Late 2017 was a time in Caleb Sumrall’s journey he will never forget. In life-changing fashion, he won the B.A.S.S. Nation National Championship on Lake Hartwell to launch his pro career, and six weeks later a very rare pre-Christmas snowfall blanketed his Southern Louisiana home.
Speed ahead three years, and while Sumrall doesn’t see snow in Cajun country’s forecast, he is absolutely certain quality time at home with family is his greatest Christmas gift, along with a framed note from his beloved grandma who passed-away two years ago.
“My grandma was a huge fan of my fishing career, and like all the other friends and family who were there, she signed the 'Congratulations' banner they made for me at the celebration party when I got home from my win at Hartwell,” explains Sumrall.
“She passed away not too long after that, and my wife Jacie made a copy of Granny’s signed section of the banner and had it framed for me. It’s one of the greatest Christmas gifts I’ve ever received,” reflects Sumrall.
Favorite Christmas gifts are easy to identify for the former oil field worker, and so are his favorite lures for catching bass during the holidays.
“A jig would be the obvious cold-water lure of choice for a lot of people, but I like to keep moving. So I lean pretty hard on a big Colorado blade spinnerbait and a Spro McStick 115 jerkbait at this time of year,” says Sumrall.
Water temps amid the holidays are often among the lowest of the year, even in Southern Louisiana, so Sumrall’s top two lure choices both play well to lethargic bass — with one big exception between the two — water clarity. The "thumper blade" spinnerbait performs well in stained to dirty water, while the jerkbait is his pick for cleaner water.
“Plenty of visibility is absolutely key to getting bites on a jerkbait. And since fish notoriously come loose on a jerkbait, I’ll give you a tip — add Gamakatsu finesse treble hooks to your jerkbaits. The finesse trebles have lighter wire, so you’ll get better penetration and lose way fewer fish,” advises Sumrall.
If water clarity is stained or dirty, Sumrall breaks out the single "hubcap" blade on his 1/2-ounce Kajun Boss spinnerbait in an effort to create plenty of vibration to stir the holiday appetites of shallow-water fatties.
“Not only does that big blade produce crazy amounts of vibration, but it also has so much resistance, you can’t help but slow down your retrieve, which is also key to getting bites in cold water,” he reasons.
Sumrall advises keeping the flash of the big blade just barely out of sight during your retrieve, and he throws it on 20-pound line, spooled to a 6.3:1 or 7.1:1 reel.
But there are two things you can be certain he won’t lose sight of this Christmas — “Granny’s” framed handwritten note, and the special goodness of time at home with Jacie; daughter, Clelie; and son, Axel.