Anderson, S.C. – Caleb Sumrall, a south Louisiana angler who developed his skills on the bayou and in the marsh, didn’t feel confident after his official practice for the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship on South Carolina’s Lake Hartwell. After four days, he’d caught a total of seven keeper bass, but a developing pattern and close attention to changing conditions led him to victory over the best of the best of bass fishing’s amateur ranks. He weighed in three limits that totaled 36 pounds 12 ounces, to earn the trophy by a margin of more than two pounds. For his efforts, he earned a fully-rigged boat and motor, a berth in the 2018 Bassmaster Classic, $16,000 toward his reserved Elite Series entry, and the “B.A.S.S. Nation’s Best Package” which includes use of a boat and paid entry fees in one division of the Bassmaster Opens. He has until late November to commit to the Elite Series, but he fully intends to accept the spot.
He’s unabashed about his love for skinny water angling: “I need grass in my life,” he said. “I love to pitch and flip. I love to throw a spinnerbait and a Chatterbait. Typically, I like to fish so shallow that you don’t need a front graph.” Despite those preferences, he demonstrated his adaptability by making himself at home on Hartwell’s deeper environs, catching schooling bass with a combination of lures including a topwater Evergreen Shower Blows, a Fluke and a dropshot.
“I had to learn quick about the dropshot,” he recalled. The need to become versatile led him to fish the Northern Opens this year, and he worked on that technique specifically at Oneida with the long term goal of becoming a full-time touring pro.
Sumrall’s success was predicated on his ability to run and gun, hitting 40 to 60 spots a day, and that efficiency was enhanced by his Bass Cat Eyra.
“I’d much rather be running 75 to 77 miles per hour than 65 miles per hour,” he said. “All of the time that I saved over the course of the day really added up. When you’re making a lot of long runs around the lake, it all comes down to the amount of time that you spend fishing. It’s all about being efficient. My Bass Cat won that tournament for me.” The 2017 Eyra, purchased from Town & Country Marine in Trout, Louisiana, is the first new boat that he’s owned, and for the same reasons it excelled at Hartwell it also excels whether he’s fishing in the marsh or on the big waters of Toledo Bend.
“We try to make a boat that fits the specific and varied needs of tournament anglers,” said Bass Cat President Rick Pierce. “It has to draft relatively little water but still handle the rough stuff and be responsive on the trolling motor. The Eyra is a very popular model because it does all of that and is also lightning fast.
The victory could not have come at a better time for the 30 year old Sumrall, who lost his job of 12 years shortly before the event.
“It was weighing on me,” he said. “But sometimes when one door closes another one opens. I want to fish and that’s all there is to it. I’m scared out of my mind [about the competition on the Elite Series], but I can promise you this – if I fall flat on my face and fail, it won’t be for lack of effort.”
“Caleb is the type of young man we want to support,” Pierce added. “We are glad that his victory qualified him for a payout from our industry-leading Quest bonus program. We look forward to watching his career progress and we are proud that our product played a role in his success to this point. We wish him the best of luck.”
For more information about the Quest program, go to https://www.basscat.com/info/literature/quest/
About Bass Cat: Bass Cat, owned by Correct Craft, manufactures the industry’s premier bass fishing boats from its headquarters in Mountain Home, Arkansas. Family operated since it’s founding in 1971, Bass Cat is the longest continuously operating tournament bass boat company in the United States. For more information visit www.basscat.com.
About Correct Craft: Celebrating 92 years of excellence in the marine industry, Correct Craft is a Florida-based company with global operations. The Correct Craft family includes Nautique, Centurion, Supreme, Bass Cat, Yar-Craft, SeaArk, and Bryant boat companies, Pleasurecraft Engine Group, and Aktion Parks. For more information please visit www.correctcraft.com.