11-Year-Old Goes Fishing & Reels in Something Unbelievable

For most people, going fishing is a relaxing, meditative experience, and catching fish is rarely the point, rather a bonus. However, as one 11-year-old boy from South Carolina found out, fishing can be way more than that. When Brodie Brooks went on his first-ever fishing trip, he caught something other than a fish.

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Brodie was a little disappointed not to have caught any fish, but he soon realized that what he had found was far more rewarding. The mysterious thing that the young boy found could go as far as to change someone’s life. What did Brodie catch?

Brodie’s Birthday Gift

For his 11th birthday, Brodie had received a brand-new fishing rod, and he was eager to finally try it out. His family knew that Brodie wanted to learn to fish, so they bought him the tools and supplies needed and organized a fishing trip.

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Young Brodie was so stoked to try out the birthday gift that he invited some older friends of his to come along on the trip to Lake Hartwell State Park. The young fishing enthusiast was hoping that his spanking new rod would help him reel in some fish.

Learning to Exercise Patience

Any people of the piscary persuasion know very well that fishing requires patience, which was something that Brodie needed to learn to exercise. He was impatient to reel in some freshwater fish from the beautiful blue depths of Lake Hartwell.

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When Brodie and his buddies arrived at the lake, they got his uncle’s boat ready, filled it with their equipment, and waded out onto the water. Sitting back to relax as they waited for something to take the bait, they were all astonished when Brodies hook snagged something so soon. But no one expected what happened next…

What Took the Bait?

A distant relative of Brodie’s named Ben Myers came with him on the fishing trip and had lots of experience with the sport. He took Brodie under his wing and taught him how to drop the pik, attach bait, cast his hook, and angle his reel.

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Myers didn’t expect Brodie to take to fishing so quickly and was shocked when he yelped that something was pulling on his line. Brodie started reeling in his prey, and the older man went over to lend him a hand. Soon, it became apparent that it wasn’t a fish that’d taken Brodie’s bait.

The Long-Lost Treasure

A first, Myers thought Brodie had caught a Thumper but quickly realized that such a heavy catch was too good to be true. Meanwhile, Brodie was really looking forward to seeing what fish he had lured in, and Myers felt terrible telling him that it was just a snag, not a catch.

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But when they saw what it was, Myers told him, “You ain’t got no fish, you got a treasure. I’ve been fishing on this lake all my life, and that’s the first time I saw something be caught like this on a rod and reel.” What was it?

Hidden At the Bottom

Anyone would be thrilled to find a treasure hidden at the bottom of a lake, and Brodie was no exception. Although he could not lie, he’d really anticipated catching an actual fish with his new rod. The eleven-year-old was utterly unprepared for what awaited him.

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Who would have expected to find a sunken treasure? Brodie had no clue that there were secrets hidden at the bottom of the lake. Brooks had expected his first fishing trip at Lake Hartwell to be unique, but he didn’t expect this. He thought they would catch crappie, bream, stripers, bass, or catfish, not treasure.

He Was Sure It Was a Big Fish

The thing that had become attached to Brodie’s hook was so heavy that he had a hard time controlling his rod and needed the help of his friends. He was sure it would be a big fish and didn’t honestly believe in any other possibilities.

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Brodie shared with ABC News, “I felt like it was a big fish because it was bobbing my rod up and down, and I’d just gotten an Ugly Stick, so I was scared I was gonna break my rod. I was scared the line was going to snap.”

It’s What’s Inside That Matters

Soon, the fun fishing excursion became about something entirely different than catching seafood. When Brodie finally succeeded in pulling up his heavy line, he discovered that it wasn’t a bass or a catfish attached to his hook but a bag of some sort.

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What they found was heavy and made of leather, and filled with water. Upon closer inspection, Brodie, Myers, and their friends discovered that it was a very old purse. Brodie was bummed at first because what use is a handbag to a pre-teen boy? But sometimes, it’s what’s inside that matters.

Who Was the Owner?

Despite feeling let down that he’d caught some old purse instead of a water creature, Brodie couldn’t help but be curious about what was inside. He didn’t expect to find anything valuable but, nevertheless, hoped the bag would be full of riches.

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Furthermore, Brodie and Myers knew the handbag must belong to someone and were excited to get the chance to return it to its rightful owner. Although, since it had been at the bottom of Lake Hartwell for what looked like a long time, they weren’t sure that they’d find the owner.

What Mysteries Did It Hold?

Ben Myers stood by Brodie’s side throughout the whole day and helped him figure out what to do with the bag after they went back to shore. They hadn’t heard of anyone losing a bag recently, and from the looks of it, the purse had been in the lake for many years.

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However, the bag was entirely intact despite being covered in mud and faded from its many years beneath the water. There were no holes, and it was still tightly zipped; the bag’s good quality leather had held up even in such bad conditions. What mysteries did it hold?

What Was Inside the Handbag?

After thoroughly inspecting the purse’s outside, Myers and Brodie decided to unzip the thing and see what was inside. When they finally did so, they were pretty let down by what they discovered. At first, it looked like a bunch of useless junk!

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Just like most women, the owner of this mysterious purse had stuffed the bag with many items, most of which didn’t have any value after all this time. But as the people who found it would soon learn, one man’s trash can be another (wo)-man’s treasure.

Everything Had Survived

Most of the items stuffed in the mysterious purse were of no interest to the fishing crew, but they were impressed by how well everything had survived underwater. They found some old lipsticks, a comb, and a bunch of most likely expired gift cards and long canceled credit cards.

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How could it be that everything inside the purse had remained intact and in such good condition after years at the bottom of a lake? Brodie and Myers were fascinated and kept looking through the contents of the purse, hoping to find some indication of who it belonged to.

The Family Photos

The things that interested the two young investigators the most were some old photographs. They believed that if they could recognize the people in the pics, they would be able to find the long-lost owner of the purse.

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Since he had been born and raised in the small town of Anderson, South Carolina, the home of Lake Hartwell, Myers thought there was a good chance he might recognize someone from the old photos. If not, surely a more senior family member would know the people in the pictures, unless the owner was from out of town.

Working On the Case

So, they decided to play the detectives and find out who the bag’s rightful owner was. It was clear to them that it was a woman’s purse based on the contents. But they feared that too many years had passed, and it would be hard to find her and return her things.

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Indeed, Brodie and Myers wouldn’t have been surprised if they discovered the bag had been lost before the eleven-year-old was born. And it turns out that the guys were right! Like good detectives, they were determined to continue working on the case until it was solved.

Who Was in The Photos?

Determined to find the bag’s owner, Ben Myers and Brodie Brooks put the bag out in the sun to dry. They thought it would be easier to inspect photos and documents if they weren’t so wet, muddy, and stuck together. Quite the intelligent detectives!

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After the bag and its contents were dry, they took another go at looking at the photos. The bag mainly contained baby pictures, which was no help because whoever the baby was, they surely looked different now. So, they instead focused their attention on the images that weren’t of babies.

Myer’s Cracked the Case

Suddenly, after scouring the many photos again, Myers thought he recognized one of the women in the pictures! She looked just like a friend of his and Brodie’s family. He’d cracked the case! Who would have thought that it would be so simple?

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Myers later shared with ABC News, “I know this woman. She’s a friend of the family. I went to school with her nephew, but I hadn’t seen her in 10 years. It was pretty wild. You fish up a purse for one; then you actually know whose it was. It was crazy.”

The Evidence Adds Up

He had to be sure that it was her, though he wanted more proof since the photos were faded and Ben hadn’t seen the woman in years. If he had identified the wrong person, reaching out would be silly, so they continued investigating the contents, hoping for more clues.

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Luckily, another item soon confirmed Ben’s suspicions. They found an old high school diploma hidden at the bottom of the purse. It seemed like a weird thing to keep in a handbag, but the certificate confirmed that the bag belonged to their family friend April Bolt.

Looking For April

Now that everything was solved, Myers and Brodie sat down to plan their next move. It had been many years since Myers had last seen April Bolt, and he wasn’t sure where the woman was these days. But seeing as they came from a small town, he figured that someone ought to know.

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Myers had been friends with Bolt’s nephew back in the day. So, he gave his old friend a ring and told him about their miraculous find. April then got a call from her nephew’s wife asking her if she’d lost a bag around 20 years back.

Reunited With Her Belongings

Bolt was shocked by the question, but unlike most people, she had lost a bag twenty-five years back. It was as if suddenly, everything made sense again. April had left her bag on her boat during a cookout at Lake Hartwell 25 years before and had not seen it since that day.

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The memories came flooding back, and April shared the details of that fateful day back in 1992. The woman’s parents had owned a lake house at Hartwell, and their family had always spent a lot of time there, fishing, boating, and having family picnics and cookouts.

So Many Lost Memories

On the day April’s bag had been lost, she had been out boating with her family. After making their way to shore, they anchored in the slip, covered the boat, and went to have a meal. April left her purse on the covered boat, sure that nothing would happen to it.

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“I had all the baby’s stuff, and I just left it on the boat covered up,” shared April. “There were two guys there fishing and, I hate to accuse anybody, but when we got back, I was like, ‘My pocketbook is gone.'”

A Whole Life in Her Purse

Bolt had just intended to have a nice cookout with her family by the lake, but when she went back to the boat to collect her bag and realized it was gone, it ruined her day. April confessed, “I was crying. It wasn’t a whole lot of cash – maybe like $60. But a woman fits her whole life in her purse. It was devastating.”

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When Bolt discovered that her handbag had been stolen or lost, she canceled her credit cards and applied for new IDs. But what really upset her about the whole ordeal was something else.

Beautiful Baby Pictures

April had beautiful baby pictures of her son in the purse. When the bag went missing in 1992, he had been just a tot. The young mom had been distraught that she would never see her son’s baby photo’s again since she had no copies.

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So, when April heard that Myers and Brodie had fished up her pocketbook, she was ecstatic. However, there was still one thing left to do before she could fully rejoice. Bolt had to go meet them and see if the bag was actually hers or someone else’s.

More Than a Muddy Mess

She feared that maybe the contents of her bag were useless and damaged beyond repair after almost 25 years underwater. But when she finally saw the bag, April was relieved. The important things were still intact.

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In an interview, April explained, “To a lot of people, this is just a muddy mess. But to me, it’s precious to have all my belongings back, especially the pictures…I couldn’t believe it. I was lost for words…You never think you’d see it again. I knew somebody must’ve just gotten the cash out and threw it in the lake.”

Canceled Credit Cards and Cosmetics

Back in 1992, April had canceled her credit cards and gotten new IDs. Plus, the gift cards and cosmetics were definitely expired after all the time. Most likely, if she’d had any need for it, April would have had no issue securing a copy of her high school diploma.

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So, what was it that she was just so happy about getting back? The money had been stolen all the way back in the ’90s, and it had only been 60 bucks. It was the photographs that genuinely mattered to April.

The Sentimental Value

Everything in her purse had little to no value to April, except for her son’s baby pictures. The pictures had sentimental value and were worth more than April could express. She was so grateful to have them back.

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She told ABC News, “It meant the world to me. My son is 26 now, but he was 15 months then, and I had all his photos that were professionally taken in my wallet. Back then, you didn’t have your cellphone with the pictures. They have water damage, but you can make him out.”

Her Favorite Shade

Besides the cute and lost-missed baby pics, there was one other thing in her handbag that brought a smile to Bolt’s lips. Her favorite lipstick was also in the bag. Back when her purse had gone missing, April had been really bummed about losing the lipstick since it was her favorite shade, and it had been discontinued.

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She couldn’t find that shade again and eventually found a different lipstick. April was happy to get it back, even though she had no intention of using a tube that had been underwater for almost 25 years.

Got To Be Kidding

People who saw the Inside Edition YouTube video about April and Brodie’s story were confused about why anyone would carry their high school diploma around in their purse. They commented that people usually frame their diplomas or store them somewhere safe.

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Another item that garnered some interest was April’s pick comb. She shared with ABC, “I also had this comb with a pick on the end of it. My daughter is a hairdresser, and when she saw it, she was like, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me.'” Nowadays, combs like April’s are considered vintage.

More Than Just Fish

People were also shocked that the pocketbook itself was in such good condition after so much time on the lake floor. What brand makes bags so resilient that they can survive 25 years underwater. Too bad April didn’t share where the bag was from; this story could’ve made a great marketing campaign.

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The bag had been found 29-foot-deep in Lake Hartwell. Who would throw someone’s purse into the middle of a lake? I guess we’ll never know. At least Brodie was able to reunite April with her things, even if he didn’t catch any fish.

Meant To Be

This fateful story showed April that everything happens for a reason, even if she was sad about losing her purse all those years ago. Her destiny had led Bolt to get her bag back over 20 years after she had lost it, and that meant something.

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According to April, “Everyone keeps telling me, ‘There’s got to be a meaning to why you’re finding this so many years later. I’m sure God will reveal that in time. It’s just so precious to have it back.” It is so wonderful that Myers and Brodie were able to return the handbag to April.