Sunday, June 21, 2009

Fatherhood over Fame

This is Jason Kerr. He is the husband to my BFF from childhood (Shannon). He was featured in a Newspaper article this week, and I have to pass it on to all of you to read. He is a class act, and Brenton and I are so pleased that they are living back in MN, just 40 minutes away.

Professional fisherman Jason Kerr displays one of his catches. Kerr, who now lives in Owatonna, is taking a break from the tour to concentrate on his family and a new business venture. OWATONNA — Nowadays if you see Jason Kerr fishing, he will be sharing a boat or a bank with his sons.
Kerr, who recently moved to Owatonna, fished professionally on the FLW Walleye Tour for four years. When he started in 2006, he had only one son, Trenton. Now four years later, he has three children: Trenton, 6; Braylon 3; Kyra Jo, 1.
With a growing family, Kerr decided right before a tournament in Red Wing in early May to take the year off.
“A lot of the guys are single, maybe only have one kid, or are not being the fathers they should be,” Kerr said. “That was a path I saw myself going down. I was choosing to be away from my kids and family, and it’s hard for them to come and live in the hotel for those days.
“I came to the point where I had to call my sponsors and tell them that I’m going to withdraw from this year’s season, and we will now see what the future holds with me and my family.”
While he hasn’t been fishing professionally, Kerr has been fishing. Last week, he took his two sons to Lake Pepin in Lake City.
One of the reasons I decided to take a break was because my kids kept asking if we could go fishing, and I had to say no, so I could go fishing with a bunch of strangers,” Kerr said.
Kerr has fished his whole life. As a child he said he would ride his bike to the creek and fish every day. His love for fishing continued until he started fishing in tournaments as an amateur. After learning from some of the top guys in the United States, he joined a Pro-Am walleye fishing league in Michigan. He won two tournaments and decided to make the jump to the FLW Professional Walleye League.
“After two league events, I realized I was ready to take the next step,” Kerr said. “I had some sponsor support and I was able to get on a Pro Staff team and with a boat company.”
The jump was very time consuming. The pro events were three and four days long, and he would need to fish the lake six days before the event to eliminate bad stretches of water. He had two top-10 finishes on the tour.

Kerr’s wife — the former Shannon McCauley, who graduated from Owatonna High School — supported his decision and planned to travel with him.
“Without her support, I never would have been to fish professionally,” Kerr said. “When I started I had one son. The idea was for her to travel with me and bring him. Well, along came my second son, Braylon, and Kyra. Now I am at the point where I have three children, and we ended up moving to Owatonna.”
His new profession is restaurant proprietor. He plans to open two Jimmy John’s Gourmet Sandwiches shop, one in Faribault on July 7 and one in Owatonna in the near future.
“I always loved the sandwich. It’s a quality sandwich,” Kerr said. “I’m excited to get involved with such a good company.”
Even with Kerr working long hours trying to get a new, small business up and running, he still plans to do some walleye fishing.
“Walleye are tough to catch, and I enjoy the challenge. I like the challenge of going out and consistently putting walleyes in the boat.”
And he won’t be doing it alone. His young sons are already solid fishermen.
“Last year, I took both of my boys nine miles out on Saginaw Bay,” Kerr said. “We got the limit on walleyes.”
When he was on the pro tour, the fish he caught had to be returned. Now if he catches a big fish, his record is 13 pounds, he can take it home and fry it in a pan.
“My wife will eat walleye because she knows I will cook the fish and clean up,” Kerr said. “I like my walleye pan fried.”
Kerr said he might go back to the pro fishing, but even if he doesn’t, he doesn’t have any regrets.
“A lot of the guys fishing today do not have a young family,” he said. “You have to look at the big picture. I have had lots of sponsors, magazine articles, just a lot of stuff the fishing industry has to offer. I did a lot, and now I’m ready to something else.”
Like make a roast beef sandwich and get it to you in 15 minutes.

From: Owatonna People's Press

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