Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Learning from the Pros.....

As a member of the Hobie Fishing Team, it is my responsibility not only to represent the Hobie name in a positive light but also to lead by example.  This can take many forms: from teaching folks about the Hobie brand; to showing potential owners how to properly use the Mirage Drive and the rudder system; and even showing new owners how to fish out of a Hobie safely.  However, the most important quality of an effective teacher is knowing when it is time to be a student of the game.

When it comes to fishing the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel complex, the most renowned kayak angler in this region and teacher is none other than Kevin Whitley or Kayak Kevin as his many fans and fellow kayak anglers know him.  Kevin has spent most of his life on the water in the Chesapeake region, and his knowledge is second to none when it comes to targeting the summer species that inhabit the CBBT brindge complex.

On this Tuesday evening, a band of kayak anglers amassed at the Appomattox River Company store in Hampton, VA to hopefully absorb just a smidgen of the vast expertise that resides in that inner space that inhabits the mind of Kayak Kevin.  For relative newcomers and somewhat seasoned anglers like myself, fishing the tunnel complexes can be challenging without any prior experience or tutelage on the water from the master himself or others that are proficient in fishing the CBBT like Rob Choi, Lee Williams, and Damien Hall.  It is imperative that one take baby steps first before venturing out into the unpredictable waters that roll through this area.

In the two hours that Kevin afforded us this evening, he not only summarized many of the concepts that are presented in digital form on his latest DVD, Kayak Fishing The Chesapeake Bay 2 - The Summer Species.  He took his time explaining the nuances of the anchoring in heavy current; the trouble areas/danger zones to avoid; and which currents may be considered too risky to enjoy your time on the water.  He even showed us different anchor types and why each type of anchor has its merits in certain situations.

As the night progressed, we were granted a special invitation into the fishing mind of Kevin and learned some subtle techniques on how to position the presentation relative to the structure depending upon the species you are targeting.  Simple things that the newcomer may miss like I did on my last trip - the leader length on your line for sheepshead is different than the one for tautog or the position of your clam for spadefish relative to the water clarity.

Kevin took time to answer a variety of questions relating to: how to read current prediction charts; what wind directions and speeds can affect your decision to head out; what weights should be used in the heavy current flows; proper anchoring techniques differ for the tubes and the areas between the bridges.  I admit that I have a pretty good retention factor on things I have heard or seen, but solidifying your understanding of a concept or technique by hearing it straight from the source in person is sometimes all that is needed to hammer that lesson home and ingrain it into your fishing brain.

Thanks Vic for opening up these events, and a huge thank you to Kevin for taking time out of his hectic schedule to educate us all.  It was and still is greatly appreciated.


  1. Sometimes I wish I lived closer!!!!

  2. It is a great video. One of the best investments I have made to learn some fishing techniques for this area. And if you have kids like I do you will find them watching it without you. My 12 yr old is in my my opinion is one of Kevin biggest fans. Last time we went into Oceans East to get bait he just kept staring at him then looks back to me back and forth until I just told Kevin my son couldn't stop watching his video. Made my sons day that day. Kevin is a good instructor for fishing these outstanding waters.