Aqua-Bound ProStaffer Kevin Whitley is an active kayaker in several venues: ocean touring, kayak fishing—both salt and freshwater—and whitewater kayaking.
His kayaking beginnings were ambitious: his first trip was a 500-mile ocean tour from the Georgia/Florida border to Norfolk, Virginia in 2003. He embarked on several more long-distance kayak trips over the next few years, from 180 miles to 1,800 miles.
Kevin is a Virginia native and fishes both in salt water and on the freshwater rivers in his area. We asked him to tell us a little more about himself:
BB: How did you get started kayaking and kayak fishing?
KEVIN: I started in a kayak to get into long distance touring—traveling and camping long distance by kayak. Fishing came along right with it. On my third day paddling I fished off of the kayak and realized how well they go together. I hadn’t fished before kayaking—I developed all of my fishing skills from a kayak.
I just started running the rivers here in Virginia. After the last tour in 2017 getting beat down by the wind, I took the next year off of the open water and learned about the rivers, smallmouth fishing and the rapids. We have some exciting fall line rapids in Virginia.
BB: What do you love about kayaking?
KEVIN: I love the exploratory and adventurous nature of kayaking. I can go places by kayak no one else can get to, and I can catch any fish off a kayak. I can explore out to island beaches and camp. I can find a new adventure on a river at a level that I haven't done yet. I can paddle literally anywhere on the southeast coasts. I could paddle to Texas if I wanted to—that’s the freedom to explore a kayak can offer.
BB: Is there a local Aqua-Bound dealer you like to work with?
KEVIN: Appomattox River Company in Farmville, Virginia. It’s the oldest family-owned kayak shop in Virginia. It’s been around before I was kayaking, and I've been paddling for 20 years.
BB: Do you introduce new folks to kayaking and/or fishing?
KEVIN: I believe I do that with my videos and posts. I know I did with my DVD series on the Chesapeake Bay. I do try to show what’s doable in a fishing kayak in both saltwater and on rivers.
My DVDs came out before social media was as big as it is today. They were full movies at the time when you couldn't put hour-and-a-half long movies on there. They had a good impact on the mid-Atlantic area. I made a three-part fishing series and one of the Bay Tour when I documented my 600-mile, 6-week tour around the Chesapeake Bay.
I continue to put videos on YouTube. I also did a podcast on YouTube for two years before my last tour.
(All photos courtesy of Kevin Whitley)
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