Lake Fayette – Hobie World Championships (Final Day)

Thursday the 8th November was the third and final day of the Hobie World Championships. The first day had seen me placed joint last with no fish above 14” submitted, the second day had seen my take 4th place, what would the third day hold in store for me and the GB Team?? (David Morris and Ian Harris). I really needed to secure my limit and hopefully that’d include some decent fish above 17”, that’d give me a decent chance of finishing in the top half of the table.

It was another early start, up a silly o’clock, rigging the kayaks at around 0630 with the official launch time at 0730. I’d decided on a simple game plan, I was going to fish a Senko worm rigged Texas style over two particular areas of the lake, specifically the areas that had produced for me during the previous day. I was checked in early and sat  afloat for twenty minutes or so whilst the remainder of the anglers completed rigging, check-in, etc.

The morning was cooler than previous days and a light mist was hanging over most of the lake. It was particularly picturesque and I was keen to get out there and get fishing. Confidence was high, it’s amazing what catching fish does for your confidence!

At 0730 the starting horn blew and over forty Hobie Pro Angler 12 kayaks powered off into the mist. I hung back and let the crowd disappear, my chosen grounds were close by and I was more than happy for folk to push out into the lake before I commenced fishing.

There wasn’t much of a breeze and the drift was considerably slower than I’d have liked. Despite a few drifts, the first half hour proved rather fruitless, however, I’d experienced a couple of gentle hits to the lure, so I chose to persevere at this spot for a couple of hours at least.

As it happened I didn’t have to wait too much longer for my first hook-up of the day. It was particularly lively and felt like a rather chunky fish. I wasn’t disappointed when the fish came alongside!. I soon had it safely netted and aboard the kayak. The measuring stick was bought swiftly into action and the camera recorded the size.. 18½”, great start!

It wasn’t even 0800 and my first fish of the day was safely aboard, measured, photographed and returned. The initial pressure of catching a fish was off and my next aim was to secure my three fish limit. As I peddled off to start my drift again I heard a slightly odd noise behind my seat. I spun around to see my landing net a couple of metres behind the kayak, sinking net first with the handle up in the air at forty five degrees. It was a sad sight that lasted a couple more seconds before it disappeared from view. From now on I’d need to take extra care with any fish. I had some lip grips to hand so all was not lost (and they were leashed to the kayak!)It was approximately twenty minutes later when my worm was hit hard and I was soon lifting my second fish of the day onto the kayak.

It measured in at 16¼” which was respectable, one more fish and I’d have my limit!. I only had to wait ten more minutes for that third fish, it was no monster at 15½”, but it was the all important third fish. It was photographed and returned at 0829, it’d taken fifty nine minutes to secure my limit, the pressure was really off and could concentrate on trying to catch some larger fish.

The fish continued to come to the kayak, though they were all measuring in around 14” and as the wind continued to increase the fishing action dried up.

Below is a photo of David Morris of Team GB adjusting his tackle, note the angler fishing up close and personal with a reed bed in the background!

There was soon a light chop on the water with a scattering of white horses making an appearance. The Pro Angler 12 handled the chop far better than I expected. Sure, it’s a big kayak and you sit high up, initially it felt a little uncomfortable, though I soon adjusted to the handling of the PA12 and continued to enjoy the fishing despite the deteriorating weather.

By midday I’d effectively stopped catching fish. I moved around the local area and tried a few more drifts, this resulted in a couple of under-sized fish, though that was about it. The wind continued to pick up and at one stage was blowing a steady 15-20mph. I powered the PA12 through the chop, the result being spray flying above my head and into my face as I crashed through the bigger waves, I couldn’t help but chuckle to myself.

As the finish time loomed I decided to call it quits a tad early and headed in. I drift fished as much as possible all the way into the launch zone, pulling and stowing my gear a hundred metres before I hit shore. Once checked in it was a case of submitting my catch return for the day along with supporting photographs prior to de-rigging whilst enjoying an ice cold Coke!.

Team GB faired fairly well overall, all thing considered. The Largemouth Bass were a new species for us (ok, I managed a brief session for a day in August), the techniques and end tackle were all new. The first day had been a steep learning curve for us all, though we put up a very respectable performance of the following two days.

The Team GB results were as follows:

Day 1:

22nd place: Ian Harris (GB) 2 fish for 37”

32nd place: David Morris (GB) 1 fish for 15.5”

Joint 34th place: Rob Appleby (GB) Nil return

Day 2:

4th place: Rob Appleby (GB) 3 fish for 53.75”

23rd place: David Morris (GB) 3 fish for 44.5”

Joint 24th place: Ian Harris (GB) Nil return

Day 3:

15th place: Rob Appleby (GB) 3 fish for 50.25”

19th place: Ian Harris (GB) 3 fish for 49.5”

33rd place: David Morris (GB) 2 fish for 33.5”


Final results:

27th place: Rob Appleby (GB) cumulative length 104”

31st place: David Morris (GB) cumulative length 93.5”

32nd place: Ian Harris (GB) cumulative length 86.5”

Considering the calibre of anglers present, allied with Team GB’s lack of experience with the species, methods and locality, I think it’s fair to say that we put in a very respectable performance!.

I’d like to convey a huge gratitude of thanks to the Hobie Cat Centre, Daiwa UK, Veals Tackle and Overboard for supporting Team GB for this event.

The Pro Angler 12 proved itself to be a very capable kayak and continually surprised me with an impressive turn of speed for a kayak of this size. It’s extremely stable and a fantastic platform to fish off. I think what surprised me most was how it handled itself in choppy water, it exceeded my expectation in most areas. If you fancy trying out a PA12 they’re available to take afloat and try at the HobieCat Centre, located at Poole in Dorset.

Lake Fayette – Hobie World Championships Day 2

Well after the first day of submitting an empty score sheet, there was clearly some room for improvement!. The biggest issue was learning and understanding the techniques required to catch these elusive Largemouth Bass. The previous evening had seen me asking questions and gleaning whatever pieces of useful information from various competitors, specifically those folk who were either experienced or had enjoyed some success.

One of the American chaps I ended up chatting to explained to me the art of Flipping. Now as much as accuracy was clearly required it, on paper at least, sounded doable. I decided to have a go with this method the following morning. It was a late night and an early start, getting up around 4am after not much than 3 hours sleep, not ideal!. After a quick breakfast we were back on the road heading towards Lake Fayette. Once on scene we set about rigging up, eagerly anticipating the day ahead.

I’d no previous tournament experiences, etc, in countries like the USA and Australia the kayak tournament scene is well established, in the UK this is not the case. Checking in on a morning, being tagged out, getting you photograph authentication card updated to reflect the current day, etc was all kind of alien to me. I’d lost my check in tag the day before which didn’t impress the officials too much, yup I needed to get my head around the procedures and routines, it wasn’t just about the fishing!.

I was soon rigged up, rods rigged for top water, flipping and crank baits. The fish finder batteries had been replaced with a fresh set and my packed lunch collected, I was good to go!. The official launch was at 0730, though prior to that just about everyone stood for the National Anthem.

With the National Anthem completed the countdown for the launch started and a minute or two later we were off!. It is a cracking spectacle, laughs and cheers, dozens of kayaks powering out into the lake, what a great atmosphere.

So the game plan was to start the day with some Flipping. Armed with my bait caster setup and a lightly weighted soft plastic animal imitation I attempted a few ‘flips’. What a disaster, birds nests, one after the other. I ended up snagging my lure and losing the lure and leader. It really had been a dumb idea, trying something completely new and unknown during a competition day. It’s the sort of thing that needs research and practice to gain some proficiency first, what had I been thinking of?!!.

Needless to say I was rather frustrated and angry and stowed the bait caster and peddled away into a new location. I executed a tight turn and immediately managed to get well and truly stuck in some dense submerged weed, the Mirage Drive was clogged up and not working. I yanked the drive out and grabbed the paddle, pushing myself out of the weed bed. In the thirty minutes I’d been afloat all I’d managed to achieve was several birds nests, a lost lure and getting myself stuck in a weed bed… no further comment.

My original game plan, prior to the inclusion of Flipping, had been to concentrate on fishing Senko worms along the bottom, fished Texas style. Basically this requires a light weight to be threaded onto the line directly ahead of the soft bait .

The above photo shows the hook point protruding, though it’s generally not pushed all the way through in order to allow it to be fished ‘weedless’. I’d just caught a fish on the above setup and grabbed a quick photo before preparing it to be cast out again. The weight can be varied as required, whether it be to increase casting distance, keeping it on the bottom on a faster drift, etc.

I set off around the headland and found myself a clean area with some minor structure and began to drift it repeatedly. I was soon into my first fish of the day and they just kept on coming!. Moral was back on a high and more importantly I was catching fish over the required 14” limit, there’d be no ‘NIL’ returns today!

Within a couple of hours I’d caught several fish, more importantly I’d achieved my limit of three fish larger than 14” in size. The pressure was off, I was now able to concentrate on looking for some larger fish to increased my total overall length for the day. I continued to fish the mark for a little longer though the majority of the fish were averaging 13-14” and I was wanting fish of 17-18”, perhaps even bigger!. With that in mind I headed off to drift around some sunken trees in the hope of finding a better stamp of fish.

Fishing around the heavy structure wasn’t producing any fish for me so I chose to head off to another area of open water. I located a drift of around 200m in length which saw the water level change from 18’ to 5’. There floor was littered with some light structure, it looked fishy so I decided to concentrate my efforts here for the next couple of hours. As it turned out I spent the remainder of the day there!

There were plenty of fish to be had and the takes were at times quite aggressive. I was being hit by fish on almost every drift and was hooking into a high percentage of them. That said, the Largemouth Bass is a particularly lively fish once hooked they loves to get airborne. They’re rather good at throwing the hook and I was losing up to half the fish I was hooking up with. Both frustrating and amusing at the same time!

I later found myself hooked up with something that was clearly a good fish. Unlike everything else that day it went deep and stayed deep. It was constantly pulling hard, the rod bent double at times as it resisted my attempt to bring it to the surface. I was quietly praying that I wouldn’t lose this fish and when it came into view my heart was definitely racing, it was a cracker of a fish!. I patiently played the fish, not hurrying it to the kayak, though it eventually tired and I scooped it from the water with my net. Once safely aboard my priority was to measure and photograph the fish, the hook remained in until I had secured the required proof. As it turned out the fish was lightly hook in the lip and could have easily been lost, just not today!. It measured in at 21.25”


I continued to fish until I was forced to head back in order to ensure I was checked in on time. For every minute past the check in time, you lose 1/2” of your overall length should you have failed to check in on time.

At least I’d been more organised and having gained a grasp of the tournament rules, I was even able to return my check-in token!. It’d been a great day on the water, I’d landed over twenty fish, lost a dozen which had included some good sized fish. What a contrast to the previous day. Having changed tactics from trying a bit of everything to finding a technique that was working and sticking to it for the duration worked wonders.

On Day 1 I was joined by several others in last place, my Day 2 placing was 4th place with a total of 53.75”, pushing my overall placing to somewhere mid-table. If I was able to produce another good performance on the last day I’d have a good chance of being placed in the top half. Winning was not a real possibility, I’d blown any hope of that on Day 1. However, the chance of finishing somewhere respectable was still achievable, it was still all to play for.

Hobie World Championships Day 1

Well what an exceptionally difficult day on the water, for me at least. I still wasn’t feeling to comfortable with the venue and the various techniques though I did manage a small fish of 13.5”, unfortunately it was 0.5” short of the ‘slot’… it didn’t qualify. That fish was taken on a Horny Toad fished top water can’t remember the last time I’ve had a knot fail due to a weakness, yup, I was a little disappointed!

No photos were taken, I fished non-stop from start to finish though despite my best efforts I was one of several who failed to submit a catch report. The other two members of Team GB both managed to submit results with Ian Harris managing two fish and Dave Morris catching one qualifier.  The limit is three fish, it’s a case of submitting your best three lengths and totalling them up. Photographic evidence is also to be submitted.

Here’s the results for Day 1 of the World Championships ---> RESULTS

Day 2 will see us fish Lake Fayette, hopefully it’ll be a little kinder to me.

Lake Bastrop, Texas (Practice Day)

The Practice Day for the Hobie Kayak Fishing World Championships took place on Lake Bastrop in Texas. My experience of fishing for Largemouth Bass is extremely limited to say the least!. I threw a few lures for a couple of hours whilst in Florida in the summer and managed to pull out a couple of fish. Though the fact of the matter is that I’m pretty clueless!.

I’d purchased some suitable spinning gear in the form of a pair of Daiwa Whisker spinning rods and a pair of Daiwa Exceler X spinning reels. I loaded them up with 30lb braid and a 20lb fluorocarbon leader.

EXCELER X  whisker

Lures?, well after much research I narrowed down my choice to the following:

  • Soft baits (Horny Toads, Ribbit Frogs, Flukes & Senko worms)
  • Top water lures (Zara Spook & Lucky Craft Sammy)
  • Crank baits (lipped and lipless varieties)
  • Assorted spinner baits, jigs and buzz baits

A selection of the above was purchased at Bass Pro along with a few other bits & pieces.

Virtually all of the above lures were totally unknown to me, sure I’d seen the odd photo on the internet over the years, though when it came to how and when to use them I was again totally clueless!. I spent many hours researching various techniques on the internet and felt I was sufficiently prepared as not to make a complete fool of myself.

I also picked up a Daiwa Magforce bait caster and reel combo which I loaded up with 50lb braid for heavier applications. Many thanks to Daiwa UK for sponsoring the GB team for the World Championships, it was hugely appreciated!

megaforce  Megaforce Rod

So the first venue was Lake Bastrop in Texas. The game plan was to fish ‘top water’ for the first couple of hours, switching over to crank baits, other sub-surface lures and soft baits as the day progressed.

Once we’d finished rigging up the Hobie Pro Angler 12 kayaks we made our way down to the waters edge ready to launch. With 42 competitors it was a little congested on the slipway, though we were soon all afloat and awaiting the official start time of 0700. The Hobie official counted down the last few seconds and at 7am forty two Hobie Pro Angler 12 set forth into the morning mists, it was an awesome sight!. Below is a few of the kayaks that headed off to one side of the Lake, with me giving chase.

Below are the two other member of Team GB, Dave Morris and Ian Harris.


The fishing varied tremendously, whether it be casting into reed beds, tree stumps, weed beds, lily pads, grass beds, heavily wooded shorelines or just open water. Casting was at times tricky and accuracy is generally the key, something I’m not renowned for!.

I’ll be honest, I hardly took any photos during the practice day, I was just way too busy trying to get to grips with the fishing. To say I found it very hard work would probably be fair!. I had new gear to get a feel for, new techniques to try, a new venue to get to grips with, etc, etc.

To cut a long story short I failed to catch a thing during the six hour practice day, though I did have a few hits at the lures which was slightly encouraging. I’d got a good feel for the tackle and was getting to grips with some of the techniques, I’ll cover these in more detail in a later article. On a positive note, I could only improve!. The next day would see the Championships officially begin, the first of three days which would take place on Lake Bastrop. There’s no prize money involved, it’s purely about the fishing and trying to gain the prestigious title of World Champion!… no pressure then.

Hobie 2012 Kayak Fishing World Championships

Team GB (myself, Dave Morris and Ian Harris) left the UK on Saturday and headed off to compete in the Hobie Kayak Fishing World Championships, based in Texas.


The journey wasn’t exactly the smoothest, we sat in the 747 at Heathrow for three hours due to ‘technical difficulties’. Twenty minutes, even half an hour is doable, but three hours?!!. It became that warm in the aircraft that I fell asleep, so I guess that it wasn’t too bad after all.

Once in Texas we spent the first night in Katy. Following breakfast the next morning we took the opportunity to visit Bass Pro, if you’ve not been before (like me!), it’s quite an experience. We all stocked up on a multitude of artificial lures, line, hooks, etc. I think that it’s fair to say that we all spent many hours researching the finer points of Largemouth Bass fishing and the result was a shortlist of must have lures. I mean, how difficult can this bass fishing actually be?


With the rental car packed full of fishing related goodies we headed off in the direction of Bastrop. Lake Bastrop was to be the venue for the Practice Day and for the first day of the Championships.

That night (yesterday) was particularly busy, to the untrained eye it may have even appeared somewhat chaotic!. There was so much to do and we were all caught off guard when it became apparent that we were only spending one night in that hotel with breakfast being served at 0530, hitting the road again at 0600. I made it to bed last night at around 0130, waking up again at 0430, not exactly ideal!. We also visited Austin Kayak that evening where team introductions were given and some briefings and further introductions from some of Hobie’s key players. The BBQ which followed after was most welcome and thoroughly appreciated!

This morning, after a relatively short road trip, we arrived at Lake Bastrop where we were greeted with an awesome sight, a fleet of Hobie Pro Angler 12 kayaks. The kayaks were identically rigged to ensure all anglers started on level pegging, though they were well appointed with most accessories including a live well, anchor trolley, anchor, stakeout pole, drogue, etc ,etc.



After a few more briefs it was time to hit the water for Practice Day, more to follow soon.