Trophy Hunters: Josh Dolin | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
Josh Dolin poses with a fish he caught in his kayak. Photo: Josh Dolin

Targeting the biggest fish and toughest catches

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.

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.

Discover the trip of a lifetime with the Rapid Media Paddling Trip Guide

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.

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 originally published in Kayak Angler, Volume 10 • Issue 3. Read this issue.

Related items

  • Long Live The Man Cave

    Long Live The Man Cave

    My wife makes air quotes when she calls it my workshop. The realtor described it as a detached garage, but the only car inside is my daughter’s forgotten Barbie Jeep.…


  • Kayak Kevin’s East Coast Tour

    Kayak Kevin’s East Coast Tour

    When “Kayak” Kevin Whitley set off on a six-month, 1,000-mile kayak tour of the east coast, he had the support of major sponsors and the attention of the world. The…


  • 8 Best Blades For Kayak Fishing

    8 Best Blades For Kayak Fishing

    Ask any experienced angler and he’ll tell you nothing affects an angler’s experience on the water more than his choice of paddle. Whether it’s your primary source of propulsion, or…


  • The Kayak Fishing Motor Trend

    The Kayak Fishing Motor Trend

    First came paddles, then came pedals. Now anglers are increasingly choosing electric motors to power their kayaks. No one argues these systems aren't great for people who can’t or don’t…


  • Eric Hensen’s Jumbo Shrimp Tips

    Eric Hensen’s Jumbo Shrimp Tips

    Gulf shrimp demand big money at the seafood market. It’s no wonder that trout, reds, tarpon and snook are willing to pay the ultimate price to feed on these tasty crustaceans.…


  • How To Mimic Shad To Catch Huge Bass

    How To Mimic Shad To Catch Huge Bass

    Largemouth bass have a large appetite. It takes a big bait to satiate a big bass. Largemouth will feed on bluegills, other bass and large shiners or minnows, but they…


Popular Articles

Now On Newsstands


Join 47 000+ fellow anglers! Get the latest fishing news and special offers delivered straight to your inbox.  




1 (613) 706-0677