Jordan Lovejoy wanted to take up kayaking and fishing — the latter being something he had spent years doing at the time.
A rising senior at Severna Park High School, Lovejoy decided not to take kayaking lessons, nor venture into the water, or try to figure it out on his own. But he found a different way to learn all about kayaking: YouTube.
Lovejoy watched videos when he was in middle school for nearly two years before he decided to go out on the Severn River for kayak fishing.
The younger Lovejoy, then a student at Severna Park Middle School, watched the videos and waited to hit the water because of his age at the time.
But once he eventually hit the water, and he noted the amount of others out on the river, he got excited.
“I just fell in love with it,” Lovejoy said. “I learned how to function in a small space and how to have things sorted and where to put everything. I wasn’t very good when I first started. It took a lot of work and effort to improve.”
Lovejoy just did it for fun in the beginning, but he never imagined he would be so good at it to become a professional kayak fisherman. Two years after first getting in the water with a 10-foot kayak, he is now traveling up and down the East Coast to national tournaments. He’s fished in 16 overall.
His prize catches over the past two years are a 35-inch rockfish, 26-inch pickerel and a 23-inch small-mouth bass. Lovejoy plans to do the sport in college and is strongly considering Carson-Newman University in Tennessee.
“I would love to compete in a kayak fishing series in college,” Lovejoy said. “I want to look at some schools in Florida, including Florida State. They have kayak fishing teams. There are ways of getting scholarships through placing in tournaments.”
This year has been Lovejoy’s busiest as he has signed up for events that cost about $300 each. He has already participated in the Harris Chain of Lakes tournament near Orlando, Florida, as well as the Potomac River Kayak Bass Fishing Tournament, the Kayak Bass Fishing Tournament on Lake George in New York and the Hobie Bass Fishing tournament on the New River in southern West Virginia. He is going up against older men.
The 17-year-old finished 10th in the Potomac River Tournament among more than 100 competitors. His top five catches added up to 83 inches.
“They are all part of a bass fishing series,” explained Lovejoy, who played soccer at Severna Park High School for the past three years. “I am usually the youngest competitor. The ages run from 17 to 75. It’s been big learning from others and adapting changes on the fly.”
Lovejoy’s close friend, Ethan Cabucana, a rising junior at Severna Park who also kayak fishes, admires him for his accomplishments and passion for the sport. Cabucana frequently goes to national tournaments with Lovejoy.
“We go fishing every single day we have free,” Cabucana said. “Beyond family, this is the biggest part of his life. He has a lot of knowledge and just knows so much. He just has gotten so much better. He always knows how to catch the big fish.”
Lovejoy’s family bought him a new kayak last year because he is 6-foot-7 and needed a bigger kayak. The 14-foot kayak cost about $15,000 after adding special lighting and technical equipment.
Lovejoy’s mother, Jennifer, loves to tell the story about how her son got introduced to fishing.
“Since he was super young, he really has taken to fishing,” Jennifer recalled. “My dad (Ronald Shullaw) loved fishing and introduced him to it. We would go to Nebraska, where I grew up, and my dad would just show him how to fish.”