It was a good day to be a duck here in Knoxville for day two of the Guaranteed Rate Bassmaster Elite on the Tennessee River. Elite Series pros were faced with 45-degree temperatures and a bone soaking, all day rain that began an hour after take off and continued through weigh-in.
Unfortunately the change in forecast didn’t seem to make the fish bite much better for most of the field, with the exception of guys like Xpress-Yamaha pro Caleb Sumrall. After bringing two keepers to the scale yesterday, which had him tied for 60th place, Sumrall weighed an impressive 13-lbs 14-ounces on day two.
Sumrall’s bag of fish ended up being one of the largest of the day and rocketed him up the leaderboard into 25th place. After finishing a disappointing 83rd at the first event of the year in Florida, Sumrall said his solid bag of fish “meant everything” today.
“After struggling at the St. Johns River – a place I feel I should do well – I needed a good tournament here,” Sumrall admitted. “I ‘ve been beating myself after the last derby, so today was huge for my confidence. Momentum, your confidence, and even financial struggles all play in to how you fish each day.
“Once a caught a limit and felt like I should make it to fish day three, I started to fish better and it allowed me to make a few key culls. I fished the same areas, the same baits, the same everything… the difference was execution. My mind was in in a better place today, and that helped me execute on those key bites.”
It may have been wet, cold, and rainy during weigh-in but Sumrall was all smiles to be heading into Saturday in a good position. Along with some extremely valuable Angler of the Year points, Sumrall earned at least a $10,000 paycheck thanks to his Friday rally.
Sumrall’s home in Louisiana was experiencing historic winter weather as he packed for this event, so cold temperatures were on his mind. But after checking the forecast one last time before leaving, the former oil field worker wisely made a phone call to order a few more sets of Carhartt Force Base layers, a pair of heavy gloves, and an extra rain jacket.
“Those base layers have been worth their weight in gold this week,” Sumrall said with a smile. “You hear bass fishermen talk about how much of a difference their apparel makes all the time, and on weeks like this it is absolutely true. I’m a Louisiana boy and I don’t get along real well with the cold. I’m serious when I tell you that last minute Carhartt order has been clutch.”