As the sport’s most prolific graphic designer, Alan Tharrington is the man behind many of the most viewed kayak angling images. Under the moniker of FishDV8, Alan has provided logos and designs to many top ranked, sport-specific websites, including HOOK1 and Kayak Bass Fishing. The Virginia Beach resident is also known for his generous spirit, a trait that has led him to donate art and time to the Heroes on the Water organization. In addition to graphic design, Alan is an accomplished fine artist; his work can be viewed on his website: http://www.fishdv8.com.
What first drew you to this style of angling? When was that?
It was by pure coincidence. I had a friend approach me about fixing his float tube, and I remembered seeing one in a local fishing forum. So I put them together and the guy asked me if I could do a logo for his club (he and a few others were starting a kayak fishing club called “Pirates of Lynnhaven”). They needed help with a logo so I did them one, and delivered the art at one of their meetings.
Do you remember the first fish that you caught from a kayak?
Hell Yeah!!! It was a big fat slot red with multiple runs; it reminded me of some of my deep sea trips but with out all the fuel.
Given the fact that the majority of leading kayak angling websites feature your graphics, one could say that, at this moment, you are, in essence, the visual face of the sport and its associated popular culture. What does this mean to you?
Although not my intention, I feel kind of honored by even thinking that I am the face of kayak fishing and I’m still beside myself as to how quickly my art has flourished. I’m just trying to do what I love, and I feel very blessed that I am able to create designs inspired from my passion for kayak fishing. So I guess it means there are more then a just a few people out there that share the same passion as I do.
What food and/or music fuels your drive to the put-in?
All I can say is DFK!!! (a very funny but politically incorrect story)
Who, specifically, is shaping the future of kayak angling?
Hmmmm, that’s a tough one because there are so many innovators in this sport. I would have to say Chad Hoover with his show airing on NBC – this is going to put kayak fishing in the mainstream. Other notables are Luther Cifers with all of his intuitive design; he’s an artist in his own right. The HOW organization, which helps out disabled & returning vets buy putting them on the water and letting them lose themselves. There are too many kayaking organizations, businesses, and individuals too mention that are giving their time and talents to charities and such, which really puts a human element on the face of kayaking.
Barring money or logistics, what is your dream kayak angling trip?
I have always dreamed of going to Alaska and fishing for halibut. It’s looks as if it is a whole different world.
Your style, as it pertains to graphic design, is quite recognizable, and features a number of reoccurring themes, such as contrasting colors, bold lines, and fish that are rather menacing in their demeanor. Tell us a bit about the etiology of your signature look.
Having been a professional artist for the majority of my life, I have mastered all the basic disciplines. It was just a matter of changing the subject matter. So when drawing fish, I imagine some of the fights I have been in, and to me it really is a fight. That pissed off fish is fighting for his life. Hence the defiant look.
What’s in your milk crate?
Chuckling, I don’t even own a milk crate; the closest thing I use is a stainless autoclave box that someone gave me. When I first got into kayaking, I used to take every piece of fishing equipment I owned, and my kayak looked more like an alien with a depth finder face and rod holder arms reaching out. Nowadays, I decide on target fish, and only take what I need, which is usually just thrown into the yak.
Tell us about your best day on the water.
Watching my then 6 year old daughter catch her first fish, and then coming a 1/4oz shy of winning a crappie tournament against a group of grown men. She had a huge slab and she was already planning on spending the money on a keyboard. Well at weigh-in, when she was bumped from the leader board, to my surprise she stood there so stoic and kept her composure until we got in the truck and then she fell apart crying. I told her that since she was such a good sport about it that I would get her the keyboard.
What is the kayak fishing lifestyle?
For me it’s freedom; a self propelled piece of plastic which not only frees me from the shore, but every other modern convenience that seems to oppress us all.
Tell us a story, any story.
Even though I didn’t own a kayak, I was allowed to join a kayak club with my 16′ johnboat. I was impressed by the rapport and openness to share information. Without a doubt, after selling the boat and buying my kayaks, along with the help from other yakers, I have become a more accomplished angler. Plus I don’t have to worry about stopping to put gas in the motor.
What does the future hold for you?
First thing I thought of was laughing, especially after having gone to the “Pirates Of Lynnhaven” monthly meeting last night. I couldn’t help but notice, and it caused me to reflect on the genuine camaraderie between kayak fishermen. Yeah, I know all fisherman joke and tell lies, but there is something about fishing from a kayak that bring a whole different cohesion between us. So for me, I see a lot of new fishing destinations, catches, and best of all, new friends and acquaintances who enjoy this sport as much I do.