Carl Jocumsen is living in America preparing for the 2020 Bassmaster season, but his mind is on his native Australia as it suffers through devastating wildfires.
“That’s pretty much all I can think about it,” the Elite Series angler said. “It’s been pretty hard for me to sleep over the last couple weeks. When you can’t help — sitting here and it’s pouring rain in Tennessee — it’s such a weird feeling.”
Reports are around 16 million acres have been burned across the country’s six states. There have been 25 confirmed deaths and 1,500 homes destroyed along with a staggering loss of wildlife that’s climbed to more than half a billion creatures.
“Wildlife, it really hurts me, especially when you see the images,” he said. “It’s been pretty tough and weird, because I’m here and not affected, but I feel like I’m drained every day.
“I want to help the people. I want to be there in the front line, helping, doing stuff.”
Sitting half a world away, Jocumsen came up with a plan how he can help. A trip home to complete work on his visa and be best man in his cousin’s wedding now includes efforts to benefit bushfire victims. He announced on his Facebook page that he’s loading up items for an auction and will appear at his cousin’s Fish ‘N’ Bits Bait and Tackle shop in his hometown of Toowoomba.
Among the offerings from Jocumsen, whose considerable celebrity in Australia grew after winning an Elite event last year, will be an autographed and signed jersey, several autographed Miller Rod handles retired from competition, signed prototype Molix Glide baits and some of his signature Fear My Heart products. Jocumsen also plans to pack his 40-pound Elite trophy from Lake Tenkiller and ask fans for donations to have their photo taken with it and him.
“My cousin does auctions once a month at Fish ‘N’ Bits, and it’s a really good platform,” he said. “Last time I went home, two Miller Rod handles, just the handles, I signed them and got $1,000 and $890 for the other. I had quite a few things like that.”