Lakecaster Online

To Grab the Golden Ring
By Ed Snyder

An early June morning, "Somewhere, near Needmore Point, Lake Sam Rayburn, TX.

"Gosh, I love this lake!" expressed the tired, but happy angler. "You really don't know just how much you miss it until you've returned from a long trip," smiled Sam Rayburn Pro, Carl Svebek III, explaining that he had just returned from Wagoner, OK, where he competed at the Everstart tournament on Ft. Gibson. "And this is where it all started for me just a short three years ago, "Carl advised with a knowing grin while navigating the "Butter Boat" towards a shallow grass-pocket near Needmore Point.

Six-fifteen a.m.: Carl Svebek III walked in just in time to buy me a cup of wake-up at Piney Point Plaza, where, within but two sips and a gulp we were launching at Twin Dikes Park and heading out for some "down time" on Carl's first love, Lake Sam Rayburn TX, while chasing his 2nd- first love, black bass fishing.

"Everyone refers to my Land O'Lakes Boat as the 'butter boat', Carl chuckles, as he revs up the multi-colored craft and throttles out towards a distant shimmer on the horizon, "I really love this boat and everything that it stands for, Carl stated as we skim the lakes surface, reflecting high speed images of the "Land O' Lakes" colors. And with heads turning at every bend of the lake, it quickly became obvious to me that Carl's sleek $36,000 Ranger Bass Boat was designed to be noticed and not hidden.

Starting our morning of bass fishing working wacky worms along the inside edges of a grass-bed, Carl begins to bring me up to speed on his three year struggle to earn his status as a Professional Bass-angler.

"I've always had a love for fishing--since I was five or so," Carl began, "when my daddy always found time to take me fishing for bream, crappie, or bass, that eventually led me to fishing the local bass club tournaments. "By the time I found myself attending Woden High School, in East Texas, I was already fishing competitively in local tournaments and in some of the National Redman and the Bassin' America trails as well.

"It was while fishing those National circuits," Carl explained, "that I grew to love tournament fishing as a sport. "But this was also a time when I was attending Northwestern State in Louisiana, where I studied and played College Baseball for two years."

"It wasn't long though," Carl advised, "that I had to make a "tuff" decision between playing baseball, or re-concentrating my efforts as a competitive bass-angler. "The bass angle won out," Carl stated with a wide grin. "So, I returned home and entered S.F.A. in Nacogdoches, TX.

A short, but vigorous pause hobbles my notebook scribbling as Carl suddenly rears back on his rod, with it bending enough to alert that he was hooked-up into a good fish with some "heavy" shoulders. Quickly dropping his rod-tip to the water line, in an effort to keep the bass from jumping, but with no success, the sizable fish made three "heart-thumping" leaps before Carl could finally boat it. "A good heavy five, Carl advised, as I snapped a couple of pictures before he released it back to the lake.

"Now where were we? "OK, between my classes at SFA, Carl continued, "you'd most likely find me taking class-breaks on the lake fishing for bass. "It was also while I was at SFA that I met my wife-to-be, "Kelly Petersen, Carl beamed, adding that he was quick to change Kelly's name to Svebek. "Kelly became my anchor, Carl praised, "as she started providing me with the kind of loving, solid family support that would help to sustain me through my trials and tribulations of becoming what I often dreamed about, making it as a Professional bass fisherman.

"After college," Carl continued, "I employed with Polk Oil Company of Lufkin TX, and started a normal working lifestyle that provided for my family, which soon included our two daughters, Carlie Ann and McKenzie. But on weekends, I would fish the local club tournaments as well as the Angler's Choice and Bass-N-Buck circuits. "It was at this time that started fishing the B.A.S.S. and Redman circuits, Carl included, "not making a whole lot of money from any of them, but winning just enough to help pay my expenses as well as some of our family bills.

"It was also at this time that I met Don Collins, Carl noted, "owner/proprietor of Piney Point Plaza, "Don and I hit it off right away as friends and business associates, Carl informed, "as I worked for him by handling his fishing tackle department at the Sam Rayburn store."

"This was also when I finally made the listing of the B.A.S.S. Top 100 tournament trail, Carl informed, "and after making it as a top 100 angler I just kind of figured that things would start coming to me, "but", this was also to become a very important learning experience," Carl noted.

"This was when I started meeting some of the key people that would begin to help me to reach the next level. "And, it was also at this time that I almost lost it all as my tournament fishing hit a serious slump by winning only one check out of the seven Bassmaster tournaments that I fished that year. "I just really felt that my fishing career was at an end by then, Carl fretted, "knowing that I couldn't make it with that kind of negative income I just pretty much decided then that I was on my way out.

"But, I guess someone upstairs still wanted me to keep fishing, "Carl informed, "as the EverStart circuit scheduled to hold one of its 1998 tournaments on Lake Sam Rayburn. "And I won it, Carl "wide-eyed" as the my EverStart win became my salvation, Carl praised, "Which gave me the extra boost that I needed to re-generate my confidence levels at pursuing a professional bass angler career.

"I really didn't think about winning that EverStart event, Carl thought out loud, "I just knew that I was excited about being able to fish a new up and coming tournament which was affiliated with Operation Bass and the National FLW tour, "Carl informed. "But, winning that Sam Rayburn event actually put my life back into "overdrive" I qualified to fish the National FLW tour where I started earning "sizable" tournament checks in three out of my next 6 events, which helped me to continue on to this year. "And this year has been absolutely phenomenal for me, Carl advised, "as I started out with a whole new frame of mind, "knowing that my family would be taken care of, and in return, would be giving me 100% support for what I needed to do.

Carl started his "phenomenal" year with an FLW tournament at Lake Okeechobee in Florida, where he finished 19th to make a check, and keep going to the next event being held on the Pascagoula River, in Mississippi, from which, according to Carl, earned a "real valuable" learning experience. His 3rd stop was at Lake Murray in South Carolina where he made the cut and finished in 10th place. From there Carl went to Beaver Lake in Arkansas, making the top 10 cut, then following up with a top five cut where he finished in 3rd which earned him a lot of newspaper coverage and air time on ESPN. "And it was this national media coverage that provided me with my golden opportunity for opening those doors to my present sponsorships, Carl advised, "as my win was put in full view of "Millions".

Bowing up on a sudden bite that froze an image of angler -verses- fish, the "toe to toe" stand off finally "blinked" as Carl's line snapped, giving the winning moment to the fish. Carl quickly shucked it off with, "Welp, "you can't win them all as there will always be the one that humbles you!

Currently ranking third in the Everstart Central Invitationals, with one more tournament to fish at Cypress Gardens, Florida in November, Carl also holds a 7th place ranking in the FLW circuit for the "Angler of the Year" standings, with only one more tournament remaining at Pickwick Lake, Alabama on June 21-24.

As we finish our morning of bass fishing, with Carl boating seven, of his eight bass to my four bass, with two lost, and as we slowly make our way back to the launch-ramp, Carl confides to me, "I qualified to fish in the FLW Championship this year which is to be held on the Red River out of Shreveport, LA on September 13-16, and I'm really excited, and thrilled about being able to fish in this Championship that will be held so close to home as it will mean so much to me to have the visible support of my family and friends.

"And another nice thing has come my way this year, Carl announced, "I've been invited to attend "The Great Outdoor Games" in Lake Placid, NY, next month, where ESPN & ESPN II will air live video action of the week long Great Outdoor Sporting Games.

The Great Outdoor Games will involve a variety of outdoor games which will include sporting dog trials, men's & women's log rolling contests, fly casting contests, timber board jiggers, archery contests, rifle & shotgun shoots, timber hot saw contests, tree topping, timber runs, with much more outdoor action which will also include Carl Svebek competing against the top ten FLW bass anglers in the nation in a special "Great Outdoors" Bass Fishing tournament.
Great Outdoors Bass Tournament Schedule:
July 22- 6:30am- to 3:30pm- Bass Fishing Qualifying- Oseetah Lake.
July 22- 7:pm to 8:pm- Bass Tournament Weigh-in- The Oval
July 23- 6:30am- to 3:30pm- Bass Fishing Final Day- Oseetah Lake.
July 23- 5:30pm- to 6:30pm- Final Tournament Weigh-in- The Oval.
(Times listed are EST times-subject to changes-check local listings for airing schedules by clicking to <www.espn.go.com/outdoors/s/gogeventschedule>)-

Eleven-Fifteen a:m:..."As we slowly ease our way into the launch-ramp area, Carl smiled that "munchkin grin" of his, and stated, "You know, "I'm slowly but surely beginning to realize now that, "HEY, I've finally made it as a Professional Bass fisherman, and this is what I do! "Man, that makes me feel reeeal good!"

Land O'Lakes, Evinrude Outboards and Ranger Boats, "and" the great people of Jasper and Sam Rayburn, Texas, sponsor Carl Svebek III.


Carl Svebek and his first love, Bass fishing

Carl Svebek with his "heavy five"
< photos by Ed Snyder >

"The Butter Boat"

Carl Svebek II & Family

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