The Hobie Fishing Worlds Championship presented by Rhino-Rack found China’s Shang Lake’s fish population once again a tough puzzle to solve, as only one kayaker was able to catch any fish among all the fishermen gathered from 20 countries. Li Haiyang from China was the only successful competitor to pull a target species from Shang Lake, in fact he pulled two, but only measured the longest. Mr Li's Top Mouth Culter measured 63 centimeters (just over 24 inches) which places him in the lead with 45 points.
After a year of planning, over 20 qualifying rounds and a lot of hard work from everyone involved, competitors from around the world stood for the Chinese national anthem and the first day of competition in the 2015 Hobie Fishing Worlds was underway. The tournament director called Power-Poles up and the competitors hammered away from the start line to the sound of AC-DC for the first of three days of competition.
Of 45 world class anglers, it took China’s Li to figure out how to get a bite that counted.
When asked on stage about about his day on the water Mr Li said, "It was a good day, I caught two fish and am very happy to be in the lead.”
When probed about what lure he caught them on Li was less forthcoming. but did mention that the lure in question was one of the lures supplied to all anglers in the competitors’ welcome packs.
With two day's left in the competition it's still anybody's game, especially because the rules state that competitors can only turn in the measurement for one of each of the three species each day. Meanwhile the total experience is not escaping those who worked so hard to get to China.
"Yeah… I didn't catch anything today but you can't really have a bad day fishing can you?” 2014 Angler's Choice Award winner Ian "Dizzy" Harris said of his day. “I'm in China, fishing in a World Championship with an amazing bunch of people. If I wasn't here I'd be sitting in an office. I might try some different tactics tomorrow, but I'm having a great time".
Tony Pettie from Australia put in the hard yards Friday and came up with no answers to the Chinese lake puzzle.
"I pedaled all the way up around the back and was fishing little pockets in the weed,” said Pettie. “I took a systematic approach, I'd find a pocket, fan a series of casts, moved to another pocket and repeat, just trying to cover as much ground as I could. I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow.”
2014 World Champion Steve Lessard of the USA was asked about the lack of fish caught during the Hobie Worlds.
"I can't speak for everyone, but back home you get used to your certain style of fishing and then when you come in to a competition that’s species based and you haven't fished for (those species before) it can be very challenging,” noted Lessard.
Challenging. And puzzling.