h, modern technology. It never ceases to amaze an older guy like me.
New Iberia’s Bassmaster Elite angler Caleb Sumrall fished the second day of the Academy Sports + Outdoors Bassmaster Elite tournament Saturday at Lake Guntersville in Alabama. While Caleb was punching a ticket into the third day of fishing by making the Top 35 cut for the third straight tournament after finishing 11th in April at Winyah Bay and in May when he finished 24th at Lake Fork, we were able to watch him at work.
The personable 32-year-old local outdoorsman was enjoying perhaps the most productive day of his pro bass fishing career on a legendary bass fishery in Alabama, where coincidentally, odds are he’ll return for the Bassmaster Classic in 2020. And we saw parts of it live on www.bassmaster.com and followed his catches throughout the exciting day on the same site by clicking the BassTrakk Leaderboard tab. When Caleb made his move to solidify his place in Semifinal Sunday, his every move and tactic was being shown live by his marshal, who filmed it and the production crew picked it up. Unlike most of the Elites who were fishing ledges and other structure offshore, Caleb was fishing much like he would at Toledo Bend or, even, the Atchafalaya Basin and Lake Dauterive-Fausse Pointe.
Caleb had his five-fish limit and was flippin’ soft plastics in and around grass in 1- to 3-foot depths in the upper reaches of the lake. While the camera was on him live, he hooked and boated a 3-pound, 4-ounce bass, then a few minutes later connected on a 2-pound, 12-ounce bass, and those two fish culled two smaller bass to give him an estimated 15 pounds, 15 ounces. He was mic’d up during the live segment just before noon and talked with hosts Mark Zona and Tommy Sanders. He explained how he was fishing the grass beds, picking apart “obvious” places, mostly points, with the soft plastic.
“They’re just waiting to ambush anything,” he said on air.
Caleb admitted he wasn’t where the bulk of fish were located and being caught by a handful of the early leaders, mostly on the lake’s notorious ledges, where crank baits, swim baits and other soft plastics were taking a toll. But, he said in the same breath, he was doing what he liked to do and would keep the flippin’ stick in his hand and hope to get his arm broken by a big ol’, mad bass.
It was quite a show at the time starring the young man who has made the Teche Area oh-so proud of his ascent to the Bassmaster Elites, starting when he won the B.A.S.S. Nation Championship in October 2017 on Lake Hartwell near Anderson, South Carolina.
Can’t wait to watch him today and, hopefully, Monday. Geaux Caleb!
DON SHOOPMAN is outdoors editor of The Daily Iberian.