Late Catch Pushes Jocumsen Into Lead At Bassmaster Elite On Santee Cooper

Carl Jocumsen’s never-give-up attitude served the Queensland, Australia, angler well, as a last-second catch propelled him to the Day 3 lead of the Bassmaster Elite at Santee Cooper Lakes brought to you by the United States Marine Corps with a three-day total of 50 pounds, 10 ounces.

After taking the Day 1 lead with the event’s biggest bag — a limit of 25-8 — Jocumsen added a 12-7 limit on Friday. On Saturday, he caught four keepers for 12-11, but the day nearly ended with a greater deficit.

“Today, I had three fish at the end of the day and I should’ve been running back; E.K. (cameraman Eric Kaffka) was saying, ‘Are you gonna run back?’ And I said, ‘No, I need one more,’” Jocumsen said. “I literally flipped a 3 1/2-pounder, put it in the boat, we got on pad and ran back and I made it in at 3:20. I literally made it in with 15 seconds left to go.”

Jocumsen caught all of his fish punching weed mats in a creek at the upper end of Lake Marion. Each of his fish bit a black and blue Molix SV Craw rigged on a 4/0 Owner Jungle hook and a 1 1/4-ounce Woo! Tungsten weight.

“I found that a green pumpkin weight gives the bait a smaller profile,” Jocumsen said. “If you go with a black weight with the black and blue weight, it looks huge.”

After a sunny Day 1, followed by a mix of sun and clouds on Friday, Jocumsen said today’s dim skies probably limited his punch bite.

“With the storm front coming in and it getting cool, it could push more fish up there,” Jocumsen said. “But the clouds are making it harder. The fish are just swimming around; they’re not getting set up.

“If the sun came out, it would position them and I’d be able to catch them a lot easier.”

Jocumsen, who won his first Elite title last year on Oklahoma’s Lake Tenkiller, said the afternoon’s windy conditions and his bumpy ride to the check-in amplified today’s drama.

“This is a dream come true for a kid from Australia to lead this event,” he said. “It’s unbelievable and I look forward to getting out there tomorrow.”

Jocumsen is hoping that the grassy depression that he found during practice ignites on Championship Sunday. Each day, he has started on this midlake spot and thrown a white ChatterBait with a white Yamamoto Zako trailer.

“Day 1, I caught three there, including a 6-pounder. Day 2, I caught one there. Today, I caught none,” Jocumsen said. “They’re still in there and if that fires for me, that’s my chance at winning. I have an ace up my sleeve.

“With the conditions changing and the storm coming in, I have to go there. If I can just catch one or two there, I’m going to get three to five big opportunities (punching) up the river.”

Given Friday’s missed opportunities and Saturday’s short bag, Jocumsen said execution will be Sunday’s priority.

“Yesterday, I lost some good fish. Today, I got four bites and put four in the boat,” he said. “Tomorrow, it’s going to be about putting every single bite in the boat and that (grass) spot firing and we’re in with a shot.”

Austin Felix of Eden Prairie, Minn., is in second with 49-13. After placing third on Day 1 with 20-9, Felix added 12-2 on Friday and slipped to sixth. On Saturday, he improved his position with a limit of 17-2.

Spending his day in Lake Marion, Felix did all of his damage on a main-channel point with sharp, rocky breaks, stumps and a shellbar. He caught an early-morning schooling fish on a swimbait and the rest on a shaky head with a Roboworm in the margarita mutilator color.

“Depending on the wind, I had to move around and fish it at different angles,” Felix said. “They’re just sitting in the same sort of way you’d expect a ledge tournament to be — on the upcurrent side of the point.”

Brandon Palaniuk of Rathdrum, Idaho, is in third with 49-7. Placing second on Day 1 with 21-1, he added 18-13 and took the Day 2 lead. A leaner Day 3 yielded a limit of 9-9.

Fishing the upper end of Lake Marion, Palaniuk targeted a 4- to 6-foot stretch of shell bottom with stumps and caught most of his fish on a 5-inch X-Zone Swammer rigged on a 1/2-ounce VMC swimbait head. He added one keeper that ate an X-Zone Muscle Back Finesse Craw on a 3/0 VMC Heavy Duty Flippin’ Hook with a 1 1/4-ounce weight.

“The fish pull up and down out of that hole and they set up to feed,” Palaniuk said. “I was catching them every cast this morning and then it just shut off.”

Jeff Gustafson of Keewatin, Canada, is in the lead for Phoenix Boats Big Bass honors with his 9-7.

The Top 10 remaining anglers will take off from John C. Land III Sport Fishing Facility on Sunday. The weigh-in will be held back at the facility at 3:20 p.m. with the winning angler receiving $100,000.

Live coverage of the event will be available starting at 7:30 a.m. on Bassmaster LIVE at and ESPN3.

The tournament is being hosted by the Clarendon County Chamber of Commerce.