Kayak trolling

Kevin Nakada of Hobie holds a hefty smallmouth caught trolling on an offshore reef on Lake of the Woods.

Add systematic trolling to your kayak angling skills

By Mike Pehanich

Kayak anglers would do well to adopt one of fishing’s most misunderstood, underrated and underutilized approaches to mapping structure and finding fish. And Torqeedo motors can make the practice many times more effective!

Trolling is an angling art probably as old as the dugout canoe.

Today, however, some anglers view it with a jaundiced eye.

Rob Wendel trolls for giant Lake Michigan steelhead, brown trout and salmon out of a Hobie Pro Angler 14 and 17 outfitted for big fish.

Attitudes toward trolling generally stem from waters fished and species pursued. Tournament bass anglers tend to snub the practice. Fishermen pursuing species like trout, salmon or walleye over the broad expanses of the Great Lakes and other spacious waters regard it as a critical means of finding fish spread across vast watery acreages.

Opinions vary, but kayak anglers in general have been fairly open-minded about trolling. For many, however, it is simply a way to keep a lure working while traveling to the next target location. Relatively few treat it as a technique worthy of practice and refinement.

Too bad! Knowledge, ambition and experience can transform trolling from a passive practice to a fine angling art. What’s more, refined trolling techniques can make anyone a better angler and shorten the learning curve on new waters, large and small.

Why troll?

Authors of the trolling “hate mail” cite reasons that don’t always mesh. They may view trolling as too boring or too easy or second cousin to “snagging.” Some complain that it takes no skill, that it is a game of dumb luck, then later argue that it is unfair or too deadly. Some simply dismiss it on aesthetic or philosophical grounds, scolding the practice for its detachment.

Wilderness Systems markets a Helix electric motor tailor-made for its kayaks.

But advanced trolling is a blend of science and art, success hinging on knowledge, strategy and repeated practice and refinement.

Buck Perry, the father of structure fishing, taught anglers how to find fish and map bottom structure with the use of versatile lures, called “spoonplugs,” that excelled as trolling and mapping tools. He developed these baits in 1946 – years before Lowrance put popular sonar units into fishing boats. Designed to run at very specific depth ranges, spoonplugs communicated to Buck and his followers structural contours, drop-offs, points, grasslines, and bottom content. When used in the right way with Perry’s systematic approach, they caught fish – big offshore fish that other anglers missed.

The 1 HP Torqeedo Ultralight 403 is a lightweight electric motor designed specifically for kayaks. It enables precise speed control, a critical variable in successful trolling.

Modern bass boat fishermen have the advantage of electronics and fishing platforms that Buck Perry never dreamed of. For better or worse, few today include in their arsenals the precision trolling approach that was the linchpin to Perry’s success.

But, for all their beauty, convenience and functionality, bass boats are not well suited to the kind of precision trolling Perry did or modern day successors do today. Smaller and more agile craft are far more effective under the guidance of a well-schooled troller.

The kayak advantage

Kayaks, on the other hand, comprise a category of very agile watercraft, and kayak anglers would do well to factor sophisticated trolling practices into their angling strategies whether tournament money, a better day’s fishing, or simply better knowledge of a new lake are at stake. Done with skill and deliberation, trolling can help one learn and map water quickly and find concentrations of fish that might otherwise never see your lure.

Here are a few good reasons to add advanced trolling techniques to your skill set.

  • Trolling enables the angler to fish large structural elements, eliminate unproductive water, and locate prime structure in a short period of time.
  • Knowledge gained about a body of water from systematic trolling can help anticipate fish movement.
  • Kevin Nakada of Hobie holds a hefty smallmouth caught trolling on an offshore reef on Lake of the Woods.

    Trolling is useful in finding active suspended fish.

  • The trolling tools available today are the best to date, and you can tailor them to specific needs.
  • The variety and range of trolling lures available today is extensive, and a number of lure manufacturers and trolling experts now provide guidelines for running specific lures at precise depths.
  • With rifle sighting and marker buoys, a skilled troller can overcome the limitations of lower end electronics – or even no electronics at all.
  • And, yes, trolling still gives you a shot at catching fish when you are simply dragging the bait behind you on your way to a target location.

Advantage of electric motors

Trolling effectiveness hangs on the tools in play and the angler’s ability to use them.

Well-selected rod, reel and line combinations enable lures to run with desired action at selected depths and even telegraph bottom content.

Craft and propulsion variables matter, too.

These durable Ram rod holders are made to tackle big fish.

Increasingly in play in KBF tournaments, electric motors offer the kayak angler the advantage of highly accurate speed control.

The lithium battery-based motors of Torqeedo, title sponsor of the 2018 KBF National Championship and its landmark $100,000 first place purse, lift control capabilities to a new level.

  1. Precise speed control– Lure speed is a critical variable — second only to depth control in importance – in triggering strikes. The Torqeedo Ultralight 403 motor, Hobie Evolve and Wilderness Systems Helix kayak motors provide real-time digital speed readout measured to 0.1 mph accuracy.
  2. Hands-on rod control– With rod in hand, an experienced troller can read bottom content (soft bottom, rock, gravel, shells) and lure action and detect short strikes through lure vibration. Paddle propulsion forces a troller to leave the active rod in a rod holder.
  3. Speed– Contrary to popular belief, lures do not always have to be trolled slowly to be effective. In fact, trolling at speeds well upward of five mph often trigger strikes in warm water conditions.
  4. Map App and add-ons – A free Torqeedo app employs a Bluetooth transmitter module (Apple and Android only) for wireless link between onboard computer and smartphone. Phone display includes analogue speedometer, a GPS map screen showing real-time boat location, waypoint and zoom-in capability and other navigational and battery life information. Mapping and waypoint marking capability enable an angler to pinpoint productive areas and return to them easily.
  5. Light weight–The Torqeedo, Hobie and Wilderness Systems motors and their power sources were designed specifically for kayak propulsion. They add little to the total weight of the craft and do not compromise safety or maneuverability.
The author took this big largemouth trolling a sunken road bed.

Embrace trolling or let it go, but before you dismiss it from your game plan, consider it as an approach to map and learn water quickly, pinpoint fish-holding structure, and add more fish – often big fish – to your catch.

Strategic trolling can catapult your on-the-water education and multiply your fish totals. Embrace the art and science of the practice and see what happens!

Kayak angling for sturgeon brings new sport to the Northwoods

Barb Carey, founder of WI Women Fish shows off the day’s first sturgeon, caught from a Hobie Pro Angler.

By Mike Pehanich

Sturgeon ancestry dates back to the dinosaurs. But catching these giants from a kayak, is a fresh new sport!

For us outdoor folks, Northwoods travel comes with great expectations. Anticipation grows feverish when the destination is a renowned fishery.

My destination this August was the Rainy River, fabled for its seasonal runs of walleye, cherished as the fertile connecting water to the diverse fisheries of Rainy Lake, its source to the east, and Lake of the Woods, the million-acre drainage to the west.

I arrived at River Bend’s Resort (www.riverbendsresorts.com)on the Rainy River, a short boat ride from the river’s mouth at the southeast corner of Lake of the Woods. My imagination waxed rosy with visions of walleye gobbling jigs, cartwheeling smallmouth bass, and lightning-quick attacks from northern pike and musky.

However, my hosts from Hobie Cat, the resort and Lake of the Woods Tourism had added a new wrinkle. They had relegated the game species the area is noted for to back-up roles. First we would challenge lake sturgeon, known more as a fish of mystery and an evolutionary survivor than as a target for sport fishermen.

My hosts had added another twist to the hunt. We would take the ancient brutes on from Hobie kayaks.

A sturgeon relies on the complex set of sensory and feeding organs in its nose including barbels to locate desirable forage and a highly functional snout made to stir up lake bottom and suck in food like a vacuum.

Anatomy of a sturgeon

One look at even an artist’s rendering of a sturgeon is enough to tell you that its family roots reach deep into the geological past. Credit its gift for survival to crude yet efficient characteristics acquired early in its evolution — a streamlined body built on bone and cartilage; a tail strangely fashioned for speed and maneuvering; an oddly tapered snout; an armor-like exoskeleton highlighted in younger specimens by a jutting serrated backbone; a complex set of sensory and feeding organs in its nose including barbels to locate desirable forage; and a highly functional snout made to stir up lake bottom and suck in food like a vacuum.

Sturgeon grow BIG, too, a trait that makes any species more desirable. Paul Johnson, the resort owner who served as both our guide and host, has witnessed catches of sturgeon up to 62 inches in length and 75 pounds. The river’s hook and line record, caught just this past May (2018), measured 75 inches in length and weighed well over 100 pounds.

Our Rainy River sturgeon had a comeback story to tell as well. Before the middle of the 20thcentury, overharvest and pulp mill pollution had endangered sturgeon populations in the region. Common sense initiatives set the stage for a mighty comeback. Environmental regulations led to improved water quality, and enlightened conservation measures and catch-and-release practice ushered in the robust, invigorated population found in the Rainy River and adjacent waters today.

It is a species more than worthy of protection. Sturgeon can live to a ripe old age, with some able to live 150 years or more and reach weights in excess of 200 pounds.

Pursuit

A sturgeon breached 50 yards offshore within minutes of my arrival at River Bend’s Resort, leaving no doubt that this was sturgeon country.

“In peak season in April, it’s boat-to-boat across the river along the Minnesota portion of the Rainy River,” explained Paul Johnson, who with wife Brandi owns River Bend’s and Walleye Inn resorts in Baudette, Minn.

Minnesota opens limited “keep” seasons for sturgeon in spring and summer, but most fishermen are content to release their quarry after doing battle. “A lot of sturgeon fishing’s popularity has to do with the size of the fish,” continued Johnson. “Most anglers aren’t targeting sturgeon to keep them. They just want the opportunity to catch these prehistoric monsters.”

Despite the clear presence of sturgeon in the area, local guides opined that we would find bigger numbers upstream near the town of Birchdale.

Catching sturgeon from Hobie kayaks offered a new challenge to anglers.

We launched our kayaks — a couple of Hobie Pro Angler 14s and i11S inflatable models along with several of the new Hobie Compass kayaks —  above Birchdale. Two sets of rapids made for a scenic and modestly adventurous start. From there, we eased our way toward prime sturgeon haunts, catching smallmouth bass, walleye, sauger and northern pike along the way.

Breaching sturgeon gave our party of eight a fair hint of where to anchor, though we wished we had had sonar units to pinpoint holes and other key feeding areas. We spread out along the river, and settled in for the game of patience known as sturgeon fishing.

Tackle and technique

We geared up with tackle tailored to a big fish brawl – mostly medium heavy to heavy rods and reels spooled with 50- to 65-pound braid.

Terminal tackle consisted of a swivel, short monofilament or fluorocarbon leader of no less than 20-pound test, a #2 to #4 circle hook and adjustable bell sinkers from one to four ounces in weight.

Our bait selection was an unglamorous mix of two to three nightcrawlers and recently thawed emerald shiners, the latter added “extra scent for the sturgeon to find the bait,” in Johnson’s words.

Jody Rae shows off her prize catch, a lake sturgeon, a throwback to prehistory.

The art of anchoring

We learned quickly that anchoring a kayak for sturgeon fishing in a moderately swift stream like the Rainy River is damn near an art form all its own.

“We use a breakaway buoy anchor and an anchor trolley system,” explained Kevin Nakada, the Hobie pro who guided us through the paces of this new skill. “With the system, you can position the kayak to fish comfortably in the current yet detach the kayak quickly from the anchor to fight the fish.”

The buoy anchor consisted of a 3.5-pound anchor and several feet of heavy anchor chain that more than doubled the anchoring weight. Sixty feet of anchor rope ran from the chain to the buoy, a conventional bumper buoy generally used to protect moored boats from banging into a dock. A 7-foot tagline, terminated with a bowline loop, ran from the buoy to the anchor trolley, a pulley system positioned on the starboard sides of our kayaks. The trolley allowed us to position the anchor tagline at the starboard stern of the kayak. Anchored thus, we could fish comfortably downstream without our kayaks struggling sideways in the current.

Fish on!

Barb Carey, founder of WI Women Fish, a Wisconsin-based organization dedicated to teaching women to fish with skill and confidence, earned the first hook-up. Sturgeon on, she freed her kayak from the buoy anchor and took off on a summer sleigh ride.

All of us within earshot rallied to her shout, detaching, too, from our anchor tethers and pedaling the Mirage Drives to close the quarter mile or more distances between us. The sturgeon made sure we had time to witness Barb’s battle and photograph the prehistoric fish.

Sturgeon are bulldogs in battle. They dive deep, pull drag and put serious strain on tackle. The highlight of many sturgeon battles, however, is a surprising aerial display.

Barb’s fish obliged with a writhing perpendicular leap. The sturgeon’s hang time drew cries of excitement from the convergence of kayakers. The fish’s size and profile doubled the excitement.

For anglers like Barb Carey, sturgeon fishing is all about the catch…and safe release!

Even a modestly proportioned sturgeon possesses considerable strength, evidenced in the tugboat rides it took the kayaks upstream and down. Interestingly, the drag of the kayak allows the angler to battle these big fish even with limited line capacity.

Paul slugged it out with another sturgeon an hour later. Then action lagged for the rest of the afternoon.

Evening was closing in when writer Jody Rae’s rod bent into a throbbing arc. Whoops and hollers signaled a special fish, and we all converged on the day’s closing action. When the fish finally tired after a long battle, Kevin Nakada snared it with a tail noose. He carefully led the subdued fish the short distance to shore where Jody and fish posed for photos.

It was a fitting end to a fabulous adventure, a meeting with a fish from prehistory on legendary water during the dawn of a new sport.

Paul and Brandi Johnson, owners of River Bend’s and Walleye Inn (www.riverbendsresorts.com)resorts in Baudette, MN, run guided fishing trips for sturgeon as well as for other Lake of the Woods and Rainy River sport fish (walleye, northern pike, sauger, perch, smallmouth bass and crappie). Hobie kayak rentals are available as well. Contact Lake of the Woods Tourism (www.LakeoftheWoodsMN.com ; 1-800-382-FISH ) for additional information on sport fishing, lodging and area activities.

 

Don’t spin your wheels! Hobie offers guide to kayak cart selection

Without a set of wheels, a loaded kayak can be tough to transport a long ways to the water.

By Mike Pehanich

Getting a kayak from your vehicle to the water can sometimes be the toughest challenge of the day. Save time and energy for the fish by outfitting your kayak with a set of wheels!

One of the kayak angler’s most important accessories seldom reaches the water.

The kayak cart!

Wheeled kayak carts enable the angler to transport the craft from vehicle to remote launch areas with tackle and accessories already aboard.

Three “Plug-in” kayak carts from Hobie (L to R): 1) Hobie’s Trax 2-30 is an inflatable style ideal for transport over soft ground such as sand or mud; 2) Hobie’s Heavy Duty Cart (225-pound load capacity) is durable and best suited to pavement and coarse gravel or rock terrain; 3) Hobie’s Standard Plug-in cart is economical and offers a 150-pound load capacity.

Tire options enable the kayak owner to match cart selection to land surface. Carriage design will vary, too. Some carts are specifically made for kayaks while others double as transport devices for canoes and other small craft as well.

Some kayak manufacturers design or recommend specific carts to fit scupper holes in their kayaks. This style of cart generally simplifies mounting and transport.

Some carts require straps to secure the kayak during transport.

A cart functions as a fulcrum. If you select a cart designed for variable positioning, you may have to adjust cart location to the size, weight and locations of your load for best results. Positioning the cart near the center of the cumulative kayak mass is a safe and generally effective strategy.

2017 Hobie Bass Open champion Jay Wallen wheels his way to prime launch areas with Plug-in carts, including the Heavy Duty Plug-in Cart stored behind the seat of his Pro Angler in this photo.

Wheeling ‘em in

Airless wheels eliminate a major cart maintenance concern, but inflatable wheels offer advantage over soft terrain.

“The inflatable style wheels are great for soft mediums, especially sand and mud,” notes Kevin Nakada of Hobie. “They spread the kayak’s weight and load over a larger surface area. You may want some bounce to your wheels when you are hauling a loaded kayak over sand dunes.”

Hobie’s Trax 2-30 Plug-in Kayak Cart has pneumatic tires and small diameter rims that prevent pinching and valve damage under heavy loads. The cart has a 242-pound capacity. Tires can be deflated, too, for better performance on soft terrain.

Hobie’s Plug-in kayak carts fit the scupper holes of most of the manufacturer’s craft. They are easy to install and remove and facilitate transport from vehicle to water – even when weighted with a tackle and accessories.

Hobie’s standard cart is economical and efficient when hauling the kayak over a range of ground conditions. But hardcore kayakers concerned with durability and reliability over paved launch areas or hard, coarse gravel or rock terrain might opt for a tougher, more durable set of wheels. Hobie’s Heavy Duty Plug-in Cart fills the bill and offers a 225-pound load capacity, too.

Kevin Nakada uses Plug-in kayak carts to transport kayaks from motor vehicle to water’s edge, where adventures with smallmouth bass like this bronze specimen sometimes begin.

“We also have a stowable fold-up style called the Hobie Fold and Stow Plug-in Cart,” says Nakada. “It’s compact, so you can take it on the water with you. It comes with a storage bag you can fit in your front hatch so you don’t have to walk your wheels all the way back to your vehicle if you’ve had a long haul to reach water.”

The Fold & Stow Plug-in Cart from Hobie, held here by Hobie’s Steve Oxenford, breaks down easily to fit into a carrying bag or the large front cargo hatch featured on a variety of Hobie kayak models.

The Plug-in carts are all designed to fit the scupper holes of Hobie kayaks for quick and easy set-up and transport. Wheels are detachable on all models.

Some specialty manufacturers also make carts to fit kayak scuppers. Make sure any such cart choice adapts to your kayak before making the purchase.

Odds are you’ll love your set of wheels!

“Living on the Ledge” with Jay Wallen at Kentucky and Barkley lakes

Topwater bites early in the morning and on overcast days are “bonus fish” to the versatile Tennessee angler.

 

  • Kayak bass fishing star Jay Wallen provides ledge fishing tips
  • Texas rig and Carolina rig worms and heavy jigs are key deep water tools
  • Foot-controlled Mirage Drive on Hobie Pro Angler aids boat control
Jay Wallen, who competed in the Hobie Fishing World Championship 7 this spring, is a force to be reckoned with wherever he launches his Hobie Pro Angler 14.

By Mike Pehanich

To WIN summer tournaments often means mining big bass from deep-water “ledges.” Here kayak pro Jay Wallen reveals some of the secrets to “living on the ledge.”

Jay Wallen is a force to be reckoned with in kayak fishing wherever he launches his Pro Angler 14.  But nowhere is the Tennessee angler more feared than at the annual Hobie Bass Open held on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes each June.

His stellar kayak bass tournament record had included two third-place finishes in the Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky Lake already before his HBO victory in 2017. This past June, he notched another Top Ten finish at the event, sponsored by Hobie Cat and the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau, placing sixth with a 105.25-inch total.

Kentucky and Barkley lakes have tutored him well. Last year’s lessons earned him a $4,000 winner’s purse and a trip to the Hobie Fishing World Championship-7 event, held in April at Lake Vanern in Amal, Sweden.

Wallen is quick to cash in on any hot bite these classic TVA waters might offer, but year-in and year-out, the deep water “ledge” bite on the classic river-bed  and creek-bed structure separates the men from the boys in this tournament competition.

The pattern is familiar on all of the Tennessee River impoundments. Following the spawn – largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass gradually retreat to this prime structure. There they feed on roving schools of shad.

“A lot of guys like to fire up a school with a deep-diving crankbait. A swimbait can go with that, too, because you can control its depth,” says Wallen. “But my favorite ways to catch ledge bass are with a jig or a large worm, Texas-rigged or Carolina-rigged. There’s just something about feeling that bite!”

Texas-rigged and Carolina-rigged worms fished with heavy football jigs are among Jay Wallen’s key baits for ledge bass.

Worms and jigs so rigged give him a shot at bass even when the fish are not in a chasing mood. The beauty is that they will produce during an aggressive bite as well.

At the 2017 Hobie Bass Open championship, Wallen fished a 12-inch Texas-rigged worm behind a ½-ounce bullet sinker on his G. Loomis rods to get his ledge bite going. The bite transitioned to a ¾-ounce football jig with a Zoom Fat Albert soft plastic trailer on Day Two.  For added attraction, he dunked the tail into a garlic flavored Spike-It dip.

“A ½-ounce jig falls more slowly and seems to work better in the 15- to 20-foot range,” says Wallen. “When the sun is up and fish are holding tighter to the bottom, I go to the ¾-ounce jig.”

Kayak fishing has long been associated with shallow water techniques, but anglers like Wallen have brought the kind of deep-water savvy and sophistication to the game generally associated with elite levels of bass boat competition.

Wallen emphasizes the importance of boat control when working the 10- to 30-foot depths common to ledge fishing.  The challenge gets significantly tougher in open water when reservoir wind and current can influence movement of boat and bait. Wallen relies heavily on Hobie’s foot-controlled Mirage Drive for boat control.

“If it weren’t for the Mirage Drive, I wouldn’t be fishing out of a kayak,” he says. “I’ve fished other styles of kayak and drive systems, and I spent too much time controlling my boat and not enough time fishing.”

Back-up plan

Wallen’s strength as a tournament angler stems as much from versatility and ability to adapt, as from mastery of tough techniques.

He looks for secondary ledges along the beds of the Tennessee River tributary creeks when wind and current blow him off favored main lake ledges.

And he is ever ready to cash in on skinny water opportunities in the countless arms and bays of the big impoundments.

“You can’t overlook shallow water opportunities,” he advises, noting that topwater bites early in the morning and on overcast days frequently lead to big fish. “Those are bonus fish. Any fish I can catch shallow in the morning amounts to work I don’t need to do later in the day.”

Topwater bites early in the morning and on overcast days are “bonus fish” to the versatile Tennessee angler.

Hobie Bass Open 2018: Tyson Peterson first to repeat as Hobie Bass Open champion, returns to Hobie World Event

Tyson Peterson became the first repeat winner at the Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky and Barkley lakes.

  • 2015 Hobie Bass Open winner Tyson Peterson takes 2018 crown
  • Peterson and Komyati to fish Hobie World Fishing Championship 8
  • Eric Siddiqi takes back one-day tournament record
  • Kristine Fischer (3rd place) earns first Top Five finish by female angler
Big fish can bring a big smile at tournament time.

By Mike Pehanich

The 2018 Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky Lake, won by Tyson Peterson, featured a plethora of records and firsts.

Gilbertsville, Ky — Tyson Peterson rode out rough water and a heavy charge from the field to post a 121.75-inch total and a wire-to-wire win at the 2018 Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky and Barkley lakes.

“Being the first to win the Hobie Bass Open twice and returning to the Hobie Worlds is amazing,” said Peterson who took home a $5,000 winner’s purse from the event, sponsored by Hobie Cat and the Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau.

(L to R) Kristine Fischer (3rd Place) became the first female kayak angler to earn a Top Five finish at the event. Tyson Peterson hoists his $5,000 winner’s check. Joe Komyati, competing in only his second kayak bass tournament, took home $3,000 and runner-up honors.

The Hobie Bass Open is a Catch/Photo/Release event with scores based on the best cumulative length drawn from three-fish daily limits. This year’s tourney featured other noteworthy performances and highlights:

  • Joe Komyati’s second place finish, coming in only his second kayak bass tournament, earned him a spot on the Hobie World Fishing Championship roster with winner Tyson Peterson.
  • Kristine Fischer became the first female to place in the Top Five. Her 114.75-inch total earned her third place and $2,000.
  • Cincinnati area angler Eric Siddiqi saw his Hobie Bass Open one-day tournament record topped by leader Tyson Peterson on Day One, but he regained that record on Day Two with a 65-inch total.
  • Defending champion Jay Wallen, also from Lexington, KY, earned a sixth place finish with a 105.25-inch total.
  • Perennial contender Ron Champion (fifth place) caught 19- and 18-inch bass casting crankbaits in the final minutes of the tournament to notch a 110-inch total and another Top Five finish.
  • Anthony Shingler’s 11th hour decision to fish the tournament paid off when dropshot and Carolina rigs took him to a 114-5-inch total and fourth place.
  • Cole Kleffman recorded one of the tournament’s largest smallmouth, a 19-incher, to win the youth division.
  • Matt Scotch, from Ft. Worth, Texas, captured the overall Big Fish crown with a 22.5-inch largemouth that edged out Eric Siddiqi’s 22.25-inch fish for top honors.

Joshua Stewart, Drew Russell, Guillermo Gonzalez and Joe Meno filled out the Top 10.

First to repeat at Hobie World Event

Tyson Peterson became the first repeat winner at the Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky and Barkley Lakes.

Peterson, who won the tournament on the same waters in 2015, is the first repeat winner in the event’s five-year history. He and runner-up Joe Komyati (117 inches) qualified for the 2019 Hobie World Fishing Championship as the tournament’s top two finishers.

Eric Siddiqi (left) lost his one-day Hobie Bass Open tournament record to Tyson Peterson on Day One, only to regain the record with a 65-inch Day Two total. Siddiqi, who also had the second largest bass of the tournament, here shakes hands with Big Fish winner Matt Scotch (22.5 inches).

Hobie will announce the site of Hobie World Championship 8 later this year.

Tyson Peterson is looking forward to his return to the event, which pits top anglers from around the world on waters few of them have fished.

“The Hobie Worlds are amazing,” said Peterson. “You pick up so much from other anglers and from fishing new waters and species.”

Does the new champ have a preferred location?

“Australia would be cool,” said Peterson. “But fishing the World’s itself is enough. The destination doesn’t matter.”

Jay Wallen Wins Hobie Bass Open on Kentucky Lake

  • Kentucky Lake, Kentucky
  • Home of Big Bass

The third time was the charm for Jay Wallen of Lexington, Kentucky. After finishing third the past two years, Wallen has battled through to take the Hobie Bass Open win. This was year four of the tournament that took place on Kentucky Lake in Marshall County, Kentucky, June 10-11, 2017.
“I’m so happy I pulled it off so I can go to the Hobie Worlds 7,” commented Jay. “That’s what this whole thing is about. I just couldn’t be happier.”
Wallen went into the final day of the two-day “CPR” (Catch-Photograph-Release) kayak fishing tournament with a very small, one-inch lead. A crowd of anglers was chasing close behind and he felt the pressure. Changing up from day one, he hunted his fish on a ledge farther north, closer to the dam where he’d finished the first day on a furious flurry. However, on the final day the bite proved to be a grinder. He averaged one fish every two hours, but they were good ones.
Wallen’s three-fish daily limit was anchored by a 20-inch largemouth that he said he probably should not have caught. The jig pulled right at the boat, but he got the net under the fish before it hit the water.
“That’s when I knew I had a chance. I didn’t think I had it won, but I had a chance,” he said.
Wallen fished clean, converting all his bites and it proved essential. With just 30 minutes of fishing time left, he culled an 18-incher, giving him a daily total of 56.75 inches. It was just enough. His two-day total of 115.5 inches narrowly beat his closest challenger.
“The biggest thing about this tournament is you compete against your peers and some of the best kayak anglers out there,” Wallen went on to say. “That’s what makes it special. You do this in front of all your peers and a lot of them are happy for you. We’re all for the most part, friends.”
The win earned Wallen a check for $4,000, but it was the trip to the Hobie Fishing World Championship 7 that has him most excited. The World’s destination is expected to be announced in July. Wallen is ready, wherever it winds up. “You could put it on the moon for all I care! I’m ready to go, to represent team USA,” he said.
Joshua Stewart of Waverly, Tennessee nearly matched Wallen inch-for-inch, but ultimately finished second with a total of 114.25 inches. He fished a jig in shallow water in the New Johnsonville area of Kentucky Lake. Stewart earned $2,500 and an invitation to the Hobie Fishing Worlds 7. “This is the biggest one, the most meaningful finish of my kayak fishing career,” he said.
Drew Russell of Louisville, Kentucky, rounded out the top three. He earned $1,700. “I was shooting for a top ten finish, so I’m thrilled with third. I’ll be back. We’ll get it next year,” he said of just missing the Hobie Worlds. Russell fished worms and jigs on ledges and points.
The Hobie Bass Open paid out to 12th place. There is always a 100% pay out of angler entry fees in this competition. 115 anglers fished the adult division.
The youth division was won by Jaxton Orr, who compiled an impressive two-day total of 102.25 inches. He was followed by Will Stumbo (95.5 inches) and Cole Kleffman (83.75 inches)
Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau and Hobie Worldwide sponsored the 1st place winner to attend the Hobie Worlds. Additional sponsors included lodging host Kentucky Lake Dam Village State Resort Park, the host city of Calvert, Hobie Polarized, Lowrance, YakAttack, Bassin’ Magazine, RAM Mounts, St. Croix, Daiwa, Power-Pole, Mustad and Gerber.
This year there are two new US and Canadian qualifying events for Hobie Fishing World Championship 7: the Shasta Bass Kayak Classic and the 2nd Annual IKE Foundation Celebrity Pro Am Tournament Kayak Division hosted by Hobie’s own Mike “Ike” Iaconelli. Ike’s event will be special. It will be a star-studded occasion contested on the non-tidal sections of the Delaware River and includes dinner on the illustrious battleship, USS New Jersey.
The full Hobie Fishing Worlds “7” North American qualifying event schedule is as follows:
1) The Shasta Bass Kayak Classic, March 25-26 – 1 qualifying spot
2) The Jamaica Bay Kayak Fishing Classic, May 18-21 – 1 qualifying spot
3) The Hobie Bass Open, June 9-11 – 2 qualifying spots
4) The Border City Classic, June 24-25 – 2 qualifying spots
5) The 2nd Annual IKE Foundation Celebrity Pro Am Tournament Kayak Division, July 7-8 – 1 qualifying spot
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. www.hobiecat.com
For more info: Contact Ingrid Niehaus, (949) 499-2225, iniehaus@hobiecat.com

Kentucky Lake Hobie Bass Open: June 9-11, 2017

  • Open to Public, All Kayak Name Brands are Welcome
  • Anglers Practice CPR on Hot Bass Fishing Water
  • Key on Shallow, Deep, and Ledge Drop-off Hotspots
  • Angler Skills will Feature Plastic Baits, Top-water and Crankbaits

By Forrest Fisher

Anglers will test the Kentucky Lake waters shallow and deep to find the hot bite.  Forrest Fisher Photo

At last year’s Hobie Bass Open, the camaraderie among competitors and respect for each other was a vital surprise to me, a first-time visitor to the Kentucky Lake event.  Ron Champion and Matthew Scotch punched their tickets to the Hobie Fishing World Championship.  They took on different strategies.  One ran long and the other fished local.  They were both winners.  What will it take to grab a hotly contested qualifying spot this year?

Kayak anglers from all around the country will fish nearby, some will venture long distances to their secret fishing places, all in search of big bass for this catch, photograph and release tournament. Forrest Fisher Photo

We’ll find out soon.  The 2017 Hobie Bass Open qualifier for Hobie Fishing Worlds 7 will be held at Kentucky Lake Dam Village State Resort Park near Calvert, Kentucky, June 9-11, with top tournament sponsor, Kentucky Lake Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB).

The Kentucky Lake Hobie Bass Open is part of a series of qualifying events to be held in the U.S. and Canada that will produce six Hobie Fishing World Championship spots on the North American team. First and second place winners will be invited to join Brendan Bayard and two-time Hobie Fishing Worlds champion, Steve Lessard, at the next edition of the Hobie Fishing Worlds competition at a site to be announced later.

Camaraderie and hot competition go hand-in-hand at the Hobie Bass Open. The lake offers shallow and deep embayment fishing, but anglers in recent years have scored fishing near something the lake is famous for, ledge drop-offs.  The results have been world-class fish weigh-ins. The water is big and the fishing options seem wide open.

The Hobie event on Kentucky Lake is a catch, photograph and release (CPR) tournament where anglers measure and photograph their top three bass during each of the two days, to be scored by total aggregate length – using a calibrated measurement board.  Eligible species include largemouth, spotted and smallmouth bass caught on human-powered kayaks, canoes or SUPs.

The hot bait in 2017 might be a plastic worm?  Special color?   Sky color, sunshine density, wind direction, water temperature and angler skill will spell the result for success or less. Forrest Fisher Photo

One hundred percent of entry fees will be paid out with a ratio of one place for every 10 entrants. The top prize is $4,000 based on a field of 150 kayak anglers. The first-place finisher will have his/her airfare, accommodations and entry fee to the Hobie Fishing Worlds covered, courtesy of Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park and Hobie Worldwide.

There will be raffles and prizes as well as other awards including one for the biggest bass each day. Sponsors include Hobie Polarized, Lowrance, YakAttack, Bassin’ Magazine, RAM Mounts, St. Croix, Daiwa, Power-Pole, Mustad and Gerber.

Anglers will enjoy a BBQ dinner on Saturday and an awards luncheon on Sunday.  To register (or for more information) visit:  https://www.ianglertournament.com/2017-hobie-bass-open-adult-division-fun-festival

The tournament winners circle will feature well-deserved payouts, back slapping conversations of hardships worth the effort and very few tall tales. Forrest Fisher photo

While anglers are vying for big fish all across the long lake, the Hobie Fun Fest is open to the public and will be held simultaneously along the lakeshore in Kentucky Lake State Park Village, near the dam, on Saturday, June 10, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Hobie invites all competitors to bring their families and friends to join in the festivities.  All will have the opportunity to demo Hobie fishing and recreational kayaks, SUPs and sailboats, as well as Hobie’s Mirage Eclipse stand-up pedalboard.

The 2017 Hobie Fishing World Championship US and Canadian Qualifiers has added two new events this year: the Shasta Bass Kayak Classic and the 2nd Annual IKE Foundation Celebrity Pro Am Tournament Kayak Division hosted by Hobie’s own Micheal “Ike” Iaconelli.  Ike’s event will be special.  It will be a star-studded occasion contested on the non-tidal sections of the Delaware River and includes dinner on the illustrious battleship USS New Jersey.

The full Hobie Fishing Worlds 7 North American qualifying event schedule:

Big fish and small, a 1/4 inch difference can change the standings. Forrest Fisher photo

The Shasta Bass Kayak Classic, March 25-26 – 1 qualifying spot was earned by Naoaki “Uminchu” Ikemiyagi

The Jamaica Bay Kayak Fishing Classic, May 18-21 – 1 qualifying spot

The Hobie Bass Open, June 9-11 – 2 qualifying spots

The Border City Classic, June 24-25 – 1 qualifying spot

The 2nd Annual IKE Foundation Celebrity Pro Am Tournament Kayak Division, July 7-8 – 1 qualifying spot

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. www.hobiecat.com