- Mike Iaconelli says, “Kayak fishing takes more Strategy”
- 17 Countries in Competition
- Steve Lessard of USA is Winner
- Fishing Site: Lafourche Parish, Louisiana
By Forrest Fisher
Recreational kayak use and fishing from kayaks has skyrocketed and grown to new heights in the past few years. Anglers from all over the world now compete in numerous fishing championships, but the biggest of these is the Hobie Fishing World Championship, held this past weekend in Lafourche Parish, Louisiana.
To fish in 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 premier kayak fishing event of the world. A total of 49 competitors from 17 different countries fished for the chance to be crowned this year’s Hobie Fishing World Champion. There were 11 North American World Championship Team members from USA and Canada.
The competition was tough enough with the best kayak anglers in the world here facing each other, but the biggest opponent may have been the nasty weather. Murky water and heavy wind provided an increasing degree of difficulty for anglers paddling their customized Hobie Kayaks in the competition.
After three days of hard-fought fishing rivalry, Steve Lessard of the USA earned the top prize. Richard Somerton representing Australia took home second place and Matthew Vann of the USA rounded out the top three with his third place finish.
The 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, Lurefacs, Hobie Polarized and AFTCO gear.
Bassmaster Elite pro Michael “Ike” Iaconelli 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,” said Timothy P. Bush, Executive Director of the Bayou Lafourche Area Convention & Visitors Bureau.
NOTE: 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.