A very special assignment

Couple announces pregnancy with fishing-themed photo

When I saw the name on the caller ID, I figured Caleb Sumrall was calling to talk fishing. And I was right — sort of.

“OK, so you’re the only one we’ve told,” the B.A.S.S. Nation angler from New Iberia, La., told me. “Jacie and I are having another baby. And you can’t tell anyone.”

I was a little baffled at why I would be the first person to know, and then Sumrall explained.

“We want you to take the announcement photo,” he said.

What he had in mind wasn’t your ordinary couple holding a sign shot: He wanted to get his wife and his 5-year-old daughter Clélie on his boat and capture a unique image that would work in his love of bass fishing with the thrill of the impending birth of his second child.

This was the first image taken to announcement upcoming birth of the Sumrall’s second child.

The only problem was that Celab was leaving for Missouri the next week to fish the B.A.S.S. Nation Central Divisional, and he’d be gone a full week. So we planned to meet at the Toledo Bend Bassmaster Elite Series and shoot the image after one evening. Well, he forgot his boat key in Missouri, so that didn’t work.

With Jacie chomping at the bit to let the cat out of the bag (hey, they hadn’t even told their parents),  I told him to let me know as soon as he received his key and we’d get together.

Four days later, we had his boat tucked into a grove of cypress trees gathering on the back deck to take a few shots. Jacie had made a really cool sign announcing “Another Fish in our Live-well. Weigh-in in November 2017.” It was the perfect addition to the shot.

Caleb had caught a couple of bass in a pond before we met, so he grabbed one and pulled it up just enough to see the fish. He looked over his shoulder and grinned at me while Jacie and little Clélie grinned in the background.

I pulled out my laptop and pulled the image into Photoshop so we could check it out, and the resulting image was perfect — at least for the Sumralls.

My goal was something even better. And I had an idea. It didn’t take too much convincing, and we were soon shooting along in search of some shallow water near some other cypress trees.

Caleb Sumrall sets the hook while his wife Jacie holds up a sign announcing they are expecting their second child in November.

Fifteen minutes later, I was slipping off the side of the boat to get into position so the boat would be backed by a beautiful group of cypress trees.

The idea was to have Caleb setting the hook while Jacie held the sign and joined Clélie in looking excited. Caleb handed Clélie the net, which really added a nice touch.

I tied his line to a limb behind me, and Caleb bowed up the rod. They were pretty cool images, but something was lacking.

Finally, Caleb suggested he hook on one of the bass and get Clélie landing the fish.

Perfect solution.

And then the bass decided it wanted to really get in on the action, jumping out of the water. So Caleb let the fish rest a minute, and then he put a little pressure on the bass and it thrashed to the top of the water — quick reactions allowed me to freeze the action, showing the airborne fish, Clélie reaching with the net and Caleb and Jacie celebrating in the background.

We couldn’t have asked for a better outcome.

This was truly one of the most-special assignments I’ve ever received, and I can’t thank the Sumralls enough for trusting me to help them create a unique way to announce their big news.

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About Andy Crawford

Andy Crawford has been a photographer and writer for more than 20 years, with thousands of images and articles published in magazines and newspapers around the country. He now focuses on Louisiana photography, landscapes, HDR photography, urban prints and other fine art photography. He also is a portrait photographer.