Alan grew up stomping through muddy Pennsylvania creeks, toppling over stones to uncover small newts and anything that would scurry from beneath. His inquisitive nature drew him to the water like iron to a strong magnet, and every nice day he’d explore a new section of the river, pushing his way through brambles and thorn bushes while trying to keep his rod from tangling in the mess.
One late afternoon, as the dimming orange sun started falling from the sky, he and a friend slipped across a calm lake in a canoe. With the strangeness of the place and no
perception of the lake’s depth, he imagined monsters must lurk below with all the splashing heard around the boat. He carried no rods, but he yearned for a big fish, his first big fish. Small hatchery trout and rock bass were the only quarry he knew to hunt, and that first big fish would not come for over a decade.
After graduating college, he had a few business offers and little did he know this one decision would set his life down the path of fishing utopia. Alan opted to move to the shores of the Chesapeake Bay where a wealth of prime fishing opportunities awaited. Soon, he and a couple of friends purchased a rickety 30 year old boat, but because it offered the chance at getting off the shoreline to catch bigger fish, it felt like a dream ride. Getting a boat did not change the fact that he had no idea what he was doing, and constant repairs dampened his love for
Alan married his high school sweetheart, and they honeymooned on the beautiful tropical island of St. Lucia, where on a whim, they rented a pair of kayaks. He’d never
been on a kayak, but it reminded him of his day on that lake over 10 years ago. Upon return to the Chesapeake, he immediately purchased a starter kayak at a local sporting goods store and scoured the Chesapeake much like those muddy creeks back when he was a boy. He could not get enough of this new fantasy land full of striped bass, crabs, bald eagles and deer that paid him no mind in his kayak.
A year later, Alan upgraded to a pedal driven kayak, seeking bigger waters and those big fish he dreamed of catching for so long. Little by little he took cues from other anglers, piecing together fishing tactics for kayaks, since very few were on the bay back then. The sport, in its infancy, offered him a chance to pioneer his own methods, most of which he’s taught in his book, Light Tackle Kayak Trolling the Chesapeake Bay. These skills and methods, honed by years and countless hours on the water, were born from the analytical thought process
developed during his years spent earning his engineering degrees. In essence, he believed that a kayak offered a new tool to fish the same waters as the boaters, but this new tool offered a
completely new perspective that could catch fish more efficiently than any other vessel. Based on the numbers of large fish he’s caught, he was accurate in assessment.
Alan has become known for consistently catching large fish from his kayak on the Chesapeake Bay, but despite the vast numbers he’d caught and released, his very first stands out. After catching a total of zero fish in his first spring fishing season, he never gave in, and he returned to the bay every possible chance to learn the secrets of catching large striped bass. Finally
that day came as he anchored in swift current. The line from his reel violently unraveled, and with unmistakable headshakes, he knew he finally had his big fish on the line. Despite the anchor, the fish pulled him 30 yards from his starting point, spinning the kayak in all directions while boaters clapped and cheered. It was a moment he’d never forget as the brilliant striped fish came aboard the kayak for a quick photo before release.
The excitement from that first fish accelerated the rest of his fishing career. He couldn’t stand to be away from the bay, even in the deepest of the cold winter months where he catches some of his biggest fish. Don’t ask for his fishing spots because he won’t tell! Part of his fishing method requires breaking down large bodies of water into smaller, more manageable chunks that present differently over each season. Alan has mapped hundreds of hot spots at each location that he keeps guarded closely. No wonder he catches fish nearly every time he’s on the bay!