Virginia is well known for its contributions to the history of our great country. The waters of Virginia were and are the very lifeblood of our country and many great men and women have roots in Virginia. These same waters are again making a contribution to the development of another great history, the history of Kayak Fishing.
I know, I know many folks will say that California, Florida, Texas, and even some of the northeast states started the kayak fishing craze… and I’ll give them due credit, but this is about some Virginia folks who have contributed so much to the sport nationwide. In the Tidewater region alone, we have pro-staff members representing every major kayak manufacturer. Not to mention the world class kayak fisheries we have here in Virginia, but that’s another story for next month.
Let’s step back to around 2005, there were few hardcore kayak anglers back then, those of us who were serious about it got together and organized the Tidewater Kayak Anglers Association (TKAA). The initial plank owners included many Virginia kayak fishing pioneers, such as Chad Hoover, George Hughes, Ric Burnley, Kevin Whitley, Mark Lozier, Jeff Suber, and myself. Through the years TKAA has became one of the largest clubs in the sport. TKAA also started is annual Charity Kayak Fishing Tournament, which gives the proceeds to Project Healing Waters and Heroes on the Water (HOW). Tidewater HOW Director, Tom Vanderheiden has made this chapter a leader in the organization, and runs one heck of a program! In 2011 the TKAA tournament had over 240 entries and contributed thousands of dollars to its charities. It is one of the largest kayak fishing tournaments in the country and they continue to grow each year. Kudos to Tournament Director, Wayne Bradby, for taking the tournament to the next level! Check them out at tkaa.org
Now let’s talk about some of the kayak fishing folks that hang their hat in Virginia, starting with the legend himself Kayak Kevin Whitley. Originally called the “HRBT Bandit”, Kevin is no stranger to those in the sport. He is arguably the most extreme kayak angler of all time, but he keeps it real and loves fishing his home waters of the Chesapeake Bay. Kayak Kevin is on the Ocean Kayak Pro Staff, the first Virginia to achieve Master Angler status from a kayak, and with three DVD’s under his belt has become a seasoned filmmaker. His most recent DVD is “Kayak Fishing the Chesapeake Bay 2 Warm Water Species”. You can find out all about Kevin at kayakkevin.com. Kevin is truly a mogul to the sport and a Virginian!
I really need to mention Mark “vbfinsup” Lozier. Mark is an accomplished blogger as well as an exceptional kayak fishing guide. Mark has contributed so much to TKAA, HOW and to the sport of kayak fishing. Mark has given numerous seminars and is a very familiar face to many as he manned many booths at various fishing shows. Mark is on the Native Watercraft Pro Staff, as well as Diawa’s Pro Staff, and is a rep for Marsh Works. Mark chronicles his adventures on his blog Fishn’ Ain’t Easy, be sure to check out his latest adventures. In 2012 Mark has started his own kayak fishing service called 1st Landing Kayak Fishing Services.
The next three authors all have successful kayak fishing books. Out of all the 6 major books on the sport, three authors are from Virginia. Not too shabby!
The first Virginian to write a Kayak Fishing book is Ric Burnley. Ric is a regular contributor to several publications, including The Saltwater Sportsman, Outdoor Life, The Chesapeake Angler and The Fisherman Magazine. A longtime fishing buddy to Kayak Kevin, Ric has shared some great kayak fishing adventures, including offshore tuna and amberjack fishing. His book “The Complete Kayak Fisherman” was one of the first books about the sport. You can find it at www.burfordbooks.com
I consider Chad “Knot Right” Hoover a great friend and fishing buddy. We have fished together all over the East and Gulf coasts. I consider him one of the most knowledgeable kayak anglers ever. Chad is the Pro Staff Coordinator for Wilderness Systems Kayaks and is a Naval Officer based in Norfolk, VA. Chad can fish anyway and everywhere possible, but his passion lies in freshwater bass fishing. Chad grew up a bass fishin’ in the swamps of Louisiana and the knowledge he learned has made him one awesome kayak bass angler. Chad has put all his knowledge in his book; Kayak Bass Fishing, and its complementary website www.kayakbassfishing.com. KBF is one the most popular kayak fishing resource on the web. Chad is also an owner of HOOK1 which is an online store specializing in kayak fishing gear. “Knot Right” is a great contributor to the sport and continues to lead the charge!
The last author is yours truly, my book “Kayak Fishing: The Complete Guide” is also a great resource for the beginner kayak angler. I have also produced a Kayak rigging DVD, both available at www.ruthlessfishing.com. I’ve got lots in the works so stay tuned here and at the Ruthless sites for more. Put Kevin’s DVD’s, Ric’s, Chad’s and my books together, and you will have the most complete kayak fishing library ever! All from a few guys from Virginia!
Another Virginia kayak angler that is also leading the charge with new and innovative gear is Luther Cifers of Yak Attack. Luther has engineered and produced some outstanding products for rigging fishing kayaks. It started with the VisiPole 360 light, and his most recent product the, Mighty Mount, PanFish, Gear Trac and the Bullet are going to make any kayak a fishing machine. In just a year, Luther has made a great name for the YakAttack brand, and its all made in the USA! The entire line is also available here at HOOK 1.
Super angler and dad Rob Choi
It would be wrong not to mention a great up and coming Kayak Angler. Richmond, VA’s own, Rob Choi. In the last few years he has caught just about every notable fish in Virginia. His blog documents it very well and his videos are outstanding. Rob has caught the eye of the industry and you would be wise to follow his adventures on www.angling-addict.com. Rob is also a great artist; check out his painting and fish prints, you won’t be disappointed.
Well there you go, a few Virginian’s who have, and will do so much for the kayak fishing community. Please check out the links, and follow the blogs! I’ll challenge any other state to come up with more, and if you do I am even sure I’ll find a few I may have missed.
Next month I’ll highlight the greats kayak fisheries here in Virginia! See you on the water!