Although she was born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, Elizabeth (“Liz”) Bush (@life_with_liz on Instagram) has lived in Mobile, Alabama for most of her life.
“I only lived in Pine Bluff for a couple of months,” Liz says. “My dad was in the oil industry back in the eighties. We moved to Baton Rouge, where he work offshore, and then he transferred to the plant in Mobile. So, I’m a Gulf Coast girl.”
As you might presume from that, Liz has been fishing most of her life.
“I was probably six or seven years old the first time I held a fishing pole,” she says. “During the summers — my mom has seven sisters — my parents would ship me, my sister and my brother off to spend time with our aunts and uncles. One of our aunts and uncle lived on a little lake in North Tennessee, almost to the Kentucky line. We’d use crickets and go bream fishing with our cousins.”
Liz had to put in some effort, though.
“My uncle, he made us work for it,” she says. “He bought us a little container to hold crickets, but if we wanted to go fishing, we had to go catch or own bait. For us, as kids, that was a huge a deal. That’s my first real memory of fishing.”
She’s been surrounded by fishing almost ever since.
“I live on the Gulf of Mexico,” Liz says. “We have five rivers and Mobile Bay. We have the Alabama Deep Sea Fishing Rodeo here, every year, on Dauphin Island. Fishing is just something I’ve always done.”
Liz has become a little more serious about fishing recently, though.
“So, I’ve been around it, I’ve done it. In high school and college, I dated guys who fished,” she says. “But my love for fishing has really come back in the last four or five years.”
During college and in her work as a registered nurse, though, Liz didn’t always have the time to get out on the water.
“I was working twelve and fourteen hour shifts,” she says. “So I would fish when I went on vacation and stuff, like spear fishing in the Bahamas. I love to travel and fish — I was just in Costa Rica last November.”
Liz doesn’t limit herself to any one type of fishing.
These days, Liz gets out as often as she can.
“My boyfriend lives on Fowl River,” she says. “He has a little inboard boat, and we take it out and go fishing all the time — when it’s freezing, when it’s raining. I mean all the time.”
“He honestly gets tired of it,” she laughs. “He’s like, ‘Can you do anything else but fish?’ But it relieves stress for me.”
You just cannot argue with Liz’s passion for the sport.
“I will try anything — I just love to fish,” she says. “We use spinning reels, we use fly rods. We just got some new flicks to try and entice the fish up from the bottom in this cold water [it was January].”
And for the most part, Liz is an equal opportunity angler.
“I like catching anything, and we practice mostly catch-and-release, unless there’s something we need to eat,” she says. “But I love catching a redfish, because you can tell when you’ve hooked a red. Know what I mean — when it runs? I just love that feeling. And they’re beautiful.”
When she wants to chase big reds, Liz heads to Louisiana.
“A friend of ours, Miles, runs a boat charter called Shallow South (@ShallowSouth on Instagram),” she says. “He’s one of the best fishing guides ever, and we go redfishing with him frequently. The big game fish like mahi mahi are fun to catch, too, but I really love catching a good red.”
Heading out with Miles resulted in Liz’s favorite fishing memory.
“One time, my boyfriend Ryan and I were out with Miles in May of last year, and the reds had pretty well stopped running,” she says. “But we just had the best luck. It was hook, line, and sinker every time. Ryan had just hooked a redfish, and I said, ‘Hold on, let’s go on a double date’ — when you catch a fish at the same time. And we both caught fish.”
But that’s not the end of the story.
“About five minutes later, I threw out a line, and this massive fish starts pulling,” she says. “Like runs the whole line out. And I’m like, ‘What the hell did I just catch?!’ I battled for about half an hour, and many times I thought I’d lost the fish. Finally, I got the fish to the boat, and you should’ve seen the look on Miles’ face — and he does this for a living. He was like, ‘Hol-y shit!’ It was like forty-two or forty-six inches long. I don’t remember for sure. But it was such a battle, and the only way I could hold it up was to bear hug it with both arms. Better still, it was awesome because I blew the guys away.”
As you may have guessed, Liz is a little competitive.
“I’m very much driven, and especially when I’m with guys, I want them to see that I can fish just as well, if not better, than they can,” she says. “On top of the competitiveness — which is natural to me in all parts of my life — fishing is just fun. You don’t have to be good at it, but if you catch a fish, it’s all worth it. I also love the solitude and love being outdoors. I’ve made so many good memories.”