To say I’m excited about the opportunity to write for Bassmaster.com is an understatement. It’s actually something I would have never imagined possible! I’ll be writing two blogs a month on my Bassmaster Open experiences, and what it’s like to come from another country that doesn’t have largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass and try to compete against some of the best bass anglers in the world in my quest to make it to the Bassmaster Elite Series.
So I think that introducing myself and giving everyone an idea on my background would be a great start.
My name is Carl Jocumsen, I’m 29 years old and I’m from Toowoomba in Queensland, Australia. I grew up catching Australian bass on lures in small lakes near my hometown. My love of fishing has been with me from a very young age, and many aspects about it intrigued me from the start; the unknown, the adventure, getting out just with my mates after school, the camping and being outdoors, and never two trips the same!
You can take this sport to any level you wish, and my competitive nature drew me toward tournament fishing when I was 15 years old. My mum would drive me to every tournament with my small boat in tow, well before I had my driver's license! It’s probably a little different for an Aussie kid to have the type of dreams and ambitions that I had, but my dreams were always to one day fish against the best bass anglers of the world in America. That was more than 14 years ago, and I have devoted my life to the sport ever since. Today, at 29, my passion for fishing and competitive bass fishing is stronger than ever!
After 10 years of competing in Australia, I felt I had accomplished all my goals in Australian bass tournament fishing. I won Angler of the Year in 2006, 2008 and 2010, and I was ranked the No. 1 bass angler from 2005 through 2010, when I left for the U.S.A. My money earnings are still almost double my nearest competitor despite not fishing in Australia for the past three years.
I won our Classic in 2010 and the first prize was an expenses-paid trip to fish the U.S Open on Lake Mead in Vegas. On the third day of the tournament fate kicked in and I drew Elite Series pro Fred Roumbanis. We hit it off from the start and we had one of the best tournament days I’d ever experienced! I finished up in second place and with Big Bass, and Fred made it clear that he thought I have what it takes to make it in professional bass fishing in the States.
When I arrived home, I made the decision to give the big time a go. I sacrificed everything I owned and had worked hard for in Australia. I sold my boat, my truck and anything else of value. I saved for a year and had a fundraising fishing tournament, and that all-together total financed my first two years here. The extended time away from my family and close friends has been hard, but it’s been worth the struggle. Anything worthwhile always is!
I have had to knock down some serious walls just to get to where I am now, including procuring a three-year U.S.A. sporting Visa that took a year to acquire and more than $6,000 in government and attorney fees. But it was worth it because prior to that in my first year I had to fly back to Australia four times during the season, as I could only stay 90 days at a time in the country. So I would see my family and friends for a few days then fly back to make it back in time for a tournament.
Obtaining everyday necessities like a driver’s license, bank accounts and social security numbers was just the start. Learning to drive on the other side of the truck (and the road) were all part of the journey!