For the second year, the College B.A.S.S. champion will be part of the Bassmaster Classic field. But this year, another 2013 Classic competitor can trace at least part of his success to College B.A.S.S.
Albert Collins won the Toyota Tundra Weekend Series Championship on Sam Rayburn Reservoir earlier this month to earn the 53rd and final spot in next year's Classic at Oklahoma's Grand Lake. One of the primary lures Collins used in catching his 86.56-pound four-day total was a 6th Sense Custom Lures Crush 300DD deep diving crankbait.
That lure can be traced to the 2005 SmashMouth College B.A.S.S. national championship, as it was called then. The winners were Casey Sobczak and Jonathan Garrie of Stephen F. Austin University. Their winnings included an airbrush and lure-painting kit.
"The (6th Sense) lure business started with that airbrush," said Scobczak, now 29. "The kit had it all. It was great. We didn't need to buy anything."
Before Scobczak and Garrie went back home to Texas after the win, Elite Series pro Scott Rook showed them how to use the lure-painting kit in an episode of the TV series BassTech.
Sobczak says he's always had interest in being an entrepreneur. Before graduating with a business and marketing degree from SFA in 2007, Sobczak earned spending money by buying and reselling various items on E-Bay.
"After awhile, I got good with that lure kit and started painting them for my buddies, the college B.A.S.S. club members and their dads," Sobczak said. "People were wanting to pay for them, so I decided to list one on E-Bay. It sold for 20-something dollars. That's when I knew there was some profit to be made in this.
"E-Bay really grew my business. I was selling three or four a week, then 20 a week, then 50 a week. By the time I graduated, it was a full-time business."
Garrie and Sobczak helped build the reputation of the 300DD crankbait with tournament winnings, mostly at Rayburn.
"I think it has probably won over $250,000 now," Sobczak said.
But as the business grew, Sobczak saw his fishing time shrink. While preparing for his first booth an the annual ICAST fishing tackle manufacturers trade show this year, Sobczak endured "a lot of 12-hour days," he said.
Sobczak recently had the concrete foundation slab poured for a new Sixth Sense Custom Lure Company 2,400-square-foot headquarters. It is located seven miles from Lake Conroe on Highway 45.
Sobczak and Collins, a 49-year-old plumber from Nacogdoches, Texas, were once members of the same local bass fishing club.
"When I heard that he'd won, I thought that no one deserves it more than Albert Collins," Sobczak said. "He's one of the greatest guys I've had the privilege to meet."