By Capt. Jen Copeland
After mating a summer in the Gulf aboard a pretty little Carolina boat named Hook-N-Bull, Carter Drummond began his second year of college. It was the fall of 2009 and the 60-foot Billy Holton steamed toward Panama without him. With owner/operator Tom Shumate and Will Cocke at the helm, Carter was not sure he’d ever see her again. After trying to juggle his childhood love for fishing and school for over a year, fishing won out. Drummond took the next semester off and flew to Panama in pursuit of a dream.
With the Pacific season in the books, the threesome was underway to St. Thomas where they’d fish through the summer of 2010. Halfway to the Atlantic, Carter Drummond was “running” the boat. “It was then I seriously began thinking that this was what I’d like to do for a living.” For Captain Drummond this opportunity was transformative.
Carter considers himself lucky to have found such a pair as Shumate and Cocke – who provided him the direction and confidence to follow that dream, uninterrupted. In the two years prior to joining the Hook-N-Bull, at age 18, Carter fished a season in the Bahamas, Turks, and St. Thomas for Captain Jay Homer on the 82-foot Sea Force IX, Pier Pressure. Drummond credits Homer with giving him his first big break. “I had really only fished out of South Padre and this traveling thing was new – a real eye-opener for me,” Carter describes. “Jay is one of the more mechanically-inclined captains I’ve ever known, and he was great about sharing his talents with me.”
“When I started working on the first Hook-N-Bull, I was in charge of maintaining the boat. Both Tom Shumate and his brother-in-law, Will Cocke, had always owned boats,” said Drummond. “They had the experience and were there to point me in the right direction. If I had a problem, they’d figure it out with me, and I never was afraid to ask questions.”
While most every successful captain can name their influences without hesitation, it was Carter’s father who began the familial passion for sportfishing. Meredith Drummond chartered out of South Padre Island, Texas when Carter was a boy. The family fished most of the local club tournaments and fun fished on the weekends. From fishing with his family to charter fishing to mating just out of high school, Carter has “…kinda eased into it (the career of a professional sportfisherman).”
With a backstory like this, it’s no wonder that he shares the same career as his father and his older brother, Justin. At six years older, Carter credits his older brother as his primary inspiration. Texas-based Captain Justin Drummond, a “Young Gun” himself, has always been more than happy to show his younger brother the ropes.
This family bond has seen, and is likely to see, multiple generations of Captains Drummond. Not intimidated by traveling or fishing unfamiliar grounds, Carter says this job isn’t
for everyone. Like most things in life, there is always a caveat. The most difficult part of the job for him as a young skipper is his dealings with the boatyard. “A lot of yards see a younger, less experienced captain and think they can take advantage of the situation,” he explains.
By keeping the boss in the loop, a good log on man-hours, quotes, and a watchful eye on parts and materials, Drummond strengthens an already existing strong work ethic. The results show respect for the boss and his investment – a number one in any book – with every yard trip.
Captain Carter Drummond is still a work in progress. He is the classic example of one who is climbing the ladder to success. It starts low and it stays slow, but Drummond believes, “You must be ready to work hard and be open-minded.” By being ready, willing, and able to adapt to situations – and fish differently in different places – you keep yourself
After returning from a two-year stint in Costa Rica, the South Padre native was still working on the Hook-N-Bull (now a 63-foot Lightning owned by J.R. Turnbull). Carter Drummond feels right at home on this, his second Hook-NBull. His crew, anglers, owner and guests are all relatively young.
“I have an awesome boss,” says Drummond of Turnbull, his employer of six-plus years. “He loves to fish. I’d love to see this gig carry on and just keep doing what I’m doing.”
By banding together and having a good time, Carter’s high-energy, roll-with-the-punches approach to the program keeps them bonded…and competitive – a positive sign of forward momentum.