Steve Lessard of the USA became the first two-time Hobie Fishing World Champion when he held off Richard Somerton of Australia to win the Hobie Fishing World Championship 6 Presented by Rhino-Rack.Lessard, a Louisiana resident, credited the tough conditions for his victory. "Had we not had this weather I wouldn't be standing here," he said from the podium. "All these guys caught. I didn't have the best stringer pre-fishing."
The event featured an elite field of 49 kayak anglers from 17 countries around the globe, all fishing on identically rigged Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14 kayaks in the premier fishery of Leeville, Louisiana, Lafourche Parish.
"Today was plan C," Lessard said of his third competition day, one fished on windy, cold water. "With this weather coming through, all the other plans fell apart. I knew today I just needed two fish," he said. He went to his winter patterns, pulling in a 19-inch trout early. He scraped a legal redfish off a piling, then relaxed and worked on an upgrade.
"I went redfishing," he said. "At that point I knew it was going to be a good score." With his 28-inch redfish, he tallied 47 inches on the day, for a 3-day total of 126 inches of fish.
He was overjoyed. "Words can't describe how I feel right now. What an honor and a privilege to compete with the best kayak fishermen in the world at Hobie Fishing Worlds 6. I want to thank all my friends and family for their support, especially my wife Rita Lessard. This is a dream come true!" he said.
Somerton finished second on the strength of another good day. He caught a 27-inch red early, and spent the rest of the day grinding for trout. On his last cast, he connected with a 14 incher. "Never give up. I measured it and took off. I made it in with ten minutes to spare," he said. With his 41-inch final day score, he totaled 110 inches for the event. It was a very impressive result for a visiting angler who up until five days earlier had never fished for redfish or sea trout.
Matthew Vann of the USA rounded out the podium with his third place finish propelled by his 39-inch final day score and 106-inch event total. He was philosophical, and elated. "Nothing can prepare the acorn for all the elements and adversity it will encounter on the journey to become a mighty oak. There is just a yearning to grow. Faith, trust, courage and love are my anchors to never give up," Vann said.
"I knew it would be hard to beat this guy," Vann said of his friend Lessard while grinning. He said he was overwhelmed by the experience of fishing the Worlds, that it was amazing. "The best thing was meeting some new friends I'll have for life," he added.
Hobie Fishing Worlds 6 is proudly supported by Rhino-Rack, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Yak-Attack, Daiwa, Ram Mounts, Lurefans, Hobie Polarized and AFTCO. For more information visit HobieFishingWorlds.com and the Hobie Fishing Facebook page. See the full results below.
|NAME||COUNTRY||RED FISH D1||RED FISH D2||RED FISH D3||TROUT D1||TROUT D2||TROUT D3||TOTAL|
|34||Florian Le Hetet||FRA||22||0||0||13||0||0||35|
|39||Daniel Van Der Post||NED||0||0||0||15||12||0||27|
|41||Rafael Renzetti Betiolo||BRA||0||0||0||16||0||0||16|