Team USA (plus one Canadian) is headed to Australia for a world-class kayak fishing throw-down against 15 other national teams. Several on the US / Canadian fish-hunting squad are proven winners, boasting tournament honors from across North America.
Hobie’s Fishing World Championship will be contested Down Under this year from October 30 through November 3, over a little gamester the home-standing Aussies call bream. Let’s get to know some of the US / Canadian team. -KF
Meet Hobie World Championship Competitor Richard Ofner
Can the Canadian Known as ‘Pikecreek’ Best His US Mates and Win Glory Down South?
As Told To Paul Lebowitz
If you would have told me four years ago that kayak angling was going to take me to Australia for the Hobie Fishing World Championship, I would have wondered what you were smoking. There was not a qualifying event for Canada and I can only figure that being a Regional Hobie Fishing Team Member may have had something to do with my invite.
What’s a bream? No Googling or Wikipedia? Too late. I’ve already spent hours researching. My brain is already on overload as far as reading how to catch them. Creating a simple plan and having a good pre-fish day will be important in being successful during the competition.
Considering that I only started fishing seriously four years ago I am a little intimidated by the field of anglers that I will be competing with. Fishing for black bream, a species I never heard of a year ago, is just another opportunity to research gear, presentations, tactics and hopefully some success in catching a few.
New experiences, destinations, and new target species is what I like the most about kayak angling. I grew up on the water and never liked fishing. When I saw someone fishing out of a kayak in the summer of 2008 I thought why not give it a try. I went out a few times and in the fall of 2009 on my first outing targeting muskie, I landed one at 48 inches.
Just a few weeks ago on my 1st kayak outing for sturgeon I landed a 60-inch fish. I consider fighting and landing it solo in a 40-foot deep section of river with current my biggest kayak fishing accomplishment to date.
Ofner versus the sturgeon.
I have noticed the sport of kayak fishing has become popular in Australia. I am looking forward to learning how they have created such an interest in a short period of time. I still feel that in North America we have only scratched the surface with the sport, especially fishing for freshwater species, where tides, sharks, and other large predators are not a threat or concern.
Ofner’s training hard for his mission to Australia. “I’ve started drinking more beer,” he says. Kidding aside, he’s worked the Detroit River hard to hone his angling skills and stay in pedaling shape. In addition to Hobie, Ofner fishes for Yakangler and Team CKA. He also writes the Pikecreek Kayak Fishing blog.
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.