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Talk about the catch of a lifetime.

A Texas fisherman hauled in a giant alligator snapping turtle while celebrating Father’s Day.

Justin Broomhall, 25, of Longview, Texas, was fishing for catfish that Sunday evening at Cherokee Lake around 7:30 p.m. with his 3-year-old son, Lakestine, his father, Michael Broomhall, Sr., and his fiancé’s father. James Elliott.

Broomhall told Fox News Digital that at first it seemed like the catfish were biting.

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“Suddenly, they disappeared,” Broomhall said.

Broomhall, who has been fishing since he was 4 or 5 years old, said he noticed bubbles moving across the water.

He thought it was a big catfish, so he threw his fishing line into the water just before the trail.

Justin Broomhall, 25, of Longview, Texas, was fishing for catfish on Father's Day when he pulled up on this massive alligator snapping turtle and held it for a photo.

Justin Broomhall, 25, of Longview, Texas, was fishing for catfish on Father’s Day when he pulled up on this massive alligator snapping turtle and held it for a photo.
(Justin Broomhall/James Elliott)

“That’s when everything went crazy,” he said.

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The snapping turtle grabbed the bait almost immediately, and Broomhall said he and his father fought it for 15 to 20 minutes, moving closer to shore to see what it was.

Broomhall estimates that an alligator snapping turtle weighs about 150 to 160 pounds.

Broomhall estimates the alligator snapping turtle weighs approximately 150 to 160 pounds.
(Justin Broomhall/James Elliott)

According to Texas Parks and Wildlife, when Broomhall learned that an alligator holding a threatened turtle had caught the turtle, he knew he had to let it go.

“I went down into the water to catch him on the shell behind his head and the line broke,” Broomhall said.

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Even though the turtle was not on his line, Broomhall still wanted to remove the hook from its mouth, which he said could have given the turtle an infection.

“There are still amazing things to see.”

– Justin Broomhall

To make sure he brought the turtle ashore, Broomhall jumped into the water and grabbed the turtle’s leg and tail – while his father grabbed the belt loop on his pants.

“He pulled me back to land, I pulled the turtle over there and we realized how big he really was and how old he was,” Broomhall said.

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Broomhall estimates the alligator snapping turtle weighs between 150 and 160 pounds and may be 100 years old, if not older.

“His eyes were already starting to get cloudy, like he was going blind,” Broomhall said.

Even larger reptiles have lots of spots, Broomhall said.

Broomhall estimates the alligator snapping turtle to be at least 100 years old, if not older.  Broomhall noticed that the animal's eyes were cloudy and that it might be blind.

Broomhall estimates the alligator snapping turtle to be at least 100 years old, if not older. Broomhall noticed that the animal’s eyes were cloudy and that it might be blind.
(Justin Broomhall/James Elliott)

“It’s like an alligator trying to take a chunk out of its tail,” he said. “He’s already lost two little fingers.”

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After Broomhall took the hook out of the turtle’s mouth, he released it back into the lake. But Broomhall hopes this will not be the last time they will meet.

“I’m looking forward to seeing him in a few more years, just to see him get back into the wild and know he’s still living back in that cove,” Broomhall said. “To see him in the wild and see how he’s doing.”

As the alligator snapping turtles became an endangered species, Broomhall released the turtle back into the lake.  He owns his local sporting goods store, Wings & WhiteTails.

Because alligator snapping turtles are a threatened species, Broomhall released the turtle back into the lake. He was at his local sporting goods store, Wings & Whitetails.
(Justin Broomhall/James Elliott)

Although he had heard stories from his grandfather about picking up alligator turtles, Broomhall said he had never seen them before.

“To actually land one and see how big they really are, it’s unbelievable,” he said. “And it was even cooler to have my dad there and my son there.”

“He’s my first son, so the experience with him is – once in a lifetime,” Broomhall continued.

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Broomhall said he was happy to share his catch with a wider audience.

“I’m from a small town, I’m just a high school graduate and it makes me happy to reveal my name and show the world that there are still dinosaurs living in these lakes and the like,” Broomhall said.

He added: “There are still wonderful things to see.”