Trophy: Virginia Angler Recognition Program Citations.

Hunting grounds: Virginia.

Trophy room: Virginia Class III Master Angler.

What’s a trophy?

I use the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries guidelines for a trophy catch. Through the VDGIF Angler Recognition Program, a panel of experts sets minimum trophy requirements for length and weight in 25 freshwater species. Anglers who make a qualifying catch register their fish online or at a weigh station and receive a citation plaque for the catch.

Toughest accomplishment?

I left Virginia on a week-long solo expedition to east Texas to target alligator gar, one of North America’s largest freshwater fish. After a week of camping and fishing in the blistering hot Texas backcountry, I was rewarded with a prehistoric monster measuring over six feet long and weighing over 130 pounds! It was a fish and an adventure I will remember for the rest of my life.

Josh Dolin
Josh Dolin

Favourite fish story?

It was a balmy August night and my girlfriend, Harley Canty, and I were beached on a rock in the middle of the James River targeting carp and gar. I cast out a live bluegill and a massive blue catfish shot up and crushed the bait. The rod bent to the cork, within seconds my 10-pound braided line was gone and I was into the backing on my small spinning reel. Desperate, we jumped in the kayak. I fought the fish from the cockpit, while Harley paddled from the stern. The line was popping off every rock in the James River. After a long battle, we were finally able to bring the beast aboard. The super tanker went 46 inches and just over 65 pounds. It took superb teamwork.

What motivates you?

I’m a very competitive person, so I get great pleasure out of trying to beat my own personal bests. I also like showing others my catches and proving to people that there are big fish close to home. I like encouraging others to chase big fish by showing people that they are definitely catchable.

Trophy hunting doesn’t
have to break the bank. Josh Dolin finds his
trophies close to home. | PHOTO: JOSH DOLIN

Advice to future trophy hunters?

Leave no stone unturned and leave no clue unsearched. Trophy fishing is like piecing together a puzzle. Each bit of information you can gather is significant, although you may not know where it fits in the picture at first.

How do you celebrate?

I fill out and send in trophy fish paperwork to the Virginia Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. They add the information to their records and send an awesome looking certificate commemorating the trophy fish.

This article was first published in the Winter 2016 issue of
Kayak Angler Magazine.
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