Oceanside, California – December 12, 2016 - After yielding fish, fun and friendships over a few cold ones combined with shrimp and crawfish, eleven North American World Championship Team members have just returned to their respective states from the Leeville area of Lafourche Parish, Louisiana. There they represented the USA and Canada for the sixth annual Hobie Fishing World Championship (HFW6) presented by Rhino-Rack™ and hosted by Hobie Cat® Company. Anglers either qualified through regional tournaments or were invited to attend the crowning event held December 8-10. Competitors from 17 countries fished for the chance to be crowned this year’s Hobie Fishing World Champion. After three days of challenging windy conditions, Steve Lessard deservedly claimed the top prize, becoming the first two-time Hobie Fishing World Champion. Just as soon as handshakes, camaraderie and celebrations were over, however, the other competitors started planning how the crown could be theirs at the 7th Hobie Fishing World Championship. (Date and location to be announced.)
Richard Somerton representing Australia took home a hard fought second place. Matthew Vann of the USA rounded out the podium with his third place finish. All competitors fished for trout, flounder and redfish from identically rigged Hobie Mirage® Pro Angler 14’s, provided by Hobie Cat Company and outfitted with Lowrance® Electronics, Power-Pole® MICRO™ Anchors, Yak-Attack accessories, Ram Mounts and equipment including Daiwa, Lurefans, Hobie Polarized and AFTCO gear.
Bassmaster Elite pro Michael Iaconelli – Ike to his legions of fans – surprised the 49 international competitors when he showed up at the welcome dinner to cheer them on. “Unlike the competitions that I’m involved in, kayak fishing takes more strategy because it is much different and more difficult pedaling to the fish than racing over in a motorized boat,” commented Ike. Competitors got a double surprise when he returned to congratulate Steve on his win and participate in the camaraderie that is an integral part of the Hobie Worlds.
Located in the bayous of Southern Louisiana, 90 minutes from New Orleans, Lafourche Parish is the gateway to Cajun Country and the Gulf of Mexico, offering a distinctly Louisiana “bayou” way of life and memorable experience for both U.S. and international competitors. And then there is the fishing. According to Hobie’s Keeton Eoff, this could easily be the kayak fishing capital of the world. “We are very proud that Hobie Fishing Worlds chose to host their international tournament in Leeville this year. One of the best assets of Lafourche Parish is the world-class fishing, and Hobie anglers have been able to experience what makes our area so exceptional. The visibility of this tournament on a national and international level allows potential visitors to see the recreational value of our destination and why they should experience it firsthand,” commented Timothy P. Bush, Executive Director of the Bayou Lafourche Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
For more information and images, log onto www.hobiefishingworlds.com
For day by day action, check Hobie’s blogs by logging onto www.hobiecat.com/xe/en/blog/
Since 1950, Hobie has been in the business of shaping a unique lifestyle based around fun, water, and innovative quality products. From their worldwide headquarters in Oceanside, California, Hobie Cat Company manufactures, distributes, and markets an impressive collection of eco-sensitive watercraft, with subsidiaries; Hobie Cat Australasia, in Huskisson, NSW, Australia and Hobie Cat Europe, in Toulon, France and independent distributors; Hobie Kayak Europe and Hobie Cat Brasil. These products include an ever-expanding line of recreation and racing sailboats, pedal-driven and paddle sit-on-top recreation and fishing kayaks, inflatable kayaks, fishing boats, surfboards, stand-up paddleboards and the new Hobie Mirage Eclipse™ Standup pedalboards, plus a complementary array of parts and accessories.
QUOTES FROM U.S. AND CANADIAN TEAM MEMBERS
Aaron Spry – Texas
“The fishing in Louisiana was amazing - at least during prefishing! I would like to thank Lowrance and Power Pole for helping out with this event. I don't think we would have been able to battle the elements effectively without them. That Cajun hospitality topped off the event with great food and drinks. Many thanks to Hobie and everyone involved. It was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever.”
Benton Parrott – Alabama
“Hobie Worlds 6 was an amazing time seeing old friends and making new ones. The weather turned on us with high winds and dropping temperatures. The field of competitors was able to overcome and there were lots of big fish caught. The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 with its reversible MirageDrive was a perfect choice handling the wind and currents with ease. Louisiana hospitality was the best you could ask for with friendly faces and amazing seafood served up nightly. I hope to make it back to Hobie Worlds 7 and compete with Team USA.”
Brendan Bayard – Louisiana
“I am quite humbled to receive the Rhino-Rack Anglers Choice at the Hobie World’s 6. It’s especially meaningful because it comes from my peers. And…it also means an expense paid trip to HFW7!!! Wow! Thanks for all the friendships and memories that were made this week. Huge thanks to the volunteer effort, sponsors, community and everyone at Hobie who worked so hard to make this such an amazing event. See you next time.”
Dave Poole – Ontario, Canada
“This was an experience of a lifetime. I was honored to be there representing Canada. The fishing was awesome and the hospitality was unsurpassed. Most of all, the people there were what made the event memorable. I now have friends from all over the world. And thank goodness for Hobie’s MirageDrive. With those winds and currents, it would have been practically impossible to maneuver those waters otherwise. Thank you Hobie for a wonderful event.”
Eric Harrison - Massachusetts
“Before coming to Louisiana, I’d never fished for any of the target species. I read a lot about them beforehand and put together a tackle box, but it didn’t work. The lures used here are much smaller than for similar sized fish in New England so I made a few visits to tackle stores. I also went out with guide Kalon Johnson. He’s very knowledgeable and showed me the techniques to go after redfish since I had never caught one before. I did catch my first black drum, a cool looking fish. Amazing event!”
Guillermo Gonzales – Texas
“Everyone is here with winning in mind, but it doesn’t feel that way. It’s more about coming together to enjoy the oldest sport in the world rather than having to win. That is NOT to say that I didn’t want to win, but being here was so much more. I really appreciate the fact that Hobie put on such a great venue. The people here in the South are wonderful and so hospitable. Thank you Hobie – and thank you for your MirageDrive. Without it in these currents and winds, the rescue boat would have been very busy!”
Joe Komyati – North Carolina
“Water levels here are a lot shallower than what I’m used to in North Carolina. Winds are the same but we don’t fish in this kind of wind. The food is amazing. I don’t make it a habit to eat weird stuff but I’m trying everything, like crawfish. I’m not sucking any brains out of them but I’m eating the tail! This location is great for fishing. Around every corner in the bayous you can catch a fish. Even foreigners who fish differently can do it. This area is awesome for fishing, food and people!”
Matthew Scotch – Florida
“5th place Hobie Worlds 6!!! You know it's a good day when you lose track of how many redfish you've caught! Thank you Hobie for a great event!”
Matthew Vann – Florida
“Nothing can prepare the acorn for all the elements and adversity it will encounter on the journey to become a mighty oak. There is just a yearning to grow. Faith, trust, courage and love are my anchors to never give up. I was ready. This philosophy resulted in my third place finish that left me speechless. The best part of the tournament has been meeting some new friends I’ll have for life. It has been an overwhelming experience. Thank you Hobie!”
Ron Champion – Georgia
“Hobie Fishing Worlds Championship is in the books. I had a 21-inch redfish today, but just could not find a trout. Not having a trout today cost me a Top 10 finish. But I did get a Top 20 coming in at 17th place. This was my first salt water event and 1st Worlds event. I’m so proud to have had a chance to represent Team USA and so proud of our team. And congrats to teammate Steve Lessard for winning it all. I really appreciated all the support and now it's time for some sleep. Early flight tomorrow and can't wait to see my wife and kids. God Bless and thank you all again.”
Steve Lessard – Louisiana
“First major cold front of year hit on day one. Honestly it helped me because I knew fishing conditions would change drastically. I knew it was going to be a physical as well as mental challenge. It’s easy to get discouraged with muddy water and high winds, but I was able to settle in and catch a few fish on the worst day. Day two went better and put me in first place.”
Coming in to day three, the weather improved, but fell back to a winter type pattern with an almost 20 degree drop in water temps. The slow winter deep water approach allowed me two fish early in the morning. So I relaxed and went around the pilings. The sun warmed up the shallower stuff so I could hunt for larger redfish as they warmed up and fed and I was able to pull in a redfish. I knew at that point that I was going to have a good score.
Decisions that run through your mind while competing are endless and in a kayak if you make a bad decision on area you choose, there is no turning back. You’re there – you just have to make best of it.”
Thomas Mullins – Michigan
“I competed in the Hobie Fishing World Championship this past week against some of the best anglers in the world and walked away with a top 20 finish. This experience might convert me from bass to redfish. The area is tougher than I’m used to on Michigan’s lakes. You can really get stuck in the marsh. I got stuck and had to get out and drag my kayak across the shallows. I nearly had to call search and rescue! The wind speed and tidal currents are much different. Everyone has been so nice and kind. It’s true southern hospitality.
Tim Percy – Ontario, Canada
“I came into the competition with a positive attitude. I didn't put any pressure on myself to win the competition. I went there for the experience. If I did well, that would be a bonus. All the competitors were great. I now have new friends around the world and rekindled other friendships that will last a lifetime. And the hospitality here in Southern Louisiana has been absolutely amazing. They have welcomed us with open arms. Bottom line…thank you Hobie for a fabulous event!”