At a time when people in the path of what would become Hurricane Barry may were debating whether to leave or stay in Louisiana, Caleb Sumrall was anxious to go home and be with his family in New Iberia.
Sumrall was 1,028.93 miles away, however, as he thought about what to do July 12.
The 32-year-old Bassmaster Elite Series angler enjoying his second year on the pro bass circuit was one of a handful of Elites from Louisiana attending the ICAST show July 9-12 in Orlando, Florida. They were concerned about the storm because in its earlier stages the eye was forecast to pass somewhere between Baton Rouge and Lafayette.
“I knew it wasn’t going to be a bad storm. All I was concerned about was rain with my house being close to Tee Bayou,” Sumrall said Friday afternoon, less than a week after he left Orlando and returned to New Iberia.
“I wanted to be home. No doubt,” he said.
So did Tyler Carriere of Youngsville, Quentin Cappo of Prairieville, Robbie Latuso of Gonzales, Tyler Rivet of Raceland and Derek Hudnall of Baton Rouge. They said as much on the last day of ICAST, which is the premier showcase for the latest innovations in fishing gear, accessories and apparel.
Jacie Chauvin Sumrall, Sumrall’s wife, said she was hopeful her husband could get home before the worst of the storm arrived in Iberia Parish. He flew Frontier to Orlando on Tuesday but was undecided how he would return to New Iberia.
He considered flying back to New Orleans, where he left his pickup truck. He opted to rent a vehicle from Budget, left early Saturday morning, drove to New Orleans to get his familiar black Toyota Tundra and arrived home approximately 12 hours later on Saturday.
“He was calling pretty much nonstop, asking how things were, if we picked up things outside. I was pretty relieved when he got home. He got home safely and that’s all that matters,” Jacie Sumrall said around midday Wednesday.
The drive west along Interstate 10 was delayed for a long time by a wreck-related traffic jam in Alabama, he said. He drove through inclement weather but nothing life-threatening, he said.
“It wasn’t bad, just like driving through a thunderstorm. It wasn’t windy,” he said.
His wife said the electricity went out in their home in rural Iberia Parish at approximately 2:30 p.m. Saturday, while he was on the road. A generator kept the refrigerator going and she took their daughter, Clélié, 7, and son, Axel, 1 ½, to his mother’s house in Loreauville.
“She saved the day, I tell you that. It was nice,” she said about staying with Patti Delcambre.
Power was restored to their home around noon Monday, Jacie said.
Barry made landfall as a Category 1 hurricane on Intracoastal City on Saturday, then weakened to tropical storm status and roared through the rest of Acadiana.
“The storm took forever to pass but I’m thankful we didn’t have any damage,” Jacie said.
Sumrall said ICAST was “a good show.” He made contacts with people in the bass fishing industry and with his sponsors.
And he looked at beau coup fishing tackle, fishing gear, accessories and apparel.
“I checked out what’s coming. Everybody comes out with something new each year to keep up with the times,” he said.
Since then, Sumrall has been taking advantage of the summer break before the next Elite tournament scheduled to be held Aug. 15-18 on the St. Lawrence River in Waddington, New York.
“I’m enjoying the time off. I’ll leave next week, next Sunday,” he said, “to get acclimated up north.”
After the St. Lawrence River, Sumrall and the other Elites hook up their boats and head to Cayuga Lake in Union Springs, New York, for the SiteOne Bassmaster Elite on Aug. 22-25.
Sumrall is hopeful of improving his position in the Angler of the Year standings through the first six tournaments of 2019. He is in 30th place with 403 points and leads the Elite contingent from the Sportsman’s Paradise.
Rivet is 40th with 371 points, followed by Rivet, 371; Latuso, 326; Hudnall, 313; Carriere, 255; Cappo, 279, and Preuett, 254.
They all are chasing frontrunner Drew Cook’s 502 points. Cook, of Midway, Florida, is locked in a tight race with a slim lead over