Tomorrow morning marks the official start of the 50th Bassmaster Classic on Lake Guntersville and the chance to turn a lifelong dream into reality for someone in the 53-angler field. Classic competitors have battled rain, wind, infamous Guntersville boat traffic, and a restless off-the-water schedule this week. They have officially earned their opportunity to go fishing.
As Classic Media Day was coming to a close, we caught up with Carhartt Elite Series pros Caleb Sumrall and Chris Zaldain to get some last minute insight before they finished their tackle prep and headed to the lake.
What’s the hardest thing about the Bassmaster Classic to deal with, both on and off the water?
Zaldain – “Following the jam-packed agenda is by far the most difficult thing off the water. Our days are planned down to the minute with different events and functions this week, and staying focused on the real reason we are all here is tough. It’s a big time distraction for sure.”
“On the water I’d say all the boat traffic. The Bassmaster Classic is the biggest event in bass fishing, so the competition is more intense and spectator boat traffic is ramped up, too.”
Sumrall – “Off the water it’s easy… time spent away from fishing. The Bassmaster Classic week is hectic so trying to stay mentally focused on fishing with all the hoopla is difficult.
“On the water… I’m not sure really. I guess we’ll find out tomorrow!"
What’s one thing you do in your preparation to try and set yourself apart from the competition?
Zaldain – “I try to be as meticulous as possible with all my equipment. I ensure everything is brand new and ready to go. From my boat to my hooks – it all needs to be in the best shape possible.”
Sumrall – “Running. Getting as many miles in leading up to this event got me feeling right mentally and physically. In my mind I want to be working harder than all my competition, I feel like it gives me an edge.”
It’s been a volatile weather week in Alabama, will tomorrow be a ball cap or a beanie type of morning?
Zaldain – “Well we’re going to be facing a strong north wind and a cold-front, so it’ll definitely be a Carhartt beanie type of morning. I’m sure I’ll be thankful for all my Carhartt layers in the morning.”
Sumrall – “It’s going to be a Carhartt A18 beanie entire day as far as I’m concerned! Heck it’ll be a Carhartt base layers day, too. Us Louisiana boys don’t like this cold weather!”
What breakfast meal is going to be key to your success tomorrow?
Zaldain – “I keep it simple. Just one apple Nutrigrain bar and a banana. Then I’ll be snacking hard throughout the day.”
Sumrall – “Everything I can get my hands on. I am a big breakfast guy… I’m going to say I’ll eat about 3 breakfast burritos and a couple bananas. The last thing I want to think at 10 a.m. is ‘I’m hungry’.”