Vinkeveen Plassen, Friday October 10, 2014 – The 4th Hobie Fishing World Championship presented by Rhino-Rack came to a close today as 47 of the world’s best kayak anglers tussled for, not only the prized world champion title, but for the bragging rights of being a top ten finisher in an incredibly competitive field. After the third day of action on the water at the 4th Hobie Fishing World Championship presented by Rhino-Rack, a new world champion Steve Lessard from Baton Rouge in the USA was crowned.
The day started out with the national anthem of the Netherlands being played over the waters of Vinkeveen Plassen for the last time during the competition, as anglers stood with a sense of anticipation and excitement, mixed with a feeling of sadness at the realization that the annual Hobie event was coming to a close for 2014. The Power-Pole starting line looked amazing in the early morning twilight as anglers began to jostle for a front row position to briskly head to their favoured location in the crucial early hours of fishing in the final session.
Lessard was nervous but excited as daylight began to break on the Power-Pole starting line. He pedaled off on the final day of his first world championship with the attitude to just do his best. He worked the same area in the far small lake of Boshol that had given him the numbers to sit in second position after day one. On day two Boshol presented him with the Pike and Perch that moved him to the top of the Lowrance Leader Board with a 252cm aggregate score and giving him a 72cm lead going into day three.
The weather conditions were a great improvement today. It was reasonably windy early and picked up a further 10 km/h around 9am with an associated temperature drop that saw the coolest period throughout the event. As the front passed the wind slowly subsided and for the first time waves danced on the water in a more rhythmic, rather than the chaotic fashion that had made life so uncomfortable on the southern side of the lakes for anglers on competition days one and two.
Fish refused to strike early in the morning with Lessard beginning to become a little panicky as fish resisted his power presentations. If tempted at all, they were timid on the take, when most anglers thought the fish would show their most aggressive nature. The Pike appeared to generally like the conditions a little later in the day and were hungry to feed from around 9am when they began to respond to teasing lures and smashed those that were presented to them with an identifiable shake and a roll.
There were obvious changes in strategy by a lot of anglers today with areas of the arena that had previously seen a lot of fishing deserted and other spots like the small lake of Boshol to the south, more crowded than at any other time over the past three days.
Lessard was ecstatic after finding out his score today of 112cm from a Pike measuring in at 83cm and a Perch at 29cm was enough to win him the world championship.
“Wow! What a tournament, what a world championship! I am so excited to have won. I just can’t tell everyone at home how much I thank them for their support all these years, I’m just thrilled. The competition here is just incredible. A wonderful tournament staff accommodated us in every way, thank you so much. Thank you to all of the competitors for being so courteous, working together and for the tough competition. Anyone of us could have won, it’s just that it was my day and I want to once again thank everyone who has supported me, Wow!”
“Today I struggled for the first two hours with the pattern that I was on yesterday. That pattern didn’t pan out so I had to make an adjustment and the power fishing that I had been doing was not working. The fish had moved and I went to finesse fishing, I went to a small jig and I caught my first Pike and was able to stay with that pattern and upgrade that Pike to another one. I went from a 65cm up to an 83cm with my second Pike. Then I went Perch fishing and immediately I got it in the area that I wanted to be in I caught the biggest Perch, I caught in the Tournament a 28. So I’m just very, very excited”.
Silver Medalist Kyle Moxon from Ontario, Canada was always up for a real battle with Lessard and landing five Pike showed this excited, 24 year old was real class.
“I’m lost for words right now, I held my second position. I couldn’t catch the American but I had a great time. I’d like to thanks everyone at home for all of the support it’s been awesome and I’m really happy to represent my country here and I’m sorry I didn’t bring the title home but I’m happy with my second. I caught five Pike today my biggest went 66cm and I went after Perch and my biggest went 28cm. I’ve been at a lot of tournaments at home but this is the biggest stage that I have been on. What a great time, what great people this has been a real special experience”.
Having won a tournament just over two weeks ago to qualify and limited in preparation time bronze medalist Kevin Varty from Nowra, New South Wales, Australia was mesmerised by his podium finish after having come from a long way back at seventeenth position overnight.
“On day one of fishing I didn’t catch any fish at all and I was pretty unhappy with that. On day two I got a 76cm Pike on 3lb braid and 3lb leader and that put my heart in my mouth there for a few minutes. I was panicking a bit for a while there. Then just as I got him in the net the line broke, but I had him, so that was all good. Coming into today I just didn’t know what to expect. Could I get another Pike? I didn’t know, but I just went back to the same spot I’d been to the previous day and did the same thing. Just casting under the trees and letting the lure sink to the bottom, slowly hopping it back to the kayak and it paid off, I got my Pike at 95cm.
Then I went after the Perch. I got one at 30cm and I was just about to take the photo and he flew off the measuring board and into the drink. I was really panicking then, shouting out ‘Oh! No’. I quickly cast my rod back into the same spot and I pulled out one at 35cm.
Seriously this is a great place, I love being here, I just had a great time. Great sponsors, great people, everybody’s been awesome. I couldn’t have imagined it could be so good and I’m stoked to be third in the world”.
Rhino-Rack the tournament naming rights sponsor has supported the 4th Hobie Fishing World Championship in an absolutely incredible way. Ernie Fernandez from Rhino- Rack was present at every moment throughout the event and was overjoyed with the way the tournament was run and won.
“The event was a great success, all of the anglers are back after three days of competition which at times was a tough slog in some challenging conditions. The main thing is that everyone got out there to enjoy their fishing and each day positions in the top ten were a really close fought battle. For newly crowned world champion Steve Lessard, it was a well, deserved win. He is the ‘Pike Whisperer’ for the tournament and he really knew how to catch that fish. Today for every strike, the fish was landed, so congratulations to a very competent and professional angler”.
The now famous ‘Elusive Zander’ was the target for a portion of the field today, who found themselves at the bottom of the ladder with no chance to catch the leaders. Hobie Kayaks Europe had graciously provided a prize of a Hobie Revo11 kayak for the biggest Zander caught over 52cm as an incentive for the anglers . Zander was even more so than previously, the prize catch of the tournament. As other competitors caught their Pike and Perch double, they joined in the Zander hunt. It is one of the great mysteries of the tournament, Zander remain exclusively, elusive and the question has to be asked ‘Where do the Zander Meander’. The Revo 11 kayak stays with Hobie Kayaks Europe.
The top ten on the Lowrance Leader Board at the end of the Hobie Fishing World Championship presented by Rhino-Rack, has a surprising twist from yesterday’s positions with some great leaps up the ladder, to knock off some in what appeared to be comfortable positions. The top ten at the end of the world championship are:
- Steve Lessard USA 364cm
- Kyle Moxon Canada 274cm
- Kevin Varty Australia 206cm
- Edi Brader Austria 196cm
- Justin Ritchey USA 185cm
- Scott Baker Australia 179cm
- Rob Appleby Goudberg Great Britain 174cm
- Jonathon Chen Australia 165cm
- Patrick McQuarrie Australia 161cm
- Lars Lundberg Sweden 157cm
The Lowrance Leader Board may have had a lot of twists and turns throughout the tournament, but Steve Lessard from the USA performed so consistently, that the “Pike Whisperer from Louisiana” was always destined to be the 2014 Hobie Fishing World Champion.
You did an absolutely brilliant job Hobie Kayak Europe. Congratulations on all of the hard work in getting this wonderful tournament to be such a momentous occasion for all competing anglers, their followers, their families and lovers of the sport of kayak fishing worldwide.
What a tournament! What a champion!
Bring on Worlds 2015.
The 4th Hobie Fishing World Championship presented by Rhino-Rack could not have gone ahead without the great support of our tournament sponsors Rhino-Rack, Daiwa, Lowrance, Power-Pole and Ram Mounts.