Daily Limit: Green card to green fish

Now that Australian Carl Jocumsen has married an American, one would believe he’s good to continue competing in the country.

Wrong.

Jocumsen said there’s still loads of paperwork required for him to fish on the Bassmaster Elite Series. Jocumsen and Kayla Palaniuk married this week near her Idaho home, just weeks after Carl rallied on Day 4 to win the Cherokee Casino at Tahlequah Bassmaster Elite at Lake Tenkiller on his 35th birthday.

At the JM Associates studio to shoot his segment of Winning Ways, Jocumsen explained there are plenty of hoops to jump through for an international angler. He’s had to fill out stacks of paperwork and spent thousands just to attempt his dream.    

“The first year I was over here, I flew back and forth four times in one year,” he said. “After 89 days, I could leave on the 90th day, fly home, I’d be home for two or three days and fly back. I think I spent $10,000 in flights.”

With winning the Australian Bass Fishing Championship about a decade ago, Jocumsen earned an expenses-paid trip to compete as a co-angler in the U.S. Open on Lake Mead. His success and relationships developed fueled his fire to compete here full-time. That first year was tough, but some great fortune fell his way the next year.

A friend introduced him to an American who needed a hunting guide in the middle of Queensland, Australia, which Jocumsen described as “hard country, desert, kangaroos, pigs.”

“I was home and this guy put me on to him to take hunting,” Jocumsen said. “It was flooding and he couldn’t get anywhere. He went hunting and we had a blast. He was like, ‘Anything that you want, you let me know.’”

Grasping the opportunity, Jocumsen sent him an email a couple weeks later asking for help to obtain a U.S. visa. The man sent him on the right path of a sporting, or P1 visa, which allows aliens to perform at a specific athletic competition. But it required filling out about a 2-inch thick set of documents, he said.

“I had to get a visa attorney, and he basically did all that. It’s like what a golfer would get,” Jocumsen said. “That cost $7,000 for three years. They went like that, and it was over. I did it again, and that ran out and I did it again. I spent $22,000 to live here and earn money legally for the last eight years. It ends at the end of next year.”

Now married to an American citizen, the paperwork isn’t over. Jocumsen must adjust his status. He hopes for permanent residency to receive the benefits of living and working in the U.S. while retaining citizenship in Australia.

“I think I can get a green card or get dual citizenship, which would allow me to earn money in both countries and fly in and out when I needed to,” he said. “That would be the best scenario. It’s not a matter of just getting married.”