Inside Elite Boats: Bernie Schultz

Bernie Schultz has fished competitively for more than 40 years. In that time, he has qualified for nine Bassmaster Classics and five FLW Championships, amassing more than $2 million in career winnings. Take a tour of this veteran pro’s Caymas CX 21 Pro to see how it’s set up.
Wrapped in a matte-black finish by BB Graphics of Ocala, Fla., Schultz’s Mercury-powered Caymas CX21 Pro is a standout on the Bassmaster Elite Series — where he has fished since the tour’s inception.
“My title sponsor is J.L. Marine of Tampa, Fla. — makers of Power-Pole shallow-water anchors, CHARGE battery management systems and MOVE trolling motors,” states Schultz. “I helped in testing the new MOVE trolling motor for more than two years. It is without a doubt, the best trolling motor ever brought to market.”
Here’s a close-up of the MOVE’s compact head, showing its LED display lights. Schultz claims, “It’s the quietest, strongest and most efficient trolling motor ever developed. It requires 30% less battery than other trolling motors, that means longer use with less charging time.”
The MOVE’s hydrodynamic foot houses an extremely powerful, brushless motor that even features a reverse-mode option.
The MOVE is equipped with a lifetime titanium shaft and Dyneema pull cord – which according to J.L. Marine’s engineers are stronger than steel.
Schultz says the scissor-style ZR bracket is incredibly strong and stealthy, and will remain so even after years of repetitive use.
Compared to other trolling motors he’s owned, Schultz says the MOVE’s “Stealth Steering Drive” feature is more compact, quick to respond and absolutely silent.
Mounted at the bow are a pair of 12-inch Garmin ECHOMAP units — one set up for Panoptix LiveScope, the other for side- or down-scanning and contour referencing. “I know the trend is toward multiple, larger screens, but I prefer a simpler setup … one that is less cluttered,” shares the Florida pro.
To the left of the foot pedal is a digital gauge that indicates which mode the MOVE is in and the thrust level it’s operating at.
Also to the left is a footswitch to activate the anchor mode (or spot lock) on the trolling motor.
This shows the MOVE’s ergonomic foot pedal, flanked by stomp switches to operate the 8-foot Power-Pole Blades mounted at the stern.
The CX21 features a waterproof bow panel for controlling various accessories, including the trim, lighting, livewells, etc. There’s also a handy cup and tool holder located just below.
The CX21 Pro boasts a huge portside rod locker, capable of holding rods greater than 8 feet in length. “It handles more rods than I should carry,” quips Schultz.
Here’s an assortment of setups on the deck. They include various Shimano Expride casting rods paired to Metanium MGL reels. His lure selection includes a Z-Man JackHammer with Yamamoto Zako trailer, Shimano Macbeth Big 75F crankbait and World Minnow jerkbait.
Here’s a look at Shimano’s World Diver, which features Flash Boost — a unique Mylar strip that flickers continuously, even when the lure is at rest. “Flash Boost gives the lure added life,” says Schultz, “as if it has a heartbeat.”
For shallower applications, he likes the Macbeth Original Hybrid-Edge Square Bill, which runs between 3 to 5 feet. “It’s the most buoyant squarebill I’ve ever thrown,” he claims. “It deflects off hard cover incredibly well, and bass can’t stand that … especially big ones!”
Here’s a utility box full of Shimano lures.
In preparation for the next B.A.S.S. Elite event, Schultz pulls out a spinning outfit for finesse applications.
Whether it’s a Yamamoto Senko or Scope Shad, he likes the reliable action of a 7-foot, 2-inch Shimano Expride paired with a Stradic 3000 size reel. He spools it with 10-pound Power Pro Super8Slick V2 braid and 10-pound Mastiff fluorocarbon leader.
A self-admitted neat freak, Schultz files his utility boxes like books in the center compartment of his Caymas. “I’m guilty of carrying too much tackle,” he confesses. “But it gives me added confidence knowing I have what I need, regardless of the situation.”
He repurposes old plastic film canisters for carrying some of his terminal tackle — in this case, plastic beads.
One of Schultz’s favorite techniques is throwing fluke-style baits, like this Yamamoto D-Shad in pearl white.
Another go-to lure is a Ned Senko rigged to a mushroom-style jighead. His favorite color is green pumpkin, watermelon laminate.
Located just in front of the console is a day box, which features a pullout tray. There, he stores various backup lures, line spools, tape and fast-drying glue.
Below it are his waterproof spinnerbait boxes, which hold the spinnerbaits he designed for Hildebrandt — including The Blade and Tin Roller.
Here’s a shot of a box, which he says he helped design for Woodstream decades ago. “I gave them the idea of inserting a rubber gasket within a grooved channel, to make their utility boxes waterproof,” says Schultz. “I got the idea from my brother’s underwater camera housing, and it turned out to be a huge seller for the brand.”
In front of the day box is another rod locker, which Schultz uses for storing his butt seat, push pole, paddle and boat bumpers.
To the side of the console is a handy tool rack with sleeves to hold the measuring board and various tools.
At the console are a pair of 12-inch ECHOMAPS — one for down- and side-scanning, the other for 2D viewing and navigation … and more! Utilizing Garmin’s new MFD integration technology, Schultz can monitor and control his Power-Poles and CHARGE system through his graphs. Power-Pole’s Gateway enables the graphs to facilitate the functions of both, which allows for total control at the helm.
Attached to the steering column are levers for controlling tilt and trim, and adjusting the height of his Atlas hydraulic jackplate. “They’re not only convenient,” says Schultz, “levers on the steering column are much safer. With them, I never have to take my hands off the wheel.”
To throttle his Mercury 250 Pro XS, Schultz has a T-H Marine Hot Foot secured to the floor beneath the console.
Like his bow units, Schultz’s tandem 12-inch ECHOMAPS are secured to a heavy-duty BoatLogix mounting bracket — an OEM product option offered by Caymas Boats.
Stable and secure, various graph functions are easily implemented, even at high speeds.
Here’s the charging port for the MOVE’s remote control, which mounted to the dash behind one of the ECHOMAPS.
Here’s a better look at the remote, which controls all functions of the MOVE trolling motor, as well as the Power-Pole Blades mounted on the stern.
Between the driver and passenger seats is a step/storage box, perfect for holding miscellaneous items — like sunscreen, spare shades, colored marking pens, dock lines, etc.
On the left side of the dash is a Caymas gauge that monitors speed, fuel consumption, water pressure, battery voltage and engine temperature. Beside it is a gauge for referencing the height of the Atlas jackplate.
On the right side of the dash is a handy compartment for storing and charging a cellphone. It features two USB ports.
Overall, the entire space has a clean, uncluttered look.
Located front-center of the rear deck are side-by-side, large capacity livewells. “They’ll easily hold big bass and heavyweight stringers,” says Schultz. “I’ve kept numerous 25-plus-pound catches alive and well because of the volume of water they hold.”
Oxygenators located on the sidewalls of each well ensure plenty of aeration.
Flanking the livewells are a pair of large storage compartments. He uses the one behind the driver’s seat to store his foul weather gear, balance beam, scale, spare reels, large line spools, towels, first-aid kit and screen protectors for the Garmins. The other compartment is for storing his soft-plastic baits
At the rear of the back deck is a large lid for accessing the bilge and battery compartment. On the starboard side are two 12-volt AGM batteries — one for powering the boat and Power-Poles, the other for electronics. Both are wired to on/off battery switches and connected to a Power-Pole CHARGE Battery Management System.
Here’s one of two Power-Pole hydraulic pumps.
On the port side are a pair of Don’t Die 36-volt lithium-ion batteries — a power source Schultz says he won’t go without. “Not only are Don’t Die Lithiums incredibly strong and durable, they have a built-in GPS transmitter that’s monitored 24/7 at Lithium Battery Company’s headquarters in Tampa, Fla.

“If my boat is ever stolen or breaks down, they can find it through their exclusive GPS tracking feature. The company can also monitor the performance of my batteries and the entire trolling system. If there’s a problem, they can pinpoint it. And should a battery ever go to sleep (which can be an issue with lithium batteries), Don’t Die’s unique, illuminated reset button will instantly reboot the battery, allowing it to accept a charge.”

Like Power-Pole’s C-Monster smartphone app, Don’t Die Lithiums also have an app to monitor battery performance.
Here’s a better look at Schultz’s Don’t Die batteries, wired in series. Schultz says there’s really no need for a second 36-volt lithium. He carries it more for spare power should he ever encounter a charging issue, such as hotels lacking adequate AC outlets. “I can go two full days on the trolling motor without recharging,” says Schultz. “And with a Power-Pole CHARGE, even longer … as it sends charging amps from the outboard’s alternator anytime I’m under power.”
To secure the big Mercury Pro-XS for trailering, Schultz uses a DD26 transom bracket with steering locks.
Here’s a good look at his 10-inch Atlas hydraulic jackplate with Power-Pole mounting bracket.
For Schultz, his 8-foot Power-Pole Blades are essential tools. “They make me a better angler, simply because they provide better boat control … not only in shallow-water situations, but offshore using their Drift Paddles to slow my drift speed.”
He’s also extremely loyal to Mercury Marine, whose outboards he’s run his entire career. “I couldn’t imagine running any other engine. I’ve been with Mercury so long, they’re like family to me.”