Kayak fishing comp brings nations together

THE inaugural Daiwa–Hobie World Kayak Fishing Tournament was run and won at the weekend in Port Macquarie.

Contested by anglers from Australia, USA, Thailand, Singapore and South Korea, competitors were faced with the challenge of bringing a daily bag of their three largest bream to the weigh master over three days of competition.

Given that 10 of the 18 competitors were internationals, and had never seen, let alone caught a bream before, it’s surprising that the final results were never a certainty.

Ultimately, the Aussies prevailed and took out the top three places, but not before a spirited challenge from US angler, Jose Chavez, who led the event after the first day, before settling with a fourth place finish. International competitors went on to claim five of the top ten places.

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Based on the format of the Hobie sailing world championships, this event allowed competitors to fly in to the event location, where they were provided with a tournament ready pedal powered Hobie MirageDrive Pro Angler kayak.

The thing that struck me most was the versatility shown by the international competitors. Fishing a foreign waterway in a foreign country, for a foreign species, these anglers adapted superbly to the challenge. Mentored by the Australians for two days prior to the event, there was a great sense of sharing, of both knowledge and skills.

I interviewed Jose Chavez (USA) and talked to him about adapting to this foreign adversary (scroll down for video). Interestingly, after only three days on the water, he’d pretty well summed up the situation, and had a very good understanding of this species.

In relating to the bream, he credits the knowledge shared by his Australian mentor, three time Angler of the Year, and Hobie Fishing Pro Greg Lewis. Jose describes the bream as “a little smart bulldog … you don’t think they’re as powerful as they are, but those things can fight”.

Besides that though, it was quickly evident that Jose is an accomplished angler in his own right. He has a sound understanding of locating fish, and how they relate to structure, tides, wind and current. The biggest challenge he faced was adjusting to the lighter equipment required to fish for this species. Casting lighter line and light lures affected his casting accuracy, and it took him several days to adapt. And adapt he did. His first day bag from the Camden Haven River was the largest of any angler in the tournament. Once he’d located the fish, using a topwater lure as a search bait, Jose quickly “switchbaited” the fish with a lightly weighted soft plastic, a technique he uses at home on bass and redfish.

The second day on the Hastings River at port Macquarie was disappointing, after Jose lost a number of good fish in the oyster racks, but he was still in contention for an upset win, sitting in 3rd place. He made some slight adjustments to his technique for the last day, which secured him fourth place.

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Scott Baker from Mornington Victoria was eventually crowned World Champion, but all the competitors were quick to relate the positive experiences from the event, and look forward to the return event in the US in 2012.

For full results, visit For photo galleries of the event, check out

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