Friday, January 15, 2021

Raymond fisherman competes in Toyota Series Bass Championships

Jason Kervin of Raymond competed against some
of the top bass fishermen in the world during the 
2020 Toyota Series Championships held in early
December on Lake Cumberland near Burnside,
Kentucky. He qualified for the championships by
placing in the Top 10 in tournaments in the Northern
United States last year. SUBMITTED PHOTO    
Kentucky event draws more than 221 participants

By Ed Pierce

Jason Kervin of Raymond believes that if people concentrated on the really important things in life, there'd be a shortage of fishing poles.

Kervin, 41, traveled to Kentucky in December to compete in the 2020 Toyota Series Championship at Lake Cumberland. The three-day tournament featured a field of 221 boaters and co-anglers from each of the eight Toyota Series divisions and tournament winners of the past year and included the top professional fishermen and co-anglers from the FLW International Division.

He qualified for the FLW Toyota Series Championship by fishing the Toyota Series Opens in the Northern division during 2020, finishing all three tournaments in the series and placing 25th or better in points at the end of the season. Kervin finished 21st overall in 2020 in the tournaments he fished, making the top-10 during a tournament on Lake Erie in Sandusky Ohio.

“I have been fishing since I can remember, age 7 or 8 maybe,” Kervin said. “I’ve been fishing bass tournaments since 2010 and started out with a small bass club, Rocky Hill Bass Anglers, out of Brunswick.”

Having lived in Raymond for just over a year, Kervin says that his favorite local spot to fish is Panther Pond and Androscoggin Lake is his absolute favorite place to fish in Maine.

“It's a beautiful, largely undeveloped shoreline lake, full of quality sized bass,” he said. “The early season high water also makes for some really fun fishing, allowing me to get my boat back in the brush areas to fish the shallow water that is usually marsh or dry land.”

Memorable and challenging 

According to Kervin, competing in the 2020 Toyota Series Championships was memorable, but challenging. 

“Lake Cumberland is very scenic but is a very different lake than anything in the North. They draw the
lake down 30 feet in the winter, and that is when we fished it,” Kervin said. “It's also a flooded reservoir with a huge dam at one end so the shoreline features are very dramatic. It has 1,255 miles of shoreline, covers 65,530 acres, and has an average depth of 90 feet. Coming down for a week to figure things out is no easy task given the size.”

His initial practices on Lake Cumberland were very difficult and Kervin only managed a few fish each day which didn't tell him much about fishing there.

“The tournament went pretty much the same. I finished 200th out of 232 anglers but I didn't bother weighing my fish on the last day,” he said. There was nothing to gain except for a few places, so I tossed it back.” 

Although he was disappointed, just reaching the championships for the year made the trip to Kentucky worthwhile, Kervin said.

“The timing for the tournament was very poor and the fish were not cooperating which made practice very difficult. What fish were up near the bank, were very finicky and didn't stay where you saw them. I learned that I should have been covering more water with a reaction bait to increase my odds but found that out too late,” he said. “Many of the anglers that did reasonably well were moving very fast just trying to get in front of as many fish as they could hoping for a bite. Not the way any of us wanted to fish. Needless to say, it was a disappointing trip for me, but just making the championships achieved a big goal. In the opens, we fish against some of the best anglers in the world who fish professional circuits every year and know these lakes very well. When I can show up and compete at any tournament, I think it's a success.”

On the water

To be at the top of his game each time out in tournament fishing, Kervin said that he needs to spend a lot of time on the water.

“Having a family, a job, and losing four to five months due to frozen water up north, I can only expect to achieve so much,” he said. “I don't believe I will ever stop tournament fishing though. I love the competition and bass fishing too much.”

He works as a service manager at Goodwin Chevy Buick in Oxford and besides fishing in the Toyota
championships in December, Kervin had another important event happen. He and his fiancé Beth had their first child, a daughter, named Brynlee who was born Dec. 30.

To date the largest bass that Kervin has caught was a 6.8-pound smallmouth bass on Lake Ontario at the mouth of the Saint Lawrence River.

“It was caught on a drop shot in 20 feet of water using a Xzone slammer in green pumpkin purple
flake,” he said. “It was caught during practice for an event and released. I didn't find it again during the tournament, but I looked like hell.” 

His dream is to someday become a professional bass fisherman and tournament fishing offers Kervin an opportunity to achieve that dream.

“I did receive an invitation to join the FLW Pro Circuit in 2019, but I was not ready at the time. I would have needed to secure sponsorship in a short time frame as well as being able to pay the bills around the house. It's possible and someday I will be able to make it work, but financially it's just too much having a family and so much in my life in place. If I were able to secure a win at an open, things may change in a hurry. The recognition with sponsors and the added money in the bank would help tremendously.”

But for right now, Kervin says he’s content to just enjoy fishing, being on the water and visiting different lakes to take in an amazing view of nature.

“Our lakes in Maine are some of the most beautiful and scenic places in the world. The serenity and peace I find while fishing is something that I haven't experienced doing any other activity,” he said. “Fishing in tournaments is a bit different given the frantic and intense nature of being on the hunt, but the scenery remains the same and the experience is always a memorable one. I fish a lot of the time with my good friend Shane Hatch here at home. He also fishes in the tournaments and we lodge together and help each other figure places out. That camaraderie is also an aspect I really enjoy.” <  

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