Pretty much everyone in the Australian Bass Tournament scene knows that Toowoomba angler, Carl Jocumsen, set sail three years ago for the USA with the aim of competing against some of the best bass anglers in the world on the highly competitive Bassmaster tournament trail (www.bassmaster.com).
It’s been three years of ups and downs for the young Aussie. He’s tasted success in the form of plenty of top 20 finishes across the country.
And he’s had his downs. Racking up a better collection of century-plus finishes than most Aussie batsman in the modern era.
In 2012 he fell agonisingly short of qualifying for the Bassmaster Elite series – watching the angler that finished one place ahead of him in the Central Opens points race get offered a spot in the most prestigious circuit on the planet.
So, it was back to the drawing board in 2013 to try and make the cut.
As well as the Bassmaster Opens series, Carl opted to spend some of his precious funds on the PAA (Professional Anglers’ Association: www.fishpaa.com) circuit. A solid string of results there would see him with a free entry into an event called the Toyota Texas Bass Classic. With a $250,000 winner’s purse, there was merit in the idea.
Carl’s season started with a PAA event on Lake Norman, Tennessee. With virtually the entire field throwing those crazy, 5-lure Alabama rigs, Carl opted to pursue a skirted jig pattern on the steep rocky bluffs and cracked the code.
Making his first ever top 12 PAA cut in that event was a huge achievement – especially as he was the only angler NOT throwing an A-rig. Interestingly, the A-rig has now been banned from most major national circuits as it’s considered unsporting.
With no reason to doubt that this was the start to another stellar year, Carl then struggled. And he struggled for months – right up until the final event of the season – the Bassmaster Central Open on Ross Barnett Reservior in Mississippi.
With around $300 to his name, Carl racked up his first Bassmaster top 12 cut – finishing 4th and cashing a prize cheque for over $10,000USD.
“All year I’d been sticking to what I’d found in practise and I was unwilling to change things up when conditions changed,” Carl explained in a 30-minute interview that we conducted post-tournament (see factbox for the QR code link).
“And when I got to my starting spot on the first day of this event, it happened again – 2ft rollers were hammering the section of lily pads were I’d found a concentration of better than average bass.
“So, I bit the bullet and used every bit of knowledge I’d gained over the last three years to run around the lake to every good looking spot I could find and put together a 10lb limit that kept me in with a shot in 25th place,” Carl continued.
The next morning, the conditions suited a technique that Carl calls ‘swimming a worm’, so that’s what he did. He rolled with the conditions and put together a limit of fish that’d at least ensure he took home a pay cheque. Typically the top 50 or so anglers make a payday from a 150 boat field.
“But then the sun came out, the wind died and I knew that my frog-fish in the lily pads would bite,” Carl said, “so I ran to the spot, the bass hadn’t moved and I upgraded every single fish in the live well.”
Weighing in reasonably early, Carl was sitting in 4th. He needed to endure another 100 pro anglers weighing in before he knew that he’d make the top 12 cut. And that he did – in 9th place.
“That was the best feeling and the best achievement in my life,” Carl exclaimed, “I got to fish on the final day against guys that I’d watched on TV and who have earned millions of dollars catching bass.”
And Carl didn’t disappoint. Weighing in the third biggest bag on the final day, Carl finished the event in 4th place.
“The biggest challenge now is getting my sponsors and funding sorted for another shot at qualification on 2014,” Carl said. “I’ve made it this far with awesome support from companies like Hobie, Millerods, Bassman Spinnerbaits, Skeeter, Yamaha and Shimano, but I think that bass fishing must be one of the most expensive sports on the planet.”
If you’d like to kick in, go to Carl’s Facebook page and check out the crowd-finding links. After all, who doesn’t like watching an Aussie young gun head stateside and beat the Americans at their own game?
• Carl’s Bassmaster angler profile link:
• Link to Bassmaster event results page:
• Carl’s interview QR code.
• Link to Carl’s Fan Facebook Page
Fishing Monthly Magazines
Carl’s 2013 Finishes
|Table Rock lake||33rd|
Bassmaster Central Opens
Bassmaster Northern Opens