Jocumsen closing in on Elite quest

HARRISON TOWNSHIP, Mich. — Drive. Fish. Eat. Sleep.

For the past six weeks that’s the daily routine of Carl Jocumsen. The ratio of driving and casting far outweigh the sleeping and eating.

And it won’t change until the end of next week.

Jocumsen, 29, is closing in on his quest to qualify for the 2015 Bassmaster Elite Series. The Australian has dedicated the last three years to the ambitious goal.

And he’s coming ever so close.

His best shot to qualify is from the Bass Pro Shops Bassmaster Central Open series presented by Allstate. The season concludes next weekend on the Arkansas River in Muskogee, Okla. The top three pros in the point standings receive invitations to join the Elite Series.

Jocumsen currently ranks 4th in the standings. He’s been there since last April when the Central series took hiatus. It forced him to painfully set aside thoughts of the ranking and focus his mind elsewhere.

Elsewhere is the Northern Open division. It kicked off in June and wraps up this week with the final event underway on Lake Champlain.

In this division he ranks 38th as of Thursday.

What you’d think of as a huge mental distraction is being seized upon as an opportunity.

“I’m not out of it on the Northern side,” he declared. “There were a handful of Elite guys who did really well at the season opener and that opened the door for me.”

Spoken like a seasoned veteran, not a wannabe Elite pro.

“If I can make a top twelve cut and then a top five finish then I can make it on the Northern side.”

That’s not out of the question. Jocumsen stands in 25th place going into cut day. He’s less than two pounds from making the top 12. If anything, weather could be on his side.

“Today a lot of guys made the run into Lake Erie,” he said. “It never was part of my game plan because the weather could make it too risky.”

Tomorrow’s forecast calls for a strong chance of thunderstorms with the winds gusting to 25 mph. That will indeed make the going to and from Erie rough and risky.

Meanwhile, Jocumsen plans to stay in the more protected confines of Lake St. Clair and the Detroit River.

Luck might also be on his side. Jocumsen has three top 12 cuts to his credit this season. He’s riding a wave of confidence fed by the desire to close out the season with an Elite Series card in hand.

“It would be huge to fishing in Australia,” he said. “I want to do it for all of my supporters and sponsors.”

One of those is part reason for the extended summer road trip. For weeks now Ian Miller has traveled across the country bass fishing. It’s been anything but a joy ride.

Miller’s family-based business in Australia is Millerods. Miller is a highly respected rod designer with a resume that includes the likes of Shimano, G Loomis and other top-shelf brands.

Millerods is launching a line of bass rods designed by Jocumsen. The two Aussies spent the road time testing the rods on smallmouth and largemouth fisheries.

Not surprisingly, one of the stops on the rod tour was the Arkansas River. He’s feeling the pressure of it all while managing to stay focused on the present.

“Fishing here now is a good mental diversion,” he said. “I’m going to enjoy this week and do my best.”

That’s a good idea considering what lies at the end of the long road trip.

Drive. Fish. Eat. Sleep.

The final drive is from Detroit to Muskogee, Okla. It is where Jocumsen will fish more than he eats or sleeps. He hopes to make it worthwhile for everyone, himself included.

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