Caleb Sumrall is the highest-ranking Louisianian in the Bassmaster Elite point standings following his 24th place finish last weekend at Lake Fork near Emory, Texas.
The New Iberia bass angler inched up to 42nd in the Toyota Angler of the Year race for 2019. Sumrall, who has 306 points through the first five tournaments, has notched back-to-back semifinal appearances after making the cut April 15 at Winyah Bay, South Carolina, where he finished 11th, and again at Lake Fork.
Sumrall, whose 32nd birthday is May 20, and the other 73 Bassmaster Elites have an unscheduled break in the schedule after Wednesday’s announcement that the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite tournament scheduled for May 16-19 has been postponed due to flood conditions at Fort Gibson Lake in Oklahoma. It has been rescheduled to be held Sept. 16-22.
B.A.S.S. officials said they decided to postpone the next tournament on the schedule after flood conditions on Fort Gibson Lake forced the closing of launch and weigh-in facilities at Taylor Ferry North Recreation Area in Wagoner.
Sumrall’s next Bassmaster Elite tournament is scheduled to be held June 21-24 at Lake Guntersville in Scottsboro, Alabama. That’s when he resumes his quest to finish in the Top 50 in points and advance to the AOY Championship at Lake St. Clair in Harrison Township, Michigan, where the Top 40 earn automatic berths into the 2020 Bassmaster Classic.
Sumrall kept his momentum going last week at the Toyota Bassmaster Texas Fest, where his wife, Jacie, daughter, Clelie, and son, Axel, were able to attend the tournament and festivities at Lake Fork.
During Texas Fest, bass are caught, weighed and released immediately. Then they’re entered into the BASSTrakk leaderboard, leaving a perfect log of when each catch took place.
After the first day May 2, he was in 44th. His expertise with a plastic frog took over the next day and he culled to a five-fish limit weighing 22.50 pounds, including a 7-pound, 8-ounce, lunker bass that vaulted him into 20th place and into the semifinal round on Sunday.
Sumrall and the rest of the Top 35 took a break from tournament fishing on Saturday for the tournament’s Outdoors Expo at Sabine River Authority in Quitman.
He went out Sunday and started the day with a bang, hooking and boating a 3-pound, 10-ounce bass recorded at 7:53 a.m. His fifth bass, which gave him his limit, was a 3-14 at 10:39 that bit 28 minutes after a 3-3.
A 2-14 culled a 2-6 at 11:24 a.m., then he caught his biggest bass of the day, a 4-10, at 12:11 p.m. That fish replaced a 2-13.
Sumrall finished with 18 pounds, 3 ounces, for a three-day total of 55 pounds, 13 ounces, and won $13,500.
Patrick Walters of Summerville, South Carolina, is atop the AOY standings with 432 points. Sumrall leads Louisiana’s Bassmaster Elites and is followed by Tyler Rivet, 285; Derek Hudnall, 260, and Robbie Latuso, 242.