More than catching fish
Everyone has a fishing story. It may be about a child casting for the first time or about a group of friends fishing at their favorite weekend getaway. Whatever the story, it probably includes details about the big fish that got away. However, a new business in Longbranch is changing how the story ends for many people.
Spirit Jigs is a family business that hand ties crappie and bass jigs and spinner baits, but catching fish isn’t all that Spirit Jigs is about.
Bubba Broadus, owner, says the reason he hand ties jigs is because he is following God’s command to lead people to salvation.
“This plan isn’t my plan,” Broadus will tell anyone about his business venture. “Our whole purpose for being here is to lead people to Christ.”
To understand Spirit Jigs’ purpose, one has to know Broadus and how his life events have directed him and his family to spend time together tying the lures, fishing, and praying.
Broadus said he returned to his faith at age 33 after many years of what he described as “running and living in the world.” God helped him restore his struggling marriage and become the husband and father he needed to be for his family, he said. “I decided I was not the man God wanted me to be and I asked Him to help me.”
Returning to the Christian life he had experienced as a young person while growing up in the Galloway community, Broadus had a new relationship with the Lord, a restored marriage, and a young son. Then two challenges hit the family at the same time.
“My wife had cancer and my son had anaplasmosis with a 5 percent chance of making it,“ Broadus said. Although he questioned God, Broadus prayed and gave his son, Tristan, over to Him. “That was the hardest thing I’ve done,” he said. “And He gave him back to me.”
With Tristan’s health regained from the tick-born illness and his wife, Jennifer, recovered from surgery for cancer, the family moved on to fulfill their purpose in life.
Although the Broadus family still wasn’t aware of God’s intentions at the time, Jennifer explained they decided to look at a house for sale on Lake Murvaul they had wanted to buy the previous year. While there, they were told a contract was offered on the house before they arrived and it was no longer for sale.
They received a phone call a few days later. The contract fell through on the Lake Murvaul house, and it was available again…this time reduced to a price that was financially manageable for the Broadus’. They quickly put a contract on the house and put their Grand Bluff house up for sale. Their house sold in one day with a full cash offer, and the Broadus family moved to Lake Murvaul on the Longbranch side.
“The Lord brought us here (to Lake Murvaul) last April and I wondered why…what are we doing here,” Broadus remembered.
Always an outdoorsman, Broadus knew how to hunt and fish like most East Texans, but he normally used minnows as bait for catching crappie. “I kind of set my mind I’m going to start tying jigs and learn how to catch the fish,” he said.
After hours of researching about colors to use, materials, and techniques, Broadus began tying the jigs in the shop next to his house. He started catching crappie under the FM 1971 bridge on Lake Murvaul near his home, and people were asking how he was catching so many fish.
He gave jigs to those who asked about his fishing success, and soon people wanted to buy them from him. “I started selling them and I thought, I’m going to start ministering through it,” he said.
“The Bible tells us we are gifted in God given ways. We search what our talents are and what is God’s master plan,” said Broadus, who believes he has been gifted in tying jigs as a ministry.
Broadus began tying jigs, packaging them with the Spirit Jigs label, and selling them. Jennifer took a picture and made a Facebook post. The response was positive, and Spirit Jigs started being bought by local people and businesses.
“It humbles me that anybody would want something that I’ve made,” he said. “It’s just crazy.”
Broadus, a lease operator for Devon Energy, ties the jigs at night and on his days off. Tristan, now 12 years old, has also taken an interest in jig tying and helps with filling orders. “I enjoy tying them with Dad and listening to Christian music and preaching,” Tristan said. “I wonder if one day when my mom and dad get old I could take over the company.”
Broadus explained that tying the jigs by hand makes them stronger. “They are more durable than a machine tied jig,” he said. “I’ve not had one jig fall apart and I’ve had over 2,000 bought. My first jig has caught over 150 fish and it’s still together.”
Jennifer, who orders supplies and materials for the business, said there is something else that makes a Spirit Jig special. “Whenever we tie, we pray over the jigs that they catch fish with them,” Tristan explained.
The family also includes a Bible verse in every package. “It has to be in there, Broadus said about the verse. “God gave me this idea and I’ve got to do it.”
After less than a year, Spirit Jigs expanded from a small workbench in one corner to the entire building that accommodates shelving, materials, and merchandise. Spirit Jigs Bait and Tackle is now open at 126 CR 190, and the grand opening celebration is scheduled for June 11.
Broadus explained that demand has grown to include more local and out of state people as well as professional fishermen and businesses. He said God keeps sending him resources from the fishing industry and the ministry to help him fulfill His mission.
“It initially started with a gift and a passion,” he said about tying jigs. “But before I had that gift and passion, I had the passion for Christ.” That’s the message he wants to let others know about, he said.
As for the success of Spirit Jigs, Broadus doesn’t take any credit. He explained everything from the day he prayed to restore his faith and his family’s health to the opening of Spirit Jigs is God’s doing. “It’s like He literally poured a bucket of knowledge and information into me to make decisions about Spirit Jigs,” he said. “I’m just a country boy that nobody ever knew. I’m not worthy of what He has put on me.”
Spirit Jigs Bait and Tackle is located at 126 CR 190. The hand-tied jigs can also be purchased at Wings and Whitetails, Chuck’s Barbeque, East Texas Sonar, and Quick Stop at TX 84 and FM 1971.
Visit them at www.spiritjigs.com or on Facebook.