Ever wondered how a successful Aussie bass pro goes about their day on the water? That’s the premise behind ABT’s reality article. In these articles we put one of the country’s best bass anglers on a lake for four and a half hours and log their journey as they try to find and catch their limit of bass.
In this issue BASS God Carl Jocumsen takes up the bass challenge. One of the most respected and credentialed anglers on the BASS Pro tour Carl has fished competitively on the bass scene since the age of 16 and sits atop the tournament tree as defending Grand Final and Angler of the Year champion.
6.35am: Carl finishes launching his boat and lays four rods on the deck and straps them into place for the run up the lake. He is running a new wrapped Skeeter ZX190 powered by a Evinrude E-Tec 150HO – it looks a million dollars with his sponsored Fish‘n’Bits, Minn Kota, Humminbird, Shimano, Millerods, and Bassman Spinnerbaits emblazoned on its sides. Towed by his equally wrapped 4WD, the pair is eye catching to say the least.
6.40am: Carl’s game plan is to hit the shallows and timber high in the lake early then retreat to deeper water as the day progresses.
“You’re not always sure where they’re going to be this time of the year, especially the way the water is,” explains Carl. Increased water level, emerging weed beds, bankside vegetation and a cool morning see the AOY champ try for a timber and edge bite.
6.43am: We arrive at our spot and Carl cuts off a Jackall Mask from his favourite Millerod rod and ties on a 1/2oz blue gill coloured Bassman Spinnerbait called The Compact. With the boat in about 30ft of water, Carl works the timber slow rolling the spinnerbait through the tops of the trees as he progressively works towards the shallower edges.
6.47am: A bass hits his lure and pulls line as it makes its way towards the timber. Hooks pull, Carl keeps on casting.
Carl works the area trying to determine if the fish are holding on heavy timber or spindly sticks. He surmises that bass will be on the spindly stuff because bait anglers hammer the bigger trees.
6.57am: Carl drops another fish that hits the lure at the side of the boat.
7.01am: Carl’s now half way between the bank and where he started fishing. He’s in 22ft of water, but still no definable pattern cracked.
7.03am: Carl explains that he’s trying to make casts that puts the lure swim past as much timber as possible on the retrieve. “Picking the right ally to cast the spinnerbait into is important to maximise success,” explains the still fishless Grand Final Champion.
7.05am: Snags lure on timber, bumps lure off snag and continues with the retrieve.
7.08am: Hangs spinnerbait up in tree on cast, lure tangles line on removal and Carl spends 30 seconds detangling it before he can start fishing again.
7.11am: Carl snags up on retrieve again. Electrics over, shakes lure off snag with rod tip and keeps on fishing. Now fishing in 17ft of water.
7.14am: Snags lure on retrieve and can’t get it off, pops it off and curses losing one of his favourite spinnerbaits. Ties on a new lure, he reverts to his confidence bait, a bony bream coloured Bassman spinnerbait.
7.30am: Hangs up again on retrieve, thinks about moving.
7.31am: Powers up electric and begins to cover water quicker, focusing on spindly sticks.Now fishing in 15ft.
7.37am: Moving to the edge, a cast length out from waterline. Wind strengthens to 10 knots. Laydowns and rocks appear in shallows, Carl begins to target them.
7.41am: Spinnerbait gets hit as lure comes through a gap between two trees.
7.45am: Drops lure into the shade next to big tree… no hit.
7.47am: Get’s hit next to small stand of timber.
7.48am: Hit again on next retrieve. Carl comments that he’s glad to be getting hits, even if from only small fish.
7.50am: The slope of the bank begins to flatten out, boat now in 10ft of water.
7.51am: Carl catches first fish of the day, small sub-legal bass that eats spinnerbait a third of the way back to the boat. (1)
7.57am: Still working edges, bites disappear.
7.58am: Decides to move. Gets ready to fish flats and schools and rigs Mask Vib on baitcaster outfit.
7.59am: Starts big motor and runs down the lake towards a previously fished location.
8.11am: Idles around, sounding over creek bed and adjacent flat in 32’ of water looking for fish.
8.13am: Locates fish quickly, with bass thick on the screen and hanging from the bottom to ten feet from the surface. Carl rigs a 2.5” smoke yellow core coloured Atomic Paddle Tail on 1/2oz Nitro jighead and sinks it to the bottom before slow rolling it through schooled fish.
8.16am: Hooks up on second cast and lands 38cm bass. (2)
8.17am: Hooks up again and pops fish off trying to land it. “The leader had worn on the last fish and I should have retied it,” explains Carl disappointedly. Quickly ties on new jighead and eagerly casts again.
8.23am: Sounder lights up with active fish, and Carl hooks up as plastic free falls towards the bottom. (3)
8.25am: Lands another fish. (4)
8.26am: Lands another fish. (5)
8.27am: Lands another fish. (6)
8.28am: Hooks another fish, pops it off at the side of the bite while trying to lift it in. “You think I would have learnt and retied the leader before this happened again,” said Carl.
8.29am: Lands another fish. (7)
8.30am: Lands another fish. (8)
8.41am: Hooks and lands fish after a quiet spell. Sub legal fish. “It’s not uncommon for the fish to shut down after you release landed fish back into the school,” said Carl. (9)
8.42am: Carl explains his retrieve as a slow roll intersperse with an occasional small twitch.
8.44am: Hooks up on slow roll, with fish eating the lure just off the bottom. Sounder screen shows the fish have become a lot more scattered. (10)
8.46am: Lands another bass, this time a sub legal. (11)
8.47am: Hooks fish and pops it off due to worn leader. This is the third fish that he’s lost due to this.
8.50am: Fish have shutdown, another boat has seen the action and moves in, which only compounds the problem.
8.51am: Carl moves to another spot.
8.59am: Carl’s new location is similar to his last spot and is 34 feet with the occasional larger sized fish appearing on the sounder.
9.00am: With the fish hugging the bottom Carl opts for a Jackall Mask, and ties on a ghost minnow coloured model. Hopping the lure across the bottom in the hope of tempting one of the XOS bass.
9.05am: Bass eats the lure on the drop of the retrieve and pulls solid drag. “This feels like a decent fish”, explains Carl, and a 47cm bass glides into the waiting Environet. (12)
9.08am: Another bass falls to the Mask, this time a sub legal fish. (13)
9.12am: Lands another legal fish. (14)
9.19am: Gets rattled by a good fish. Lure fouls up on itself.
9.20am: Gets rattle by another fish. Lure fouls up on itself again.
9.24am: Lands a just legal bass. (15)
9.28am: Lands legal bass. (16)
9.29am: Hooks and lands bass in high 30s. (17)
9.40am: Action tapers off. Fish still on the sounder but hesitant to eat lure.
9.41am: Finally tempts fish and lands legal bass. (18)
9.50am: Lands another sub legal fish. (19)
9.57am: Another sub legal bass comes aboard. (20)
9.58am: Carl scans area with sounder for active fish. Finds they’ve scattered with the pressure and moves 15m further up the creek bed.
10.05am: Gets a bite on the first cast in new area and lands bass in low 40s. Fish eats lure on the drop. (21)
10.10am: A just legal fish follows the trend of the last fish and eats lure on the drop also. (22)
10.15am: Another just legal bass eats the lure as it free falls towards the bottom. (23)
10.16am: Moves further up the channel again and picks up another legal bass on the Mask Vib. (24)
10.20am: Carl decides he’s had enough for the day. Straps the rods down on the deck, then grabs drink and muesli bar out of esky for the trip back to the boat ramp.
10.32am: Back at the ramp Carl does a quick calculation on his catch card. 24 landed bass, with 18 legals and 6 sub legals, not bad for four hours of bassing.
“You couldn’t really have asked for a better day than what I had,” said a satisfied Jocumsen.
“While it was quiet to begin with when fishing the edges, a change to deeper water brought instant success. The pattern from then on was obvious with the schooled fish readily eating both soft plastics and Masks,” Carl said.
Carl identified a more definable pattern with the more scattered and bottom-hugging bass more receptive to a Jackall Mask hopped across their noses. Carl predicted this trend before he cast his first lure, and demonstrates the instinctive and predictive mind that makes him one of the best in the business.
Even if the fishing was tougher on the day I’m sure the end result would have been largely the same, with the 2008 BASS Pro Angler of the Year cracking the pattern, regardless of whether it was shallow or deep, or fast or slow. It’s his rapid ability to crack the pattern that sees him sit at the top of the tournament tree and be the angler by which most BASSers compare themselves.
The Specs Sheet
|Wind:||5-15 knots southwest|
|Skies:||clear and cloudless|
|Water:||light brown, darker further up the dam|
|Notes:||weed beds starting to appear on edges, thunderstorm night before|