Hobie's World Fishing Champ Faces Daunting Defense
By Paul Lebowitz
Last year, Navy aviator Marty Mood calmly and cooly fished his way from behind to win Hobie's kayak fishing crown on US soil. In 2013, the third year of the hands-free kayak company's World Fishing Championship, the game shifts to a foreign land and foreign fish. Something the home-standing Aussies call bream. Think of them as largemouth light, maybe tougher pound for pound.
Mood isn't going it alone. His top-stick company is kayak fishing's version of the Avengers, an all-star team of major US kayak fishing competition winners from the IFA Championships, Kayak Wars, Jamaica Bay Classic and Paddle Palooza. Hobie's own Morgan Promnitz and Keeton Eoff are leading the US team.
They will face an Australian team eager to defend their home turf on the Bemm and Snowy Rivers in Victoria, and an array of anglers from another 14 countries. Defending champion Mood knows he faces a daunting task. Kayak Fish caught up with him in the days leading up to the October 30-November 3 contest.
KF: What's it going to take to win this thing back-to-back?
MM: If I have to be totally honest, I’d say my chances [of repeating] aren’t very good. The Aussies are all very proven tournament anglers that regularly compete on the Australian Bream Tournament Series (ABT). So not only are they very familiar with the area and species, they have a huge advantage when it comes to the nuances and minor details that tell an angler when to change tactics or not with varying conditions in weather, tide, etc. that we will face during a multiple day event. Those seemingly minor details, more often than not are the difference makers in winning a tournament against other skilled anglers. These guys have all proven themselves against their country's best and we are coming in to their back yards where none of us has any first-hand knowledge of the species and how they react to change.
KF: At the inaugural Hobie Worlds in 2011, also contested in Australia over bream, US team angler Jose Chavez was in the running right up to the last day. Although he fell short, he demonstrated that although incredibly difficult, it isn't impossible for a visitor to win it all. What can the US team do to improve their chances?
MM: For any of the Americans to win its imperative that we come together as a team right from the start and share whatever knowledge we can gather both before we get there and throughout the competition. If we help each other out, or a couple of us can stumble onto a solid pattern and get really lucky, we might have a shot. But the odds are definitely not in our favor.
KF: What do you hope to accomplish in Australia?
MM: I want to have fun and take in as much of the experience as I possibly can. I have been able to visit a lot of places thanks to my ‘day job,’ but have never been to Australia. I have dreamed of going for many years. To be able to go now, and on top of that experience such a wonderful event again is truly beyond anything I could have even dreamed before the Worlds! I just want to go, have fun, and compete to the best of my ability. If I can learn something about black bream fishing, find a solid pattern, make the most of my opportunities and stay away from mistakes I’ll be pretty happy wherever I end up.
Hobie's worldy anglers will compete in identically rigged Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14's outfitted with Lowrance electronics, Ram Mounting Systems and Power-Pole micro-anchors. Live weigh-ins will take place on each of the three days of competition with anglers weighing three fish per day. Follow the action on the web at Hobiefishingworlds.com.