Not eight years ago, Carl Svebek III thought he'd never fish competitively again. He quit tournaments and sold all his gear, but some good friends, good fortune and good fishing resurrected his career for the second time.
Svebek put it all together in a major way with his first B.A.S.S. victory on Saturday June 17. By winning the Bass Pro Shops Central Open #2 on the Sabine River out of his hometown of Orange, Texas, he fulfilled a lifelong goal of fishing in a Bassmaster Classic.
“I never in my wildest dreams,” said Svebek, 50. “I’ve just been on Cloud Nine over all this.”
Svebek, whose dad fished some Bassmaster events, had his head in the clouds dreaming when he was 8. He vividly recalled visiting their fishing camp on Toledo Bend every weekend.
“I remember saying so many times, ‘Dad, I’m fishing in the Classic one day,’” Svebek said. “That ran over my mind Saturday, and that’s why I got real emotional. My dream finally came true.”
Editor's note: Read Svebek claims Sabine title.
SVEBEK’S FIRST RISE FROM ASHES
Svebek first fished a lone B.A.S.S. event in 1988, but he put it all on the line starting in 1995. A seventh-place finish in an invitational on his home lake of Sam Rayburn helped qualify him for the Top 100s, but he only made one check in nine events his first year and struggled again in 1997.
“I thought, I can’t do this anymore,” he said. “I had maxed out all my credit cards, had two little girls living in a trailer at Lake Sam Rayburn. I put the boat for sale and looked for a job.”
It wasn’t long before friend Shane Allman contacted him about a new series kicking off on Sam Rayburn. Svebek, who didn’t even know how he was going to pay the light bill, said he couldn’t afford to fish it. Allman’s mother was married to the namesake of Owens sausage and offered to pay his entry in that first EverStart, now the Costa series.
“I went and fished that tournament and I could do no wrong,” said Svebek, who won a Ranger boat, $25,000 and an invite to the FLW Tour.