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Pictured: Queensland, Australia native Carl Jocumsen won the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller with a total of 54 pounds, 15 ounces.

Photo by Seigo Saito/B.A.S.S.

TAHLEQUAH, Okla. — Relentless determination and commitment to his game plan paid off big for Carl Jocumsen, who turned in a catch of 19 pounds, 12 ounces on Championship Sunday and scored a career-defining victory at the Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller.

His four-day total weight of 54-15 was worth $100,000 and made a nice birthday gift for the Queensland, Australia angler, who turned 35 Sunday.

Jocumsen said his first Elite win — which is also the first by an Aussie — has been a lifelong dream.

“Since I was four years old, I’ve loved fishing and I’ve dreamed of the day I would do this,” Jocumsen said. “Today is that day. This is a lifetime of work; a lifetime of passion and loving this sport with every ounce of my body.”

Yesterday, after placing third and trailing leader Kyle Monti by 4-8, Jocumsen boldly stated that he believed he was on the fish to win. He predicted he needed five keepers to have a legitimate shot, and he blew away that expectation with a limit of 19-12 that ranked as the tournament’s heaviest single-day catch.

Jocumsen’s winning program stood out from much of the field, in that he committed his tournament to fishing offshore. Relying heavily on his electronics to break down the lake and identify the most promising spots, he targeted six different offshore drop-offs with brush and other cover.

Day 3 revealed a particularly productive piece of cover that delivered his final-round magic.

“I used my Humminbird 360, side imaging and mapping to break down this lake in two and a half days. I stayed out here from daylight until dark,” Jocumsen said. “Yesterday afternoon, I found this one tree off this island. It was one late in the day, and I caught one keeper. But I said, ‘I want to hit this early on the final day to see if they’re biting.’”

His intuition was spot-on, and Jocumsen experienced a phenomenal morning that saw him catch four quality largemouth by 8:30, including three in span of approximately seven minutes. Jocumsen would suffer through a long dry spell before completing his five-fish limit, but the 4-pound smallmouth that sealed his fate gave Bassmaster LIVE viewers a look at pure bass fishing emotion.

“I’ve waited my life to catch that fish,” said a visibly emotional Jocumsen. “I had gone three hours without a bite and I said, ‘It can’t go down this way. I have to finish it.’ When I caught that smallmouth, the weight of the world came off my shoulders.”

Adding a 5-pound largemouth late in the day increased Jocumsen’s total and gave him a 3-pound, 10-ounce margin of victory.

Jocumsen, who will marry fiancee Kayla Palaniuk in two weeks, caught all of his bass on a 3/4-ounce Molix football jig with a green pumpkin Strike King Rage Craw trailer. He made a couple of brief visits to fish the bank, mostly to let his offshore sites rest, but did all of his heavy lifting offshore.

In second, Day 2 leader Chris Zaldain of Fort Worth, Texas, switched tactics Sunday and caught a limit of 14-7 to finish with 51-5. After focusing mostly on running shallow points for smallmouth the first three days, Zaldain spent the first half of the final day throwing a 1/2-ounce Santone wobblehead jig with a green pumpkin creature bait trailer.

“I caught two 16-inch-plus largemouth in the morning, and that kind of relaxed me to go fish all new water and search out those smallmouth,” he said.

Zaldain added three smallmouth to his final bag. He caught those with a Megabass Spark Shad swimbait on a 1/8-ounce Megabass Okashira Screw Head.

Cory Johnston of Cavan, Cananda, finished third with 48-6. For the first three days, he spent most of his time working covered boat docks with jigging spoons and a Neko rig. But today’s conditions kept the fish from positioning in predictable spots, so Johnston switched to his backup pattern.

“With the cloudy skies, the fish didn’t position on the boat slips like I needed them to, so I ended up cranking rock banks with squarebills,” Johnston said. “I caught one in a boat slip on the Neko rig and the rest came on squarebills.”

In the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Race, Scott Canterbury took the lead with 761 points. Canterbury finished 19th this week, but maintained a slim advantage in the points race, which will be decided next week at the Toyota Bassmaster Angler of the Year Championship on Lake St. Clair.

Zaldain follows closely in second with 752, while Johnston is third with 747. Stetson Blaylock of Benton, Ark., is fourth with 741 and Drew Cook of Midway, Fla., is fifth with 733.

Cook also leads the DICK’S Sporting Goods Rookie of the Year race.

2019 Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller Title Sponsor: Cherokee Casino Tahlequah

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Platinum Sponsor: Toyota

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Premier Sponsors: Abu Garcia, Berkley, Humminbird, Mercury, Minn Kota, Nitro Boats, Power-Pole, Skeeter Boats, Talon, Triton Boats, Yamaha

2019 Bassmaster Elite Series Supporting Sponsors: Bass Pro Shops, Carhartt, Lowrance, Mossy Oak Fishing, T-H Marine, Academy Sports + Outdoors

2019 Cherokee Casino Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite At Lake Tenkiller Host: Cherokee Nation Entertainment, LLC

About Cherokee Nation Entertainment
Cherokee Nation Entertainment is the wholly owned gaming, hospitality, retail and tourism entity of the Cherokee Nation, the largest tribal government in the United States. The company currently operates Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa; nine Cherokee Casinos, including a horse racing track; three hotels; three golf courses; and other retail operations. For more information, visit www.cherokeecasino.com.

About B.A.S.S.
B.A.S.S. is the worldwide authority on bass fishing and keeper of the culture of the sport, providing cutting edge content on bass fishing whenever, wherever and however bass fishing fans want to use it. Headquartered in Birmingham, Ala., the 510,000-member organization’s fully integrated media platforms include the industry’s leading magazines (Bassmaster and B.A.S.S. Times), website (Bassmaster.com), television show (The Bassmasters on ESPN2 and The Pursuit Channel), radio show (Bassmaster Radio), social media programs and events. For more than 50 years, B.A.S.S. has been dedicated to access, conservation and youth fishing.

The Bassmaster Tournament Trail includes the most prestigious events at each level of competition, including the Bassmaster Elite Series, Basspro.com Bassmaster Opens Series, TNT Fireworks B.A.S.S. Nation Series, Carhartt Bassmaster College Series presented by Bass Pro Shops, Mossy Oak Fishing Bassmaster High School Series presented by Academy Sports + Outdoors, Bassmaster Team Championship and the ultimate celebration of competitive fishing, the GEICO Bassmaster Classic.

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Gear you need to compete in the upcoming Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley

On day two of the 2019 Bass Pro Shops Big Bass Bash presented by Berkley, anglers will be permitted to use only Berkley products. In this four-part series from the Association of Collegiate Anglers, we are introducing competitors to a variety of baits that could work well at Kentucky Lake during the event. In this segment we will break down the PowerBait Pit Boss. This will be a great soft plastic to flip around shallow cover, as well as to use for a trailer on your favorite jig.

Let’s start by talking about the specifics of the PowerBait Pit Boss. Designed by professional angler Skeet Reese, the Pit Boss is intended to mimic both baitfish and crawfish. The bait is available in three different sizes: 3 in., 4 in., and 5 in. Each size is capable of being flipped on its own, or being rigged on the back of a jig or bladed jig. Along with three different sizes, the Pit Boss also comes in roughly 20 different color options. The Pit Boss is infused with PowerBait flavor, giving you more time to set the hook.

Flipping shallow cover is one of the best ways to get a big bite on Kentucky Lake. In 2018, Brian Pahl of Bethel University won with a bass weighing over nine pounds. He caught the bass by flipping a jig to flooded brush up shallow. The nine plus pound fish was hanging out in a shallow bush waiting for an easy meal to pass by.

Kentucky Lake offers plenty of shallow cover for anglers to fish. As the lake goes through a scheduled winter drawdown, shallow wood and rock will become even more valuable. When lakes go through a scenario where lake levels drop, fish then have fewer and fewer places to hide. So, as they pull out from the shallows, they will try to find the first piece of hard cover they can find. Flipping a PowerBait Pit Boss to that isolated cover could result in a prize-winning fish on day two of tournament action.

Tournament rules stipulate that all jigs, chatter baits, spinnerbaits, and lures of the sort must be paired with a Berkley bait as the trailer. The PowerBait Pit Boss is also a viable option for using in those scenarios. Go online today to view and purchase the PowerBait Pit Boss. With just two weeks until the tournament begins, it is important that you begin to stock up on Berkley products as soon as possible.

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