Carl Svebek III has been a professional angler for most of his life. He cut his teeth fishing tournaments on Sam Rayburn Reservoir, and he went on to compete on the FLW Tlur as an adult.
Eight years ago, Svebek dropped out of sight. He stopped fishing professionally. He had lost his title sponsor and was going through a divorce. So he decided to give up the sport he loved to spend more time with his children, who hadn’t seen much of him while he was on the road fishing.
Svebek returned to pro angling 18 months ago. He made the biggest splash of his professional career on Saturday by winning the Sabine River Bassmaster Central Open on the Texas/Louisiana border. His 12-03 stringer on the final day gave him a three-day total of 36-12, which was just enough to vault over T-Roy Broussard, who led the tournament the first two days.
Svebek, who moved to Orange, Texas (site of the launch) last year, was in 2nd place heading into Saturday’s competition, and he took the hot seat with only Broussard remaining to weigh-in. Broussard had only 10 pounds in his sack, which sealed the win for the 50-year-old Svebek. An ecstatic Svebek leaped into the air and pumped his fist repeatedly as the hometown crowd burst into celebration.
“This is absolutely a dream come true,” he said. “To be able to win this tournament in front of all these people from Orange is really special to me. I’ll never forget it.”
“I’m fishing the Bassmaster Classic,” he marveled aloud to the large crowd who greeted him offstage. “Can you believe it?”
Svebek fished the marshes just on the Louisiana side of the Sabine, which was about a 20-minute run downriver. His key bait for the week was a Zoom Super Fluke (bluegill color) rigged Texas-style with a Bass Pro Shops XPS EWG hook, and he threw a frog during the afternoons.
Here are the final totals for the top 12:
1. Carl Svebek III: 36-12
2. T-Roy Broussard: 36-01
3. Chad Morgenthaler: 34-10
4. Jeff Avery: 34-00
5. Shane Cormier: 33-12
6. Randy Sullivan: 33-10
7. Josh Bertrand: 29-14
8. Matthew Delaney: 29-09
9. Trey Smith: 29-08
10. John Garrett: 29-02
11. Jonathan Simon: 28-06
12. Terry Luedtke: 26-08