The Reel Angler Story
Kevin Brannon has a passion and connection with the ocean. According to him, “Sitting on the Brown Barrels is where it all started”. He had a short bike ride to the Port Hueneme pier, the jetty, and the Channel Island harbor where he enjoyed fishing, snorkeling and playing in the tide pools which was like his back yard. He said “The secret spot was inside the Port.” Typically that’s where the best fishing is and you’re not allowed to fish there but that didn’t stop him. He always found ways to get in and it was all fun until getting kicked out.
Being raised by a single mother who worked on the docks for Del Monte, was an urban street savvy lady who enjoyed living the street life and enjoying what came with it for the most part. According to Kevin, she had her reasons for living the way she did. He now sees after growing up the bigger picture of life. Also recognizing and learning about mental health and self- medicating suppressants. Living in a few foster homes, a number of shelters, parks, abandoned buildings and every motel in Port Hueneme and Oxnard. The Villa Motel and the Regal Motel on Oxnard Blvd. were his favorite places to live. Life wasn’t always fun fishing at the local hot spots. Caving in to peer pressure and eventually walking on the wrong side of the law, Kevin became a ward of the court.
There was a time where he lived his life saying, “God has a sick sense of humor to let this happen.” from that point on, he didn’t care about anything or anyone. He felt he didn’t need to listen to anyone. Got kicked off 2 football teams for fighting and walking away cussing at the coaches and disrespecting them, yelling “you ain’t my mama or daddy”. Growing up in a tough childhood, as an adult he now understands that respect and how you treat and speak to others is how you get your own respect, especially with kids. Fast forward a couple of decades experiencing many more trials and tribulations, Kevin feels very blessed to have found his calling giving back to the community and streets which took so much from his childhood. Today he is the proud owner of The Reel Anglers Fishing Show where he mentors many children and young adults by showing them how to fish. They not only fish at our local piers and harbors, but out in the middle of the ocean on chartered fishing trips.
With a successful fishing show is how he created the Reel Guppies Outdoor Program. He takes children from 10-17 on fishing charters to teach them all aspects of the fishing business including fixing nets, rods and reels. By the time they complete his program, they gain quality on-the-job training and job skills in an industry that is hard to get in on. It’s not only fun, but for some of these kids it can be rewarding and potentially a ticket to getting off the streets.
Kevin didn’t have these type of mentors growing up and wanted to do something different, empowering and rewarding, mentoring the kids and offering opportunities where families cannot. It can change their lives and potentially start a pay it forward revolution empowering the children to never stop dreaming. Economics should never prevent children from trying to achieve something their parents could not. As part of the human race, we all have a moral responsibility to help those in need whenever we can.
In today’s world affluent parents tell their kids that they can do anything they put their minds to, but in non-affluent families, children get left behind due to a variety of circumstances. Kevin’s work with kids in this area is priceless. The smile on these kids says it all when they catch their first fish or ride on a boat for the first time. Everyday right here in our back yard live nameless people that give hundreds of hours of their time and money to help children with single parents. Kevin is one of those trying to raise the bar and hopefully inspire more people to create or volunteer to mentor those in need.
Story by – American Latino Magazine