The second and final day of pre-fishing is in the rearview mirror at the Hobie Fishing World Championship 6 presented by Rhino-Rack. Today (Thursday Dec.8) anglers from 17 countries have set out in identical Hobie kayaks to fish the bayou and marsh surrounding Leeville, Louisiana, and now every single cast counts.
This first day of Hobie Worlds competition should show which one of the 49 international competitors was able to use the two days of pre-fishing with local pros to dial in the strategy that will lead him to a world championship.
Yesterday, the catch report was full of redfish and seatrout, but no flounder. The small flatfish will prove to a be a critical catch as the three days of competitive fishing play out because only one fish per species can provide critical inches. Since bait is not allowed and competitors can only use scented artificial lures, there’s even a chance no flounder will be caught, although improving weather conditions will help. As will the top fishing skills of the world’s best kayak anglers.
On the final day of pre-fishing, those hot sticks were busy catching.
"We found spots in the marshes today where there were 20 or 30 reds sitting in there that were measuring 30 inches and there was no shortage of trout. My feeling is that most people are going to pick up a 15- or 16-inch trout and a 27- to 30-inch red. There will be a handful of guys that pick up a bull red and then they just have to find a flounder," said Paul Rountree of New Zealand.
Wolfgang Schultz of Germany knows what it's like to connect with a bull. He fought a monster on light gear for more than two hours before – heartbreak! His line succumbed to an oyster bed. He could be heard for several miles yelling "Oh no!" or something like it that can't be repeated.
Eric Harrison of the United States also hooked up a freight train, but it was the wrong kind. The first-time flats angler can now cross black drum off his species list.
"A cool looking fish. The lures used here are a lot smaller for similar sized fish in New England," he said. "The guides have been great and the waterways are never ending," said Chris Verbiage of Australia. "You need a GPS or you are in trouble. It's world class fishing and the people are really friendly."
Hospitality runs in the blood of the Leeville locals. Bobby Gros, owner Bobby Lynn's Marina, one of the event's hosts, is excited to show off all the area has to offer.
"The Hobie Worlds coming to Leeville has brought the international spotlight to fishing a very small area – but a gem – of a fishing spot. The Barataria Terrebonne national estuary is the breeding grounds for the Gulf of Mexico. Limits are liberal because there are so many fish," he said.
Hobie Fishing Worlds 6 is proudly supported by Rhino-Rack, Lowrance, Power-Pole, Yak-Attack, Daiwa, Ram Mounts, Lurefans, Hobie Polarized and AFTCO.