebody that you use on a normal, day-to-day basis, it actually will slow you down. A 10- to 12-foot gator I can get in the boat myself. Over 12 or 13 feet, you're looking at having to go get some help. But if there's a will, there's a way."

Broussard admits that alligator hunting is quite dangerous, but the fear of what could happen is not enough to keep him away.

"You can't think about it," he said of the danger. "You've got to get in there and do it. I've had some close calls, and I've been bit a couple of times. So many things can happen."

Sometimes, he says, hunters try to dispatch the gator from the line and don't quite get the job done.

"I've had those things come to life," he said. "I've had them clamp down on my foot or my hand. When you're pulling that gator in, if you happen to wrap your feet around that thing, that line can actually cut your leg off, jerk you in the water, and drown you."

Broussard said his closest call was when he foul-hooked around the post that he was using as an anchor point. The gator had wrapped itself around the post, leaving only a 6-inch gap between its mouth and Broussard's hand.

"He kind of went crazy," Broussard said. "He did a 360 and the tail hit me, knocking me out of the boat right next to him - and he was between me and the boat. I don't know what I did; I just know I made it back to the boat really fast."

Gone fishin'

Eight-year-old Troy Broussard in a canoe.Broussard was a fisherman before he was an alligator hunter, as he recalls fishing on Sam Rayburn when he was just 6 or 7 years old. As a teen, he got his first boat and started traveling to lakes by himself.

"I had the luxury of growing up on two of the best lakes, Sam Rayburn and Toledo Bend," he said. "I've got my own camp on Toledo Bend. My life is so busy - I'm also a fireman and I've got a commercial crab boat that I run - but I always try to find the time to go fishing."

In fact, the TV shooting schedule has actually freed up some time for Broussard to fish more, since he had to cut back on gator hunts in Texas in order to shoot the show.

"The show has given me the opportunity to start fishing some of these FLW events as a co-angler," he said. "It's been an awesome experience to fish with some of these pros and make good friends with these guys. It's an awesome sport. My son is getting involved more - it's one of those things you want to pass down for generations."

Last year, a picture of Broussard and an impressive sack of bass landed on FLWOutdoors.com's "Catch of the Week" feature, and the story behind it is a memorable one.

Troy Broussard netted this 11-pound, 14-ounce largemouth on an Alabama rig the morning of his wedding day."I got married on March 10 of last year," he said. "That morning, I went out fishing (on Toledo Bend). I had one of my best mornings - I caught an 11-14."

By 9:30 that morning, he thought he had 28 pounds in the livewell, but the clock was ticking.

"I had to come back in and get married!" he said. "I planned on going back after we got married, but my wife put a stop to that."

A little competition

As feisty as bass can be, they don't fight nearly as hard as an alligator. Nevertheless, Broussard sees many parallels between competitive bass fishing and gator hunting.

"Alligators relate just like fish," he said. "They are going to be wherever the bait is, and current will dictate where the big alligators roam. It's like finding a big pack of bass, only if you find a pack of alligators, you're going to find a lot of small ones. You're not going to have a lot of big gators in the same place."

Alligators and fish also react similarly to changes in the weather.

"In the summer, gators like deep water, and in the winter, they're really lethargic, like fish," he said. "I used a lot of skills that I learned fishing in alligator hunting."

Troy Broussard proudly displays his other main passion in life - bass fishing.Broussard hopes his foray into the EverStart Series as a co-angler is just a taste of more to come. He's no stranger to fishing tournaments, having fished lots of local events over the years, but the knowledge he gained from fishing the EverStart Series has only made him hunger for more.

"I've always been a very competitive person," he said. "It feels so good to have your family come to a weigh-in and root for you. It's not something I'm pursuing to put food on the table, but I want to get better, and the best way to get there is to have a little competition."

Spoken like a true bayou boy.

Tags: jennifer-simmons  article 

Au Best in the West

Au Best in the West

While 2020 has been a year to forget for many people, Tai Au will cherish it forever. Though Au has dabbled in Toyota Series competition over the span of nearly a decade, this was the first year he went all-in to fish the entire division. In doing so, he won the season opener on Lake Havasu, banked a top 10 on the California Delta and closed it out with another win on Clear Lake to handily win the Western Division Strike King Angler of the Year title. READ MORE »

2021 BFL Schedule

2021 BFL Schedule

Major League Fishing announced today the schedule, rules, payouts and entry dates for the 2021 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine, offering weekend anglers the best payouts and advancement opportunities for the lowest entry fees available. READ MORE »

Three Generations of Chapmans Take on Lake of the Ozarks

Three Generations of Chapmans Take on Lake of the Ozarks

Three generations of the Chapman family competed on Lake of the Ozarks – Brent, his son Mason, and his father Ron. Although they’ve all fished professional tournaments before, it was the first time all three were competing in the same event. Brent fished as a pro, while Mason and Ron fished in the co-angler field. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 3

Our crew on the water hasn’t had very good luck tracking the top pros down in the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn, but the fishing has still been pretty good. With the entire top 10 within striking distance, it’s still anyone’s game, and the good fishing today could help someone run into a mega-bag. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 2

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 2

Day two of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event on Sam Rayburn has been exactly as forecast. Somewhat chilly, with scattered rain and wind in the morning, it’s starting to brighten up now. Though most fished with jackets and bibs on in the morning, it’s now very comfortable and the sun is out pretty steadily. READ MORE »

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

Sam Rayburn Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series Southwestern Division event has been beautiful so far, with mild weather and apparently decent fishing. Though Rayburn isn’t kicking them out like it can, there seem to be plenty of ways to catch fish and at least one pro has seen some success. READ MORE »

Lake of the Ozarks Tapped for Wild Card

Lake of the Ozarks Tapped for Wild Card

FLW announced Sunday that the 2020 Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Wild Card tournament will take place on Lake of the Ozarks in Osage Beach, Missouri, Nov. 20-21. The two-day event, hosted by Fish-Intel, will launch from Public Beach No. 2 in Osage Beach. READ MORE »

How to Catch Bass with Shrimp

How to Catch Bass with Shrimp

Bradley Dortch, who grew up on the Tensaw River and the Mobile Delta, says throwing shrimp for bass is a winner, and a viable tournament technique if you use plastic ones. It all has to do with the seasonal movement of the forage. READ MORE »

Lake Norman Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Lake Norman Top 5 Patterns – Day 2

Bass seemed to be a bit more cooperative on day two of the Toyota Series Eastern Division event on Lake Norman, especially in the largemouth department. READ MORE »

Lake Norman Midday Update – Day 1

Lake Norman Midday Update – Day 1

Day one of the Toyota Series on Lake Norman dawned bright and sunny this morning with a morning low of about 52 degrees. A light breeze had the schooling fish popping early and anglers were taking advantage of the fall feed. A lot of topwaters, swimbaits, jerkbaits and spy baits were being offered to the schoolers on main lake points. READ MORE »

MLF and FLW Unify as One Brand

MLF and FLW Unify as One Brand

To further elevate the sport of tournament bass fishing and align multiple circuits as one company, Major League Fishing (MLF) announced today its unification with Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) as one brand, transitioning all FLW brand assets to MLF.   READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 3

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 3

It is the final day here at the Toyota Series Western Division event on Clear Lake and another beautiful day with the top 10 pros and co-anglers trying their best to take home the title. READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 2

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 2

The second day of the Toyota Series Western Division event on Clear Lake began with slightly cooler weather, but it has turned into a beautiful day here in the Golden State. READ MORE »

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

Clear Lake Midday Update – Day 1

The first day of the Toyota Series Western Division event on Clear Lake started with calm conditions and pleasant weather. Some of the anglers surveyed today were struggling to get bites and others seem to have the fishing dialed in. It appears to be feast or famine so far, but there will be some solid bags crossing the stage starting at 3 p.m. PT this afternoon. READ MORE »

TITLE Coming to the Mississippi

TITLE Coming to the Mississippi

FLW and Explore La Crosse announced Thursday that the 2021 Tackle Warehouse TITLE, the Pro Circuit Championship, will be held Aug. 17-22, 2021, on the Mississippi River in La Crosse, Wisconsin. Although FLW’s top championship has been held on the Mississippi River once before – in Moline, Illinois in 1998 – this event marks the first time that FLW has hosted its premier event in La Crosse. READ MORE »

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

Fish Northern Rivers for Smallmouth

From the Mississippi River to the Peshtigo River, Wisconsin and the surrounding region has miles of flowing water chock full of smallmouth bass. In the recent Tackle Warehouse TITLE presented by Toyota, Matt Stefan targeted rivers flowing into Green Bay for the majority of his catch, and in doing so, he was able to tap into a skillset that he’s groomed for years on the Wisconsin River and other flowages near him. READ MORE »

2021 Toyota Series Championship Hits Pickwick

2021 Toyota Series Championship Hits Pickwick

FLW and the Hardin County Convention & Visitors Bureau announced Wednesday that Counce, Tennessee, will host the prestigious 2021 Toyota Series Championship, Oct. 28-30, 2021, on Pickwick Lake. READ MORE »

Annual Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Auction Goes Digital

Annual Bass Fishing Hall of Fame Auction Goes Digital

The Bass Fishing Hall of Fame is excited to announce its first Digital Hall of Fame Week, which will be anchored by a massive online auction offering up an incredible selection of fishing-related items not available elsewhere. READ MORE »

2021 All-American Heads to Douglas

2021 All-American Heads to Douglas

FLW announced Tuesday that the 38th annual Phoenix Bass Fishing League All-American will be held on Tennessee’s Douglas Lake in 2021. READ MORE »

2021 National Championship set for Grand

2021 National Championship set for Grand

FLW announced Monday that the 12th annual Abu Garcia College Fishing presented by YETI National Championship will be held on Oklahoma’s Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees in 2021. The tournament, slated for March 3-5, showcases the nation’s best collegiate anglers and awards the winners a $33,500 prize package, including a new Phoenix 518 Pro bass boat with a 115-horsepower Mercury outboard and automatic entry into the 2021 Toyota Series Championship where they will compete for a top prize of up to $235,000. READ MORE »