Little Island pier draws visitors who cast away on a late summer evening

Vernon Davis, visiting Sandbrudge from Deptford, N.J., cleans fish at Little Island Fishing Pier on Tuesday, Aug. 28, while Kylie Luehrmann, 6, Kora Luehrmann, 4, and their grandmother, Laura Luehrmann, look on. Davis and his family have come to Sandbridge for about 15 years, and he said fishing is a regular part of their family activities here. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

SANDBRIDGE — Vernon Davis is from Deptford, N.J., and he and his family have vacationed in Virginia Beach for about 15 years. They started out at a hotel when they first came to the area, but renting a house eventually won them over. Now they are Sandbridge regulars who tend to come late in the summer season.

“You get the best of both worlds,” he said of vacationing in Sandbridge.

On a weekday evening just before Labor Day, Davis fished as night fell with his uncle and one of his daughters at Little Island Fishing Pier, a popular spot for locals and tourists alike. At a cleaning table, he filleted some of his catch, a skill he picked up with the help of a YouTube video.

His work caught the attention of Kylie Luehrmann, 6, a vacationing Ohioan. She wasn’t fishing.

“We were at the park,” said Kylie’s grandmother, Laura Luehrmann. “We just came to walk on the pier.”

Kylie Luehrmann held a small oyster shell.

“I found a jellyfish this morning,” she said, though she was not carrying that one around.

She watched Davis at work. “Cool.”

“You’ve never seen it before, have you?” her grandmother said.

“He’s got a lot in his bag,” Kylie Luehrmann said of Davis’ catch.

It was a warm night on the pier at Sandbridge. Davis was there with family as the end of the season neared. “This year it was 10 of us,” he said. “One year we had 17.”

He has six kids. “Most of them are adults now.”

He said it’s good to bring the family together here.

“Just relax and have a loud house,” Davis said.

It was quiet on the pier, though the quiet was punctuated by moments of action. Or, at least, potential action. One person on the pier thought they had a bite, though their hook was caught on the pier. It was quite a fight.

Davis seemed to be having much more luck on the other side of the pier. “We always come right before Labor Day,” he said. “It’s a great time, a beautiful beach.”

Nearby, Kevin Burnette of Roanoke fished with two of his sons, Keegan, 14, and Keith, 12. They were doing battle with crabs, trying to catch them in nets while trying to keep them from stealing bait from hooks meant for fish.

“This is our fifth year in a row we’ve been down to Sandbridge,” he said. “We love Sandbridge. We’ve been renting different houses. We haven’t had the same house yet.”

He had a bite on his hook. Or a pinch, rather.

“I’ve got a crab taking my stuff,” he said.

A few feet away, Davis’ uncle, Robert Williams of Landsdow, Pa., fished. He reeled one in.

“We rent a house,” he said. “Most of the kids, they’re grown up – college, marriage. We still come down.”

They rent a house at Sandbridge, where there is a pier at which generations of families – whether they are from here or elsewhere – fish together.

Keith Burnette, 12, of Roanoke removes a fish from his hook at the Little Island Fishing Pier. Burnette was on vacation with his family this past week, and he headed to the pier with his father and older brother on Tuesday, Aug 28. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]
Against a darkening sky, a fisherman heads off the pier with his gear and a cooler containing his catch. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

© 2018 Pungo Publishing Co., LLC

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