Crazy occurrences are more memorable, Carl Jocumsen says, which is why a recent camping trip will wind up being a conversation topic for years.
The Bassmaster Elite Series angler, his wife, Kayla, and her family experienced a wonderful outdoors experience until a storm stronger than forecast ended up being life-threatening. Their group of eight was among the two dozen people enjoying primitive island campsites in Idaho’s Priest Lake when the front blew through, sending them scrambling to stay safe between raging waves and falling trees.
“It was an eye-opener for sure,” said Jocumsen, the Australia native who won the Lake Tenkiller Elite last season. “After it’s all said and done, we’ll talk about it forever, this crazy experience. We just got lucky that no one got hurt. It could have been way worse than it was.”
All was idyllic for the first three days of the getaway, the first time Kayla’s family had gotten together in 16 years. Priest Lake is in the Idaho panhandle close to the Canadian border, and it presents majestic mountain views and a bounty of lake trout.
“You’re up north in the middle of nowhere, just a beautiful lake, incredible countryside right up amongst the mountains,” Jocumsen said. “There’s grizzly bears, mountain lions, wolves, moose. Water is just crystal clear, you can see 30, 40 feet down.”
The campsites allowed tents to be pitched feet from the water’s edge, and Jocumsen reveled in his view from the sleeping bag — mountains, slick water and his Bass Cat feet away with Talons down. He said he’d wake and take a run on the trail then return for a refreshing morning swim before coffee and breakfast. The days were spent taking in the splendor and fishing for campfire cooked meals of lake trout.
“We were just having an incredible time,” he said.
Despite weak cell service, Jocumsen kept up with the weather the best he could, and one evening saw a lake wind advisory for the next day. They weren’t too concerned because the forecast wasn’t that bad, and they were leaving in the morning. Waking to glassy conditions, Carl recorded a video of Roo the Bass Dog on the beach.
“Literally five minutes after that video, it started blowing,” he said. “It was a cold front that brought rain and snow. It was ripping, our stuff just blowing everywhere. We went from trying to hold tents to don’t worry about anything. Save ourselves, keep everyone safe.”