I am a freelance writer and photographer from Sydney who has now had five books published on fishing. I also write for the NSW Fishing Monthly, Visit the Shire, Fisho App & Tackle Tactics.
I also like to travel and experience new things to do.
Published May 12th 2015
Weekend Notes is a library of articles that have been written by a number of writers/reviewers from all over the world, of fun and interesting things to do on the weekend, during the week and really at anytime you feel like just chilling out.
So why have I put together an article on something that no Australian has ever done this before? Well, if you are like me and you are very passionate about Australia and -
you would like to keep abreast what great things Australians achieve here and abroad
like to learn more about bass fishing overseas
get a thrill out of seeing someone catch fish on live TV
would like to learn different techniques to improve your fishing
like watching fast boats
would like to learn more about improved technology
would like to take up bass fishing in Australia
Then this article will interest you!
But even if these things don't interest you, you should still read on to discover what a young humble Australian from Toowoomba has been able to achieve in a very short time.
Carl Jocumsem. The first Aussie to make the Bassmaster Elite in America. Photo courtesy of Carl Jocumsen's Facebook page.
As stated earlier no Australian has ever done this before - that is until Carl Jocumsen from Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia did at the end of 2014. Carl earned the right to be able to fish in the Bassmaster Elite series for 2015. This was not only extremely exciting for Carl, but for the thousands of Australians and Americans who have been following his progress over the last five years.
So What is the Bassmaster Elite Series?
Bassmaster Elite Series. Photo courtesy of Bassmaster.
The first ever B.A.S.S. Federation tournament was held in June 1967 on Beaver Lake, Arkansas with a total of 106 anglers from thirteen different states in the USA. Up until now, there has never been an Australian make the Bassmaster Elite series.
This series has a total of eight regular season events and two AOY (Angler of the Year) fish offs with a total of $11 million to give away in prizes. This makes up bass fishings most competitive lucrative league. This series schedule runs from coast to coast in the USA through all phases of the seasons of bass fishing.
The competition is run over four days where you have to try and catch a bag limit of your 5 largest bass each day. The overall winner of tournament is the angler who gets the largest weight overall.
For the first 2 days, the whole field of 113 anglers compete to get to the top 50. It's this top 50 who then fish on day 3 and then the top 12 on day 4. If you are good enough to be in the top 12, you will not only have a marshal on-board, you will have a cameraman on-board as well to record your every move and fish you catch for the world to see.
If at the end of day 4 you have the heaviest total bag of bass, you will win the tournament, along with $100.000 US, plus a place in history and all the prestige that comes with it.
The total prize money for each event is just over $300,000 US. If you make the cut at 50th, you don't get to fish after day 3. You will have to wait for the next tournament, but you walk away with at least $10,000 US, even if you don't make the top 12.
Click here for more information on the Bassmaster Elite Series.
So who is Carl Jocumsen?
I have never met Carl, but I have heard heaps about him for many years. More now that he has made the Bassmaster Elite Series in the USA. So after talking to Steve Morgan from Fishing Monthly Australia and doing a bit of research on the internet I have put together a short intro into Carl Jocumsen.
Carl hails from Toowoomba, Queensland, Australia and now lives in Frisco, TX and is a 30 year old who has grown up with a passion of fishing from very young age. He enjoys getting out there and exploring the outdoors while camping with his mates.
His interest in fishing grew even stronger when he started to catch Australian Bass on lures. At 16 years old Carl entered and won his first ever ABT (Australian Bass Tournament) and won it, then going on to win the Bass Grand final. Part of his prize was a trip to the USA to fish in the US Open Bass tournament in 2010. If he wasn't hooked before, he sure was now.
Five years ago Carl deceided to take the big leap and sell up everything he had and head to America in a quest to reach the pinnacle of Bass Tournament scene in the world.
Check out those rods from Miller Rods. I thought that I had a few. Photo courtesy of Carl Jocumsen.
As with all competitions you have to work your way up the ladder to reach the top. To get an invite to fish in the Bassmaster Elite Tournaments you need to finish in the top 3 of the AOY (Angler of the Year) points race. In 2012 Carl came so close to making it, but just fell short.
Not to be out done Carl rocked up again year after year on his USA Sportsman's Visa and through his solid placing of 6th at Lake Amistad and 23rd at Red River put him 4th in the Central Opens Angler of the Year.
Finally, on the 19th of March 2015 Carl Jocumsen was the first Australian to ever fish in the Bassmaster Elite Series at the Sabine River.
Round 1 - Sabine River.
Carl Jocumsen only had one fish to weigh in at the Sabine, but being on the Elite Series stage ended up being better than he expected. Photo courtesy of Bassmaster Elite.
As stated earlier Carl Jocumsen lined up to fish his first (many more to come) of 8 events in the 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series at the Sabine River. Due to mechanical failure on day 1 he failed to make it back to the weigh in and his catch was zeroed for the day. On Day two he caught 1 fish for 1lb-4oz. This meant he came 105th out of 113 anglers.
Click here for more information on the results for Sabine River.
Round 2 - Lake Guntersville.
Carl with one of his bass from Guntersville. Photo courtesy of Chris Mitchell from Bassmaster.
Not to be outdone Carl regrouped and rocked up to the Diet Mtn Dew Bassmaster Elite at Lake Guntersville on the 9th of April and cracked the bite to end up in 5th place going into the last two days of the competition. On the final 4th day of the completion Carl finished in 6th place with 81lb-15oz for a full bag on 20 bass over the 4 days.
Not only had Carl achieved something great in the world of fishing, he also achieved something great for Australia. Dave Mercer the BASS MC, said that Carl "broke the internet" with the number of comments and support that he received from around the world.
Throughout Australia there were so many people, young and old, staying up in the early hours of the morning to watch where Carl was going to finish. It was mind blowing.
• Click here for more information on the results on Lake Guntersville.
• Click here to see the photos from Lake Guntersville by Chris Mitchell.
To watch Carl's final day weight-in you will need to click on the link below and scroll down until you find Fire Runs Through my Veins posted by Paul Carter posted on 23rd of April 2015 to watch it. It will make you proud to be an Australia.
• Click here for Carl's final weight-in Live at Guntersville.
Round 3 - Sacramento.
Carl hauling in a 3lb bass. Photo courtesy of Fishing Monthly.
Round 3 had Carl travelling to the Sacramento River to compete in the Sacramento Bassmaster Series. Even though he caught his bag limit of 5 Bass for each day, Carl only managed to pull the scales down to a combined weight for the two days to 16lb-6oz, putting him 103rd out of 112 anglers.
If you would like to hear how Carl's day panned out like you can click on the link below and listen to Steve Morgan from Fishing Monthly Australia carry out a post interview after Day 2.
Click here for Carl Jocumsen interview by Steve Morgan.
Click here for the POST interview by Steve Morgan.
Steve Morgan from Fishing Monthly Australia had the chance just recently to go over to the states and follow Carl around on a couple of his pre fish days to film the way that Carl prepares himself for a comp and what techniques he used in the lead up to the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Havasu on the 7th to 10th of May.
Steve explained to me that Carl had put in so much time and effort to the pre-fish that he reckoned that Carl had put together a good plan for the start of day 1 of the tournament as he had caught plenty of good sized bass.
Once again, I was drawn to the live weigh-in on the Bassmaster home page to watch Carl weight in on day 1 of the Bassmaster Elite at Lake Havasu on the 7th of May.
As I waited watching the live weigh-in the tension was mounting. Carl finally arrived to weigh-in his bag of 5 bass with that great beaming smile he has. Even though he finished the day a little bit frustrated. Everything didn't go to plan and after day 1 Carl was sitting in 83rd position with 11lb-9 oz.
Day 2 dawned and Carl was once again smiling and was ready to take on Lake Havasu and get himself below the cut-off position of 52nd. Carl gave it his all today rising up 25 positions from the previous day. Carl's total tournament weight was 26lb 10oz and he finished in 57th place. The cut-off position at 52nd place weight ended up being 27lb 10oz. Just 1lb out of it. It sure doesn't get any closer than that.
His dedication, commitment, preparation and attitude towards what he does, is that of a true champion. Once again he is doing himself and Australia proud and I can't wait until the next round at Kentucky Lake.
Even though Carl has made the Bassmaster Elite Series, it cost some serious money to be able to compete in all of the eight rounds. With the cost of entry fees (approaching $5,000US is some cases), fuel for both the car and boat, accommodation, clothing, fishing tackle, electronics and much more it could be in the vicinity of $120,000US.
The fuel cost for the car alone would be huge. If you think about, Carl would have to travel from his home town of Frisco in Texas to the Orange in Texas, then off to Guntersville in Alabama. From here he would travel to Sacramento, California, Lake Havasu City in Arizona, then Paris, Tennessee. Then if that's not far enough, he would then pack up all his gear and travel to Waddington in New York, then Cecil County in Maryland and then finally on to Detroit in Michigan.
If you just drove this route and did nothing else in between you would cover approximately 11,000 km, and that's not including all the other travel he would have to do.
After talking to Steve Morgan from Fishing Monthly Australia, he has mentioned that Carl is a great ambassador for not only Australia, but for all of his sponsors. Carl has expressed that without both the financial help and gear supplied from his sponsors he would not have been able to make it to the Elite Bassmaster Series.
So he would like to thank the following sponsors for their support throughout the years:
Carl wouldn't be fishing the Bassmaster Elite without the support of his sponsors. Photo courtesy of Carl Jocumsen.
Not only does Carl have a massive following in Australia, the Americans can't seem to get enough of the Aussie from down under who now has the knick name of the Walabeast. What impressed Steve Morgan was the way that Carl conducts himself during the competition and between competitions, as he always has a smile on his face no matter how frustrated he is.
Steve stated that even after a week of practice, 4 days of a competition and very little sleep Carl stayed around for over an hour to autograph tackle boxes, fishing hats, shirts and even hands for his fans that came to see the weigh-in. There were even a lot of Australians in the crowd as well.
There was even one time during practice where they pulled up to get some fuel and something to eat and fans were pulling up in their cars and asking for Carl's autograph.
Even though Carl only magaged 103rd at Sacramento he stayed around for over an hour to sign autographs for his fans. Photo courtesy of Bassmaster Elite.
Now if you would like to keep up with Carl Jocumsen's progress throughout his career as a Bass angler in the highest level of tournament bass fishing on the planet, or you would like to help support his quest you should click on the following links to find out more information:
If you are a new comer to the tournament scene and you have been inspired by what Carl has achieved, maybe you would like to try out tournament fishing in Australia. There are two main species of fish that tournament anglers target in Australia. They are the Australian Bass and the Yellowfin and Black Bream.
I have been competing in a variety of bream tournaments over the past 6 years, where I have experienced the very highs and lows of tournament fishing. And each year I keep coming back for more.
For more information you can click on the following links: