After his performance in the Bassmaster Central Opens this season, Carl Jocumsen didn't need to compete in the final Southern Open at North Carolina's Lake Norman this week. His goal had been achieved. He'd become the first Australian to qualify for the Bassmaster Elite Series with his third-place finish in the Central Opens point standings.
Then fate threw him another obstacle. While driving through Atlanta, Ga., on the way to Lake Norman this week, Jocumsen and his friend Gene Eisenmann parked their bass rigs off the street in a "quiet area" while they stopped briefly for food.
Jocumsen got back in his truck before he realized the passenger-side window had been shattered. Gone were some of the most precious recollections of his fishing career, all loaded onto a laptop computer hard-drive. Most importantly, gone were his passport, visa and all the legal documents that allowed the Aussie to stay in the U.S. while trying to achieve his dream.
"I've got to drive to Washington, D.C., on Monday and go to the Australian Embassy to get a temporary passport just so I can go home," said Jocumsen, when reached Tuesday afternoon as he was practicing for the Lake Norman Open.
In a story Jocumsen authored on this website, you can read about his remarkable attitude in the face of many challenges. That attitude, apparently, has passed another grueling test.
"I could have come over here and fished angry (after the break-in)," he said. "I didn't have to fish this event. But I was really excited about coming over here and fishing pressure-free. It kind of backfired.
"But I'm over it. I'm catching fish, so I'll be alright."
As Jocumsen talked on his cell phone, he said, "I've got a fish on right now. It's a nice spotted bass."
Jocumsen's home is in Toowoomba, Queensland. He turned 30 years of age last week. Recovering from this break-in is going to be a multi-year chore.
"I've got to go through the whole visa process again," Jocumsen said. "I was weeks away from getting a green card to say here next year. Now I've got to go through the process again."
In addition to the additional hours and hassle involved in replacing legal documents, Jocumsen lost photos and videos of his fishing career. As Jocumsen stated on social media, "I've lost my GoPros and all my footage, iPad, hard drives with a lifetime of memories on them, the Mac that (Brandon Paliniuk) bought for me and to top it off, my U.S. visa and passports."
And as he concluded, "But at the end of the day, no one got hurt and that's the main thing."
Police suspect the quick break-in may have been triggered by a hard-plastic case in the passenger seat of Jocumsen's vehicle. It resembled a pistol case. But it contained GoPro cameras. The thieves scattered the GoPros, Jocumsen said, then grabbed his backpack, which contained all his legal documents and the laptop.