The 2008 BASS Pro AOY winner, Carl Jocumsen, claimed the ultimate prize in Australian tournament BASS fishing by winning the 2008 Skeeter BASS Pro Grand Final. He made a clean sweep of the XOS trophies, and took away the Skeeter Trip-of-a-Lifetime prize, $5000 spending money from River City Marine Brisbane and a confirmed place on the Australian Fishing Championships.
The culmination of the 2008 BASS Pro season came to a close with a weeklong fishing expedition in NSW’s premier bass fisheries. Beginning on October 6, the Humminbird BASS Megabucks provided anglers an opportunity to find some form and, hopefully, make some cash to fuel their habits leading into the Skeeter BASS Pro Grand Final.
Fine conditions greeted anglers at Lake St Clair for the all-important prefish. Many anglers found good numbers of fish but most struggled to find them in large sizes. However, the extended hours of daylight left anglers rubbing their hands together in glee, hoping for the adrenalin pumping top water bite for the weekend.
At the completion of day one, there were two clear leaders with 2004 Grand Final winner, David Green, narrowly leading the current AOY winner, Carl Jocumsen. Both managed to average the magic 2kg mark leading into the third session that was to decide the Top Ten Shootout.
The third and final session saw some consistency in the results with only Andrew Pullbrook managing to squeeze into the final ten at the expense of session one leader Adrian Melchior. The stage was set for an amazing final; a wealth of talent and knowledge exuded from the final ten, which included four previous Grand Final winners, two multiple AOY winners, a qualifying champ and several in-form anglers.
Leading once again was David Green who had managed to increase his lead on the pack, but after three sessions were the anglers confident their banks held the fish to win the event?
With camera crews on the water, the pressure was intense for all anglers. Most had their bags early and were intent on upgrading if they were to be in with a chance of holding the trophy aloft. ABT took the final weigh in to the next level, providing anglers and spectators a show to remember. A live drive-through weigh in was staged with anglers presenting their fish in front of the AFC cameras and collected BASS fans.
Weighing their bags in reverse order, the leading angler held the River City Marine cheque until his total was surpassed. David Green was the final angler to present his catch to the weigh master, needing 1.96kg to relegate Jocumsen to second. The scales ticked over to 1.42kg and in a moment of adulation Carl Jocumsen had realised his dream of winning a BASS Pro Grand Final.
Carl, a 24 year old Tackle Store Manager of Fish n Bits, Toowoomba, used an Ian Miller Bass Buster 7’2”, 2-4kg matched to a Shimano Fireblood 1000 spooled with 4lb pink Berkley Fireline and 8lb Unitika fluorocarbon. He swapped between an Atomic Ripper paddletail plastic in smoke yellow core rigged on a 1/4oz Nitro and a clear and black 65mm Lucky Craft Sammy topwater bait as the conditions suited.
“I fished one stretch of bank for the first two days that I had found in the prefish. Starting in the 8 knot zone at St. Andrews Bay along four consecutive points,” said Jocumsen, a firm believer in the ‘Who Shares Wins’ motto.
“In session three, I moved to a bank in the main basin where I was able to find a good size bass. Come the final morning, I only had one legal from St. Andrews Bay, so I moved back out to the main basin to land a second and several upgrades”.
Watching the shallow points on his Humminbird sounder, Jocumsen ensured he was fishing the shallows in less than 14ft of water. After dipping the tail of the Atomic plastic in chartreuse garlic, the retrieve was a slow wind with erratic twitches. The early starts ensured a top water bite on Lake St Clair, which saw Jocumsen casting his Sammy to the bank in less than a foot of water. A fast walk-the-dog retrieve with no pauses tempted the aggressive bass into striking.
“If the fish didn’t hook up, I would continue to twitch the lure tempting a second strike,” Carl explained.
Heading out in second place, 300g behind the leader on the final day, Jocumsen knew he needed a 2kg plus bag to win. Unsure whether his stretch of bank would produce he continued to fish along it on the Minn Kota electric until he made the crucial decision to move to the main basin. Here he scored his kicker fish on topwater and knew, with 2kg in his live well, he was in with a shot.
Claiming second place was 2006 Grand Final winner and Humminbird team mate Tim Morgan with a 6/6, 7.9kg total.
“I couldn’t think of anyone better to beat me in a Grand Final. Carl is a good mate and the best bass angler in Australia. I taught him well,” said Morgan laughing.
Morgan also used several Ian Miller Bass Buster rods for his plastic and top water presentations. The Megabass Dog X Jnr in baitfish colour thrown with a Shimano Aspire 2500 reel spooled with 10lb Unitika braid and 11lb Unitika leader. The smoke yellow core Atomic Ripper rigged on a 1/4oz TT gold jighead thrown with a Shimano Stella 1000 spooled with 10lb Unitika braid and 8lb Unitika leader.
Fishing the upper reaches of the Fal Brook arm, Morgan targeted natural grassy banks in 6-17ft of water. Pitching the 2.5” paddletail plastic a casts length from the waters edge, he would start winding immediately in the shallows with dispersed twitches as his slow roll followed the contour of the slopped bank.
The top water retrieve that he used throughout the tournament and all day during the final session was a walk-the-dog style with lots of pauses, and found the bass predominantly hitting the lure on the pause. Keeping his boat in 15-20ft, he would use the side imaging feature on his Humminbird 797 sounder to find fish in the shallows where he would cast his Dog X Jnr top water bait, looking for that kicker fish that his bag needed.
Landing his two fish early in session three, Morgan then rested the area knowing that he had enough to make it through to the final shootout and wanted to preserve the area for a final onslaught.
The champion non boater was 24 year old horticulturist from Orange, NSW, Daniel Quarmby. Quarmby, a deserved winner, fished all five BASS Pro qualifiers this year but left it till the last round at Glenbawn to secure his Grand Final berth.
His narrow win in the 2008 Skeeter Bass Pro Grand Final over John Brider sees Daniel travel to the States to hook up with ABT affiliate Gary Boyd where he will fish a West Coast Bass event.
Quarmby used a Lamiglass 704 rod matched to a Shimano Chronarch MG50 spooled with 15lb Platypus braid and 20lb Nitlon fluorocarbon.
Fishing day one with Craig Simmons in the Carrow Brook arm, the pair fished around a hump in 10-12ft of water. Using a silent Jackall TN60 in brown dog to catch the majority of his fish, Quarmby employed a slow roll, dispersed with pauses to allow the lure to follow the contour of the terrain. His kicker fish came on a beetle spin 1/8oz Nitro jighead rigged Atomic Ripper smoke yellow core paddletail plastic dipped in chartreuse Spike It.
Day two saw Daniel fishing with Mick Elsley at the opposite end of the impoundment in the Fal Brook arm. Using the same Jackall TN60, Quarmby targeted grassy banks in 15-20ft of water. Landing only a single bass in amongst six yellowbellies, he knew the final weigh in would be close. Quarmby’s 540g bass claimed him the title with 5/6, 4.48kg.
“I’m looking forward to experiencing the US Bass scene, hopefully taking away some angling techniques that will help me next year,” said the excited non boater champ.
In ABT’s 10th anniversary year, Carl Jocumsen becomes the first BASS angler in history to claim both the AOY title and Grand Final win in the same year. Having fished since the year 2000, as a 16 year old, Carl has experienced both the highs and lows in a career that has so far spanned eight years. After dropping his spot on AFC last year and finishing runners up in two Grand Finals, he has now achieved the goal that has eluded him.
“I have never been to the US, and am looking forward to meeting Alton Jones and experiencing the Bassmaster Classic tournament scene,” said Jocumsen.
Fishing the tournament out of the AFC Shimano Skeeter, it seemed fitting that this boat took him to victory and ultimately the Skeeter Trip-of-a-Lifetime prize.
“After the Classic, we will visit the Skeeter factory, hopefully fish a bass tournament and make our way to Bolivia for some peacock bass,” said Josh Batterson, Director of Skeeter Boats Australia.
When quizzed about his tournament year and the AOY title, Jocumsen said that after a slow start he thinks the tough fishing conditions that they experienced this year tested anglers.
“I enjoyed the different conditions and was happy to just get my limit each qualifier,” said Jocumsen.
“I would like to take the time to thank my many sponsors; Humminbird, Minn Kota, Shimano, Millerods, Bassman Spinnerbaits, Evinrude, Skeeter and Fish n Bits,” he continued. Of course you can visit Carl at his tackle store and quiz him for all that bass knowledge.
2008 has been another successful year for ABT. We would like to thank the sponsors that have supported the season and look forward to ramping qualifiers up again in February 2009. Keep an eye on www.australianbass.com.au for the upcoming release of the calendar and for any queries contact ABT during business hours on 07 3387 0888.
Skeeter BASS Pro Grand Final Boater Results (4 Sessions)
Skeeter BASS Pro Grand Final Non-Boater Results (3 Sessions)