With nine spaces already filled, there's just one opportunity remaining to earn a qualifying spot to the prestigious 2016 Hobie Fishing Worlds 6 this December in Louisiana. That's the Yak4It Tournament of Champions, an invitational for tournament victors held on Lake Fork, Texas, November 5 and 6. It will be preceded by an open competition on November 4. The overall winner will receive the final Hobie Worlds slot.
The newcomer will join a diverse Team North America crew of anglers from every corner of the continent. Eric Harrison is a master striped bass technician from salty New England. Ron Champion is a through and through bass man from the old south. Florida resident Benton Parrott specializes in bull reds. Canadian Dave Poole chases pike and smallmouth.
Along with their fellow members of Team North America, they're headed to Lafourche Parish, Louisiana December 4-11. Once there, they'll take on an international field of elite kayak anglers from 18 countries across the globe. After three days of fishing, only one will raise the Hobie Fishing Worlds 6 Championship trophy.
Red drum, commonly known as redfish, reds and bull reds, will be the biggest of three species targeted at the Hobie Worlds.
"You couldn't ask for a better venue," says North America team captain Parrott. "The fishery is amazing, the food is top notch and I have always been welcomed with warm hospitality."
You might think Parrot’s redfish experience makes him a frontrunner for the championship, yet there are three species that count in the event — reds, speckled seatrout and flounder. Catching all three species will be the key to the championship and both reds and speckled trout respond readily to lures anglers fish with all over the world.
One of those anglers will be defending Worlds Champ Ma Xiaohong, who won the 2015 Hobie event on his home waters of China during an event marked by weather and species of carp that proved elusive when it came to bites.
The 2016 version of Hobie Fishing Worlds 6 will be headquartered at Moran's Marina near legendary Leeville. The waters for miles around teem with the target species for Hobie Fishing Worlds 6. Each contestant will compete aboard an identically and lavishly rigged Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14. Hungry fish and top notch equipment should make for a closely contested tournament.
Competitive fishing events are something the host anglers are used to.
The invitations to represent the United States and Canada didn't come easy for the members of Team North America. Every one was earned through the gauntlet of high level competition. The team is populated with champions, the winners of diverse tournaments held across the continent.
"Reds are on my bucket list. I'm looking forward to checking them off," says Canadian Tim Percy. Percy is making a repeat Hobie Fishing Worlds appearance. He competed last year in China. He's looking forward to the experience, to seeing old friends and making new ones.
You can go to the Hobie Worlds main site for information on the teams coming to Louisana from around the globe.
Here’s the complete list of qualifiers for Team North America
TBD – Yak4It Tournament of Champions
Eric Harrison, Boston MA – Jamaica Bay Kayak Classic
Ron Champion, Savannah GA – Hobie Bass Open Champion
Mathew Scotch, Richmond TX – Hobie Bass Open Runner Up
Tom Mullins, Trenton MI – Border City Classic US Qualifier
Benton Parrott, Jacksonville FLA – IFA 2015 Champion
Steve Lessard, Baton Rouge LA – Hobie Fishing Worlds 4 Champion, 2014
Joe Komyati, Raleigh NC – IFA Kayak Tour Sarasota
Dave Poole, Woodstock ON – Border City Classic
Tim Percy, Windsor ON – Runner Up, Border City Classic