All 49 anglers were provided brand new, Hobie PA14 kayaks, equipped with Power Poles, Lowrance TI 5 Fish Finder/GPS combo units, and YakAttack measuring boards that haven’t even hit the market yet. The only equipment the anglers needed were their fishing rods and reels as each angler also received plenty of tackle and baits, including boxes of Lurefans hard baits.
The first couple days were opportunities for the anglers to get familiar with the tournament waters where Tommy Eubanks, a former Hobie Worlds Competitor (2013 Australia) put together a group of local Kayak Anglers and split into small groups of the world competitors to show them how and where to target Red Fish, Trout, and Flounder.
The event kicked off on Day one with NFL Hall of Famer, Jackie Smith belting out the USA National Anthem, helping to get the anglers fired up for otherwise cold, and windy conditions that would challenge the competitors' grit and determination over the next three days. Day one saw the USA and Australia dominate the leader board with Mathew Scotch of the USA and Guy Struthers of Australia leading the way with some recognizable names from past Hobie Worlds not far behind.
As temperatures dropped considerably for day two, so did the water temperature, with many struggling to find fish from the same places as day one. The leader board changed considerably with the Chinese and Europeans joining the top group, with Steve Lessard and Richard Somerton leading the pack, setting up the finale on day three, a battle of former Hobie World Champions.
USA team member Steve Lessard, became the first two-time champion of the Hobie Worlds Fishing Championships (2014 Netherlands) and did it by landing quality fish each day. His consistency enabled him to defeat the field of world anglers and land a guaranteed berth to the Hobie Fishing World 7 event, at a location and date to be determined.
The Hobie World Championships continue to provide an experience for the anglers from 18 countries around the globe that is not just about fishing. Re-acquainting past friendships and making new ones and experiencing the Cajun Lifestyle over the course of seven days, at the HFW6 location in Leeville, Louisiana, was an experience like no other kayak fishing event.
There was a special guest that attended the event, anyone recognized him? (hint, check the photos)