Photo: Kevin Whitley
A kayak angler setting up camp on the beach.

Find Your Spot On Mockhorn Island

Virginia’s Eastern Shore features hundreds of miles of deserted islands, white sand beaches, salt marshes and sparse maritime forests. The only place camping is permitted is the Wildlife Management Area on Mockhorn Island. Saw-grass and scrub forest hide the ruins of an abandoned settlement. Dilapidated barns, derelict houses, crumbling breakwaters and rusted machinery haunt the cordgrass and twisted cedar trees. Set up your tent above the high tide line and rule the ruins like a king.

CAMPER: Kayak Kevin Whitley, Ocean Kayak pro, blog and podcast host, www.kayakkevin.com.

ACCOMMODATIONS: 

MILD – WILD

The island is wild with no campsites, facilities or fresh water.

ACCESSIBILITY: 

CAR CAMPING – EVEREST BASECAMP

Four-mile paddle across fairly protected water.

POPULARITY: 

TOURIST MECCA – TOTAL ISOLATION

Birders and hunters visit during the day. Few people camp on the island.

TARGETS: Red drum, flounder, croaker, speckled trout, striped bass, tarpon.

TACKLE BOX: Medium action rods, 30- to 50-pound braid, 30-pound leader, jigheads and softplastics.

METHODS: Sight cast for big reds in the seaside inlets. Bounce jigs through creeks and cuts for flounder. Deeper channels hold croaker. Cast soft-plastics for striper and speckled trout around marsh islands.

LAUNCH: Wise Point or Oyster launch ramp.

CAMPING KIT: Summer camping is lightweight. A three-man tent that doubles as a sun shade during hot days. No sleeping bag. Instead sleep on an
egg carton foam pad with a light blanket and your favorite pillow.

DON’T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT: Two gallons of water per day.

MUST SEE: One hour north, the famous horses of Chincoteague live wild in the dunes. Time your trip in July to catch the annual rodeo.

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