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Volunteer Tagger First Kayak-Dedicated Angler to Achieve Master

"Kayak" Kevin Whitley holds up a Tautog he tagged as a volunteer with the Virginia Game Fish Tagger Program. ©Kayak Kevin Whitely

"Kayak" Kevin Whitley holds up a Tautog he tagged as a volunteer with the Virginia Game Fish Tagger Program. ©Kayak Kevin Whitely

"Kayak" Kevin Whitley holds up a Tautog he tagged as a volunteer with the Virginia Game Fish Tagger Program. ©Kayak Kevin Whitely

"Kayak" Kevin Whitley holds up a tautog he tagged as a volunteer with the Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program. ©Kayak Kevin

By Janet Krenn

“Kayak” Kevin Whitley recently became the first kayak-dedicated angler to achieve Master Angler status in Virginia.

Whitley is also notable for his major contributions to the Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program. Since joining the volunteer tagging program in 2006, Whitley has tagged more than 3,200 fish and has been on the program’s Top Tagger list annually since 2007.

“Kevin is a great ambassador for the sport of kayak fishing and promotes conservation,” says Susanna Musick, Virginia Sea Grant Marine Extension partner and VIMS Coordinator for the tagging program. “He regularly tags and releases citation-sized fish, and contributes valuable data to the tagging program. We are grateful for the time he takes to collect and report data for the program and congratulate him on his achievement.”

In addition to Whitley’s newest achievement of Master Angler, his fish tagging honors include:

  • 2010: Most Tagged Sheepshead
  • 2009: Most Tagged Sheepshead and Most Tagged Spadefish
  • 2008: Most Tagged Sheepshead and Most Tagged Spadefish
  • 2007: Runner-up Most Tagged Speckled Trout

The Virginia Game Fish Tagging Program is a cooperative project between VIMS, VMRC, and about 200 anglers who volunteer their time and effort to tag and release any of 10 targeted species of game fish. Since the program’s inception in 1995, more than 171,000 have been tagged and nearly 20,000 fish have been recaptured.