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Rivah Visitor's Guide

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Yakking 4 Fish

by Tom Chillemi

Click above to watch a video about kayaking in the Northern Neck.
There’s a calmness about being on the water. It’s intangible. Maybe it’s the rocking, as waves wash away the real world, if only for a while.

The less water is disturbed, the more peaceful it is. A kayak may be the best way to experience the water, to be as fluid as a fish and become part of that magical world that is the Rivah.
Kayaks are lightweight and glide with very little effort.

The basic sit-on-top kayak can be rigged for fishing and Northern Neck Kayak has a fleet of them. “With a kayak, you are able to slip into your fishing area virtually undetected,” said Don Davidson, who along with Brian Webb and Marshall Sebra, operates Northern Neck Kayak (NNK).

NNK offers kayak fishing trips from several locations on the Northern Neck, including the Tides Inn.

Davidson, Webb and Sebra have years of experience between them and a fleet of specially outfitted Ocean and Wilderness System kayaks. They provide everything and will even bait your hook. All you do is show up.

Kayaks are very effective fishing platforms because they are so maneuverable. Probably most importantly, “the kayak provides fishing access to areas that you simply cannot get to by other means,” said Sebra, who likes fishing the marsh grass at high tide and areas with underwater vegetation. Access is a lot easier and one doesn’t have to worry about fouling a prop in the underwater grass.

You can fish for croaker, juvenile red drum (puppy drum), speckled trout and rockfish. The inshore waters are sheltered, calm and rarely fished. Perfect for the kayaks. With so many options, rarely are kayak anglers “weathered out” by Mother Nature, said Davidson.

Brian Webb and Don Davidson of Northern Neck Kayak.
The trio knows what’s biting at different times of the year and which lures or baits to use.

The 13-foot-long open kayaks that you sit on top of are wide, comfortable and very stable. They even have a back rest and drink holder.

In a kayak you feel the water, and you can splash in on to cool off when it’s hot. “You notice things you might miss in a boat,” said Davidson. “People in kayaks love to sneak up on wildlife.”

The NNK kayaks are rigged for the novice paddler. The paddle and fishing rod are tethered to the kayak using coiled cords (similar to a phone cord) so you don’t have to worry about dropping anything in the water.

The anchoring system allows the paddler to deploy the collapsible anchor from the seat and tie it either to the bow or stern of the kayak.

Family adventure
Kayaking is a family sport. There are tandem kayaks so two people can be in one boat. Dogs also are welcome to come along, said Webb.

One of the guides is always at the rear of the group to keep people from getting spread out. If you have trouble keeping up, they’ll even give you a tow.

It takes very little effort to propel a kayak. These lightweight “yaks” are easy to control. No experience is necessary.

You’re also able to explore on you own, something you can’t do with a boat full of people.

The day we went out, people would try fishing different places, gather back to talk, and then go back out in different directions. Some went for the bulkhead by an old building, others fished around dock pilings, some trolled with the rod held in a convenient holder.

It was an easy trip. The guides did everything for us, even towing me when I started lagging behind. Just floating was very enjoyable.

If you’ve never tried kayaking and fishing, Northern Neck Kayak has a way for you to experience both.

The guides show you how to cast with their top-of-the-line rods and reels. They explain how to “jig” the lure to make it move and stop, or bounce it off the bottom. Fly fishing is another option.
They also offer trips to hunt for fossils, trips to a working oyster hatchery and an island, and even night paddles. (Full moons are June 18, July 18 and August 16.)

NNK can custom design a trip. They’ll even bring their kayaks to your family picnic and take people out on the water.

They can take photos of your trip so you can remember your good times at the Rivah.

posted 07.31.2008

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