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Kayaking and Fishing With Your Kids: Set the Stage

by Brian Vincent

“One of the problems is we don’t spend enough time with our children, quality time. It’s hard to have a heart to heart with your kid, driving them to school, in 15 minutes. You’ve got to set a stage, create the environment. I think that’s what fishing does.” – Hank Parker

I recently watched a video of Hank Parker and Jackie Smith, and I heard the above statement. At the time Hank and Jackie were pedaling a Hobie Tandem Pro Angler 17T and fishing. It really stuck with me. It’s a simple sentiment and one that I’ve thought before in relation to outdoor activities and my kids. I have two daughters, one that is 3 and another that is 1. I want to take them kayaking. I want to take them fishing. I want to set the stage.

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The first time we took our eldest daughter out on a canoe and kayak river trip, she was nine months old. The James River has become a central body of water in her life. Just the other day, at 3 years old, she said, “Daddy, I want to go on the river and go fishing with you again.” Nothing has ever warmed my heart quite like that statement.

The first time we went fishing together, we sat on my in-law’s dock and caught some bass. She was 1.5 years old. I still remember the smile on her face.

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So, what’s the point of all this? Well, I’ve just been ruminating on what it takes to “set the stage” for those heart to heart talks. I’ve started setting that stage now. It’s something that all of us at Appomattox River Company have done. It’s a legacy passed down from ARC’s founder and owner, Bob Taylor.  Here he is with the original ARC family, paddling whitewater in West Virginia in 1989.

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Our General Manager, Tom Detrick, and his wife, Sarah, who works on our website, make a point of taking their kids out on the river. They’re setting the stage.

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Mary, who works in the office, and her husband Andy, always made a point of getting out with their son, Daniel. They set the stage.

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Daniel, now works at our Richmond store, and still paddles a bit. ;)

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You see, trying to “set the stage” is part of what we’re about as a business. It’s embedded in our very culture.

So how do you go about setting that stage. Well, speaking for myself, it’s all about reshuffling priorities. I love to get out and paddle, catch fish, etc, but when it’s daddy/ daughter time, that personal drive has to take a back seat. I have to focus on her experience, not mine. That’s not to say I don’t cast a line or two. I’m still a fisherman. ;)

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Personally, family river trips are my absolute favorite times on the water. I love catching big fish and editing the photos that result, but nothing matches the satisfaction of celebrating a day on the water with my family. Nothing beats spending time in the the outdoors, experiencing life with my girls. These are the moments that bind us together as a family and ensure that when the time comes, and the environment is right, that the heart to heart talks will come. Years of quality time outdoors will have already “set the stage.”

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Side note: When taking little ones out for a paddle, I’ve found certain items to be instrumental in ensuring a good time. Like snack cups, sunscreen and little Nalgene’s of juice.

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Two years ago, I wrote a blog about the Okee Dokee Brothers who had just won a Grammy for their kid’s album, ‘Can You Canoe?’ I talked about my daughter dancing around the room to their music and what it meant to me to focus on getting her outside and on the water with me. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I was already focused on setting the stage. This is how the blog ended:

“Watching these videos this morning, I get nostalgic for trips my family hasn’t even taken yet. Last night, when I showed my wife the above video, she remarked, “I want to go on another river trip with you.” Me too.
That is a desire I want to instill in Martha Lucy. The sanctuary of outdoor adventure with family. I want her to grow up, gleaning her strength and outlook from her family, instead of looking to popular culture for the construction of her identity.”

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Two years later, one of her favorite songs to sing along to is still ‘Can You Canoe?’ And the fact that she’s told me several times this winter that she wants to go fishing with me again is all the proof I need that I’m on the right track. I’ve got a 1 year old that will join us this year for her first river trip and I am already bubbling with excitement about that float. I know my girls are a little young for any real heart to heart talks, like the ones referenced in the Hank Parker quote, but I hope by setting the stage early, that when the time comes, these outdoor family adventures will provide the right sanctuary. It will be easy to get me out there. All they will have to say is, “Daddy, I want to go on the river and go fishing with you again.”

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Oh, and that cool wooden paddle in the first photo? It was a gift, from a longtime ARC favorite, the esteemed Colleen Laffey, to Martha Lucy. She recently passed it down to her sister.

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Eliza is now ready for the mighty James River.

Va Winter Bass Fishing, Whitewater Photography, Big Fish Fights, and the Live Outside goals

by Brian Vincent

The winter malaise has set in for most of us, but a few dedicated souls continue to get out and get it done. First up is some winter kayak bass fishing, then some whitewater photography, a big fish fight from a couple years back, and the Live Outside and Play goals for 2015. This is the Friday’s Finds, where we seek to highlight some of the paddlers who call Virginia home. PaddleVa is about all of us. While some of the stuff shared in these posts will come from outside our waters, Virginia will always be the primary focus.

First Up:

Drew Camp, our Jackson Kayak/ Werner Paddles/ Kokatat/ Orion Coolers/ Powerteam Lures Pro, recently did a bass fishing seminar at our Hampton location. Then he went out and hooked some hawgs. Click the link below the photo for the full story.

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Click the link for the full report: http://fishtailsbydrew.blogspot.com/2015/01/six-weeks-back-my-doctor-told-me-that-i.html

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Second Up:

Rob Choi, our Ocean Kayak/ Old Town/ Werner Paddles/ Kokatat/ YakAttack Pro, recently went on the hunt for some winter bass. Rob creates some of the coolest ink art with fish he catches. To get the full story on his mission and the celebrated work he creates, click the link below the photo.

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Click the link for the full report: http://www.angling-addict.com/2015/01/winter-bucketmouth-mission.html

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Third Up:

Home On The James is a great blog project we follow that celebrates the James River. Recently they spotlighted Derek Keaton, who’s father is well-known in these parts and has been a long time member of the family around here. In truth, all the Keaton men have been celebrated members of our family. Derek moved from RVA to Asheville and is out ripping it up, whitewater style. He also takes amazing photos. To get the full report and to see more great pics, click the link following this photo.

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Click the link for the full write-up: http://homeonthejames.com/2015/01/20/derek-keaton-photography/

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Fourth Up:

Kayak Kevin, Ocean Kayak/Old Town/Aqua-Bound/Yak Attack Pro, is always filming when fishing and looking to capture a good fight. He did just that on this oldie but goodie that he released last week. Here is Damien Hall catching a 55″ Red Drum from a kayak at the CBBT. It’s awesome!

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Fifth Up:

Jess Daddio, Blue Ridge Outdoors Travel Editor, has been writing and adventuring under the Live Outside and Play banner for the past year. We’ve loved following along. You probably would too. In the post linked below the photo Jess outlines her 2015 goals.. They are good ones. Check them out by clicking the link below the photo. One of them is to Paddle More. We definitely support that!

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Click the link for the full write-up: http://www.blueridgeoutdoors.com/liveoutsideandplay/a-solo-mission/

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As a bonus, here is a video of Jess going fly fishing for the first time.

The 3rd Annual Kayak Fishing Rendezvous and Chili Cook-Off

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Sunday, Feb. 8th 11am

Mountain men used to come out of the mountains at the end of the season to sell their furs, socialize, trade goods and tell stories at the Rendezvous. “Tidewater Kayak Anglers” might not have furs to sell, but when the kayak fishing is slow they know how to eat, drink, and tell stories!

Third annual Chili Cook-off and Pot Luck starts at noon. TKAA officers and board will judge the chili but everyone gets to enjoy the bounty! Judging of the chili will start with the potluck at noon.
ARC will provide hot dogs, rolls & chips, BYOB.
Gift Certificates will be awarded for 1st ($75), 2nd ($60), and 3rd ($50) in the Chili cook-off and participants will also be eligible for additional prizes from ARC and TKAA

TKAA will have club merchandise for sale and information about upcoming events

Swap meet – Set up a table or display any Kayak Fishing Gear you’re ready to send to a new home. Trade or sell it’s time to clean out the garage & closets!

Rigging workshop – Here’s a chance to install any new gadgets that showed up under the Christmas tree. Tools, stands, and guidance will be available for anyone ready to transform their kayak.

“Shad Fishing the James” seminar with Rob Choi at 1:00pm

Results & awards for the Chili Cook off will be announced after the Seminar

For additional information call ARC Hampton at 757-890-0500, email arc23693@yahoo.com, or at ARC’s FACEBOOK page for the event listing. For the most up to date info watch the Event listing on Facebook.

Kayak Fishing Tournaments – Event List for Virginia

 

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Kayak Fishing Tournament Events in Virginia

We’ll update this list as more tournaments come online.

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The Mid-Atlantic Kayak Bass Fishing Series aka MAKBF is kicking off with an event at Lake Anna on Feb. 28th.

“Tournament Series to promote competitive freshwater kayak bass fishing in the Mid-Atlantic region, to support Heroes on the Water chapters in our region and provide fishing opportunities for all levels of kayak anglers.”

For more info: http://www.makbf.blogspot.com/p/series-info.html

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The RVA Shad Shootout is scheduled for April 11th with a Captain’s Meeting on April 10th at ARC-Ashland.

“The Shad Shootout began in 2012 with 20 participants.  In 2013, the shootout doubled in size to 40 participants and in 2014, it had 60 participants.  The Shad Shootout is designed to be a fun yet serious competitive event raising money for a good cause.  This year the Shad Shootout is pleased to announce that benefactor of the 2015 Shad Shootout is the Tidewater Chapter of Heroes on the Water.”

For more info: http://www.shadshootout.org/

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The 7th Annual Yak Attack Tournament benefiting Heroes On The Water has been scheduled for May 15/16, 2015. Stay tuned to their Facebook page for more info as it becomes available.

Kayak Fishing at the Richmond Fishing Expo 2015 – PaddleVa Recap

by Brian Vincent

Once again, the Appomattox River Company kayak fishing booth, at the Richmond Fishing Expo, was a crowd-pleaser. The Expo takes place at the Meadow Event park in Doswell every January. This year the event ran from the 16th to the 18th. Prior to the event, Show Manager Les Gray had asked if we’d like to represent the expo on CBS 6, Virginia This Morning. We were psyched!

I drove down early Friday for the live broadcast. It was a pretty cool experience. Big thanks to Nan Choi, from CBS 6, for making me comfortable and getting us all set up. Click the link below the photo to watch the segment I did on kayak fishing and the fishing expo.

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For the full video segment click here: http://wtvr.com/2015/01/16/the-latest-and-greatest-fishing-boats-tools-and-tackle-are-coming-to-richmond/

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The show kicked off on Friday around 10am. I came in, did a quick interview with K95 Country, and then started helping the guys get ready. We had a great team of kayak anglers and staff in our booth and Aaron Dryden, Wilderness Systems Pro, wasted no time getting people psyched about the Wildy Ride 115x Max Angler.

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 Our spot was looking pretty good. We can really fill some space.

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Later in the day, Chuck Wrenn, Hobie Fishing Pro, stepped up and conducted a Kayak Rigging Seminar. Thanks Chuck!

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We had a good crowd on Friday, but Saturday is the busiest every year. This Saturday was no different.

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Big thanks to Herschel Finch, Jackson Kayak Pro, for driving down to spend the weekend in our booth. We definitely appreciated having him.

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Saturday also brings out all of our community pro staff guys, and big wigs in the scene. ;) It’s cool to hang in the booth and get to visit with everyone. Like these ruffians.

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 Thom Mattauch (R) is the tournament director for the RVA Shad Shootout which will benefit Heroes On The Water. Tom Vanderheiden (L) is the Chapter Coordinator for out Tidewater Chapter. I’ll be posting a tournament schedule blog up soon to highlight all the great events coming up this year.

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The Hobie Pro Angler 17T Tandem definitely was drawing a crowd.

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And the Orion Coolers were a hot ticket as well.

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 Kayak Kevin, Ocean Kayak Pro, was hanging in the booth on Saturday, and he always draws a crowd. I have hung with some kayak angler pros who did not impress me with the ego they brought to events. Kevin has absolutely none of that. He’s a great ambassador to the sport and truly humbled by those who seek him out. We all have a lot of respect for the man.

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I scooted over and watched local Farmville legend, John Crews of Missile Baits, give his seminar on bass fishing. I was glad I got a chance to catch up with John and talk to him about getting him in a kayak this year. We’ll see if we can make that happen.

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I also had a great time meeting Andy Andrews, Heritage Chevrolet Fishing Team and Angling Virginia TV. Andy revealed that he’d recently gotten into kayak fishing and that it had changed his life. We all know that story! So happy to have met Andy and I’m looking forward to working with him in the future.

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The Richmond Fishing Expo is always a good time. We love being in the back next to the glitter rockets. Kayaks look pretty economically priced in comparison. ;)

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It is always a blast seeing everyone from the community come out. The booth turns into a cool little party with folks stopping by to chat. I love how supportive our Virginia kayak fishing community is during these events.

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William Ragulsky, Hurricane Kayak Pro, and Jay Brooks, Wilderness Systems Pro, both stopped by.  Rob Choi, Ocean Kayak Pro, and Drew Camp, Jackson Kayak Pro, also showed up. Jeff Lockhart, Seth Goodrich, Kam Goodrich, Alex Britland and a host of other great anglers from our community popped into the booth. On Sunday Mark and Kris Lozier, Native WaterCraft Pro, both hung out and talked kayak fishing all day. It really is a fun time seeing everyone come out.

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Photos courtesy of Tom V. and Andrea N.

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But ultimately the greatest part of the  Richmond Fishing Expo is the chance to interact with the larger angling community. I personally enjoyed so many great conversations with folks who were curious about kayak fishing or specific kayaks, etc. It is an awesome experience. I know all of us that worked the booth feel the same way. Spreading the love of kayak fishing is what we do and I hope all of you felt the kinship and camaraderie that springs from that passion. Thank you for coming to see us.

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Thank you to all the Pro Staff mentioned above for coming and working the booth with us! Thank you to all the ARC team, Vic, Andrea, Kayak Kevin, Brian Vande Sande who stayed in the booth and hustled. Big Props to all the guys and gals at ARC; Tom, our GM, Big Al, Colton, Chris, Sterling, Brian Graham, Mary, Sara M, Sara D, etc who hustle all week to make it happen. It’s a big team effort.

Per a text I received from Nan Choi, Senior Acct. Executive – CBS 6 – ” My guys came by (the expo) and said you guys were slammed! My friend, Scott, talked to you for 20 mins. and was thrilled! Jeff said you had the BEST booth at the expo. Not blowing smoke. He said it was awesome!”

So once again, it has been confirmed. We had the best booth at the expo. ;)

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** I’ll be posting all the photos I took from the event on our Facebook page tomorrow.

************* Did we mention this guy? Brian Vande Sande spends more time on the show floor than probably anybody else and is intricate to the set up and breakdown process. How many of you have bought a boat from this face?

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