Question and Answer Session with Terry Wright

 

 

 

This is the final installment of ‘Meet the Team’. Today we caught up with Terry Wright.

HCP= The Hobie Centre Poole

HCP – Good Morning Terry. Tell us, where did It all start with you?

Terry – Like most guys I started fishing as a kid with my Dad over 50 years ago.
I have worked my way through most disciplines, pleasure fishing, match and specimen fishing.

HCP – When did you get on a kayak?

Terry – 2006. I did a team building day at Rutland Water, part of which included messing about on some sit-on-top kayaks. That’s when I saw their potential as a fishing platform.
A quick search of the internet and I found Anglers Afloat and as the saying goes: “I was hooked!” I then made the mistake of buying the wrong kayak and ended up buying my second one within six months. Hence my advice to all newbies: “Try before you buy!”

HCP – Over the years you have had a varied appetite for kayaks. Where are you with it now?

Terry – I spent 10 years working my way through several brands.

HCP – ‘Several brands’? …You’ve had a few then?

Terry – I have just counted up and including my two Hobie’s…. I have had twelve different kayaks through my garage! Most of which were excellent kayaks but I think as a freshwater lure angler I was not getting what I really wanted. That was until I saw the Hobie boys at competitions.

HCP – What was it that interested you about the Hobie Kayaks?

Terry – It was kayak where you can move and have your hands free to cast and strike, a kayak where you don’t have to flap about putting your paddle down to strike when trolling a lure, Hobie was to be my next kayak.

HCP – There is an extensive range to choose from, which did you settle on?

Terry – With the range that Hobie offer it was obvious which would suit me best…..The Pro Angler 14 and so, ‘Lady Vixen’ was put on the water and almost 3 years it is the longest I have stuck with one model and I don’t plan to change anytime soon!

HCP – What did you like most about the Pro-Angler 14?

Terry – The comfort of the Vantage seat is a major plus for an old man like me, but that’s just the start.

HCP – The seat is amazing! I have sat in many seats over the years and the Vantage seat is far superior to anything! What else?

Terry – SPACE! Now anyone that knows me will tell you how I like to take a little too much gear with me….

HCP – Haha, with the PA14 there is no such thing as too much kit! Why not take everything?!

Terry – Well the PA14 allows me to indulge my ‘just in case’ syndrome, there is as much space as anyone could wish to have. Add to that the ability to stand up for perfect jerk bait retrieval or casting a big fly for pike and you have my perfect kayak.

HCP – How about your fish finder?

Terry – I am fortunate enough to be an Ambassador for Garmin and as such have a Garmin Echmap1022XSV head unit and a pair of Panoptix transducers.

HCP – How are you mounting the screen?

Terry – The H Rail! A great bit of kit. I mount the 10” screen securely along with Hobie’s H-rail accessory plates. Also for the drop down poles for the transducers.

HCP – Now, loading the Pro-Angler…

Terry– I have heard people say the Hobie PA’s are too heavy for car topping. Well I am 63 years old and not the fittest kayaker around, BUT I have no trouble getting the PA14 on top of my car. I regularly do it solo at meets and often decline generous offers of help from the lads just to prove a point.

HCP – I don’t know how else to word it, but how do you get it up?

Terry – Haha! It is all about technique. Don’t try lifting it above your head unless your surname is Schwarzenegger. For me it is a piece of carpet on the boot, lift the bows up onto it then lift the stern, remembering to bend at the knees, and put the PA14 up the boot and onto the roof bars. Dead easy and if I can do it any one can!

HCP – We have had to put up with what seems to be a never ending winter. Have you still been getting out?

Terry – The great thing about being a freshwater lure angler is that winter is a welcome season….Rutland and Graham have their Predator Season open. I have a season ticket for Anglian Waters fisheries and Winter is the time for Zander fishing.

HCP – What is the downside to winter for you?

Terry – It has to be the high winds. There has to be a back-up plan and this is where the Rivers Trent and Soar come in, flood levels permitting. So it’s a bit of lure fishing for perch and pike.

HCP – Thank you for your time today Terry. We wish you the best for 2018.

 

Question and Answer Session with Ian Harris

Ian Dizzyfish Harris

 

This week, we caught up with Ian Harris. He tells about his new role, London International and his kayaks.

HCP = Hobie Centre Poole

HCP – Congratulations on your new role! What is going to be your involvement with European Team?

Ian – Thanks! I have just been named as the Captain of the Hobie Europe team for this year’s Hobie Fishing Worlds event in Sweden.

HCP – Was this planned or a surprise?

Ian – It was a big surprise! And I am very excited and also very honoured. The Hobie Fishing Worlds competitions have been a big part of my life ever since I took part in my first HFW event in Texas back in 2012. Since then I have been lucky enough to fish 4 consecutive Hobie Fishing world championships, winning the 1st Hobie Angler’s choice award in Holland in 2014, and finishing 5th in China in 2015. I have made a lot of great friends through this unique event over the years.

HCP – So what are you hoping for from the worlds?

Ian – It would be great if the European team could bring back a win from Sweden. Regardless of the result, I know that Europe will be great hosts, and we have some top kayak fishermen. It will be a bit strange not to be fishing, but I will do my best to offer advice, and of course I will take lots of photos. Whatever happens, I hope that everyone will get behind us. I am sure the UK kayak fishermen will be cheering on Ian Pickering, our UK representative. I am looking forward to meeting up with some of my buddies from previous competitions, especially Richard Somerton and Steve Lessard. As well as being fantastic fishermen, they are also top guys, and are always willing to offer advice to others. Over the years, I have learned so much from guys like this, and so many others.

HCP – It is great to hear the consensus from everyone is not only the fishing but the social!

Ian – It’s probably the best thing about fishing big international competitions, and the small ones too! I’m lucky to have kayak fishing friends all over the World thanks to Hobie, and in particular, the support of the The Hobie Centre, Poole to help me along the way.

HCP – You are very welcome Ian! Let’s hit on your own event, London International 2018. How long does it take you to prepare for a big event like that?

Ian – I start planning for The London International kayak fishing festival almost a year in advance. You would not believe how much preparation and work is involved in an event of this size!

HCP – Where did you come up with the idea for a big UK event?

Ian – It was inspired by my experiences in the Hobie Kayak World kayak fishing tournaments. I wanted the UK and European kayak fishermen to be able to experience the same international event atmosphere and meet other kayak fishermen from around the world.

HCP – Last year’s event was a huge success.

Ian – It was the biggest freshwater kayak fishing event in Europe. We had over 75 kayak fishermen from 12 different countries, including China and USA.

HCP – Tell us about the venue… Thanks to you I have fished there a couple of times and it is beautiful and holds some big fish!

Ian – There are some huge fish in there! The Wraysbury lake complex provides a stunning backdrop to the competition. Our hosts RK Leisure, pulled out all of the stops for last year’s competition. Some great fish were caught, and we only really scratched the surface in terms of the lake’s potential.

HCP – How are you going to make this year’s London International better?

Ian – This year, we will have access to 4 incredible predator lakes, and an amazing prize table. Those who were lucky enough to attend last year’s number limited competition will tell you what a special event it was.

HCP – It was the first European kayak fishing event to feature in a dedicated TV show.

Ian – Thanks must go to Andy Ford and the BT Sport “On The Bank” crew, who did us proud. Many of us had our 15 minutes of fame that day. The competitors of The London International also raised over £2000 for charity.

HCP – Amazing stuff! There must have been others who helped you along the way?

Ian – I have to say a big thankyou to our generous sponsors Westin, Hobie, Lowrance, Navionics UK, Funky Fly Tying, Reuben Heaton, The Lure Box, Flambeau Outdoors – Europe and Costa del Mar. I also have to say a huge thanks to Steve Beard, Gero Priebe, and Barry Lynch from The Lure Box. Their help and organisation was invaluable.

HCP – So when do I need to book my days off to fish it?

Ian – This year’s event is being held from 8-10th June, and is going to be even better than last year’s kayak fishing extravaganza!

HCP – What about your personal kayaks?

Ian – I have two Hobie fishing kayaks which I use for my trips. The first is my Hobie Revolution 11, which is superb for lure fishing on rivers. I have fitted an extra large rudder to the kayak which, combined with its short length, allows me to turn on a sixpence in the narrow confines of the river. The Revo 11 is also very light, which makes portage easy. I can work my way along the river to reach the parts that other fishermen cannot reach. It’s deadly when hunting down wiley chub with lures!

HCP – Your second boat, I have seen it many times and it still amazes me how you have fitted so much equipment on to one Hobie Outback!

Ian – This is the ideal platform for my saltwater kayak fishing. In particular, the electronic devices and configuration are very cool. I am an ambassador for Lowrance, and have fitted a Lowrance HDS Carbon 9 inch finder to the Outback. It was probably the easiest fish finder installation I have ever experienced since I started kayak fishing. Hobie provide an adaptor, which houses the transducer and makes fitting a doddle.

HCP – What gives you the edge with your Lowrance?

Ian – The fishfinder has many functions, including side imaging, GPS charts. The latest update called “FishReveal” combines 2D and down imaging to highlight fish and structure in a single view – fish are not safe! The kayak’s electrical wiring system is housed in the hull, and uses waterproof connectors.

HCP – Now, I’ve seen you with an iPad too!

Ian – That is to display the Navionics+ charts. The Navionics Sonar Chart live system allows me to map new areas of water.

HCP – Is that complicated set up and install?

Ian – The Lowrance HDS Carbon wirelessly communicates to the Navionics app on the iPad, and displays the cartography in real time. It’s a simple and very effective system, which works – it’s clever stuff.

HCP – Those screen must take a few batteries power them?

Ian – On the contrary. A Tracer 22Ah Lithium polymer battery is all that powers the gadgets. This high tech battery is housed in a waterproof container, and is less than ¼ of the weight of standard lead acid batteries.

HCP – Speaking of waterproofing… I dropped my iPad in the sink. How are keeping yours safe?

Ian – The iPad mini is protected by a ruggedized waterproof housing which also utilises a waterproof charge lead. This connects to a waterproof USB socket which enables the unit to be charged whilst I’m on the water. I’ve been using this setup for a long time, and its works. Kayak fishing is a pretty unforgiving hobby, and electronics equipment has to be tough to survive.

HCP – Thank you for your time Ian. The next instalment we will be speaking with Terry Wright about his set up and keeping warm in the colder conditions.

Question and Answer Session with Dave Morris

 

Hobie UK Fishing Team

 

This week we do a Q&A with another Hobie UK fishing Team member – David Morris.

HCP = Hobie Centre Poole

HCP – The Hobie Centre, Poole have been sponsoring you as part of the UK Fishing Team for a fair few years now, what has been your most memorable moments?

Dave – Yes, been with the UK Hobie Fishing Team since its birth in 2012. Most memorable moments have to be the Hobie Fishing Worlds 2012 in Austin, Texas and 2013 Bemm and Marlo in Australia. I met some crazy people who have become good friends, caught some amazing fish and had a good laugh along the way.

HCP – Now… How about China?

Dave – YES! The last three years I’ve fished the Shengzhong Lake China Open Kayak Fishing Tournament, the Chinese certainly know how to put on an event… 1000 competitors over several disciplines, 20,000 spectators!

HCP – What is your finder set up on board?

Dave – Last year I became an Ambassador for Garmin. Garmin now look after my electronic needs, both fishfinders with Panoptix technology and cameras. This lead to me being on stage with fellow Garmin Ambassadors, Olympian Dame Kelly Holmes and TV Presenter/Pop Star Alisha Dixon, I think they were suitably impressed with meeting a kayak fisherman.

HCP – Is Alisha nice?

Dave – Alisha was lovely, really friendly normal lass who was just as excited about the evening as the rest of us.

HCP – oh aye … What is your preference salt or fresh?

Dave – I enjoy fishing both although I’ve been concentrating more and more on my freshwater kayak fishing, specifically lure fishing on my Hobie Outback LE. I still do a couple of saltwater competitions a year as well as organising the Hobie sponsored Swanage Classic which is in its ninth year for 2018. Last year I started fishing from the Hobie Revolution 16, gets me to the marks quicker which is important when there is up to 100 other competitors out on the water, think I might be doing a bit more salty stuff this year.

HCP – So why fresh?

Dave – Why freshwater? That’s where all the comps are headed and I love fishing competitively. Tournaments make you focus on what you are doing and why. If things don’t work you need to make some quick changes especially if others are hauling in fish.

HCP – And the fish to catch Pike, Perch, Zander…

Dave – … or Trout depending on venue. I love pike fishing but nothing beats a big Perch!

HCP – Rods, reels, line and lures. What is your ‘go to’ everyday set up? One rod, one reel only.

Dave – One rod and reel…? only if I was fly fishing! During the comps I take out at least four set ups.

HPC – Just one…

Dave – One?

HCP – One…

Dave – OK, if I have to choose one set up it would have to be my all round rig. (Daiwa UK) Daiwa Luvias 3000/ (SPRO Sports Professionals) Spro Insync 7-28g, Daiwa J-Braid 28lb, this set up still keeps everything fun, the Insync gets a lovely bend in it when hooked into a good fish, the Luvias has a lovely smooth drag and is well balanced to the rod. I use the multi-coloured J-Braid, if I’m trolling a lure it’s good to know how many metres of line you have out so you know your lure is in the zone.

HCP – And now the big question. THE lure?

Dave – That’s easy, the amazing Westin ShadTeez 12cm in either Headlight or Official Roach (The Lure Box), I’ve had some good pike and my PB Perch on them… superb lure. It’s a consistent fish catcher.

 

Question and Answer Session with Lee Garner

This week’s installment of ‘Meet the Team’. Lee Garner gives us his tips on lure fishing for Perch, and why he likes the Pro-angler 12.

HCP = Hobie Centre Poole!

HCP – Lee, Welcome. Let’s start with an easy one. What species have you been targeting?

Lee – I have fished a lot for Perch over the past few years and to be honest I have probably concentrated on them too much. I was rewarded with a 5lb Perch a couple of years ago as a result though!

HCP – What have you been doing to catch them?

Lee – In 2017 my biggest of the year was 4.2lbs, and had a number of Perch in the 3lb bracket. With reference to what’s the best technique; I have caught big perch whilst jigging, drop shotting and on crankbaits.

HCP – So is there one technique that works best or better?

Lee – I would say there is no one technique that will do it, you just need to find them and give them what they want..

HCP – Okay, treat me as a beginner…

Lee – That’s not hard…

HCP – Oi! Alright I’ll rephrase that, what style would you teach a complete novice?

Lee – Personally I would start with jigging. Jigging is a very good search bait, which allows you to quickly cover the water. If I am fishing my local river or canal I use soft plastic shads, such as a Zman 2.5” to 3” SlimZ (Z-Man Fishing Products) on a jig head or weedless set-up. You can hop the shad along the bottom and vary the speed until you have worked out how they want it. Only once I have found them I would generally experiment with slower presentations to try and entice the bigger Perch.

HCP – Big bait for big Perch?

Lee – No, not really. Picking the bigger fish out of a shoal could mean going smaller or bigger, you have to just experiment and find what suits that particular fish. Try experimenting with a Zman TRD and working it slowly on the bottom. This has made a difference for me and has picked out the larger perch in the past.

HCP – What is a Zman TRD?

Lee – They are floating stick baits that have no real action other than what you impart, but they work with devastating effect. Nudging the bait along the bottom slowly, gives the perch plenty of opportunity to smash it!
When lure fishing it’s important to have the right tackle it’s not just the lures.

HCP – Lets move away from lures and look at your go to the rod.

Lee – I use St.Croix Rods. They make exceptionally good rods, Lure Lounge distribute them in the UK (www.lurelounge.co.uk). I use a legend extreme 0.3 to 5 gram for 80% of my perch fishing and I have caught a lot of my perch on it.

HCP – I have been looking at one of those for myself! Apparently it’s the sensitivity?

Lee – Feeling the bites when lure fishing is essential, sometimes the bites are very delicate, I’ve experienced this from not only perch and zander but big pike too. Even pike have a soft side! So having the right rod that enables you to feel the bite and get the hook set.

HCP – What about your kayak? Tell us a little bit about that.

Lee – My Pro-Angler 12 THE kayak of all kayaks… Well that’s what I think! I love the space I have available and the stability, I’d be confident I could fit a baby cow on it comfortably.

HCP – I would really love to see that! Other than the capacity, what else?

Lee – This kayak can be but on my car roof on my own and launched on my own. I have the space for my rods, I usually take 4-5 different set-ups and I link up my fish finder unit next to my seat, with the wires hidden inside the kayak. You can get your kayak looking very tidy and organised. With the amount of storage space that it has you will not be left wanting with this killer kayak.

HCP – You are also into your street/bank fishing. What is the benefit of your kayak over being on the bank?

Lee – Being afloat gives me the advantage of fishing parts of the river that no one can get to on the bank. Plus I can fish the same swims, but pull my lure through in a different direction and present my bait in a different way. This can make a huge difference. I have a section of river where I can only access the big Perch via my kayak, as they are in a very specific place..

HCP – Want to tell us about this place?

Lee – Nope…

HCP – Damn it! Let us get back to lures, presentation and finesse. You joined us at the London Boat Show to share your knowledge and love of kayak anglering. We spoke about paddle tails and the ‘noise’ they make.

Lee – Yes, we discussed the subtleties of a couple of paddle tail shads that I use. There are two categories as far as I am concerned. Firstly you have the subtle gentle flickering of a skinny tail which is high RPM, but a tight and compact action. Then there is the ‘thumper’, a shorter, fatter section to the tail where it conveys a slower RPM but pushes a lot of water. Choosing the right action can make the difference. As a basic rule, if the fish are up for it, give them a thumper so they can locate quickly and smash it. Or if they are a little shy, give them a subtle flicker.

HCP – And lastly, what is in store for you for 2018?

Lee – Essentially more fishing… However I have an exciting venture for this season. I will be trying to get more people onto kayaks and therefore will be offering a kayak fishing experience. I’ve taken a few people out up to now, but will be ramping this up for next season and getting some more new comers onto the Hobie Kayak, plus getting a St Croix in their hands! Watch this space! You can find me on Facebook by searching for ‘The Kayak Fishing Guide’ or contact the guys at Hobie Centre who will put you in touch with me.

HCP – Sounds great Lee! I think I will join you for a session on the water.

 

These topics are brought to you by the Hobie Centre, Poole – Home of the Hobie UK fishing Team.

Question and Answer Session with Mike Taylor

A question and answer session with Mike Taylor the new recruit to the Hobie Centre’s UK Fishing Team, Mike uses a limited edition Hobie Outback

 

HCP – I know you enjoy organising and running competitions but is there a stretch of water that you would like to run a comp, but have not yet gained access?
Mike – There are a few I would love to gain access to one being the mighty Chew Valley but know they don’t allow access to kayaks so it would be a no go. Another I am thinking of trying is north of the border in Scotland and that is the Lake Of Mentieth.

HCP – Sounds like a voice of experience, you have fished it then?

Mike – I have fished Mentieth a few times in the past and there is just something about the place.
I have written the email out a few times but never sent it, it could be one for the future we will just have to see. It’s not easy fitting an extra event into the Kayak Fishing Calendar as there are so many.

HCP – You are busy with your events. Which one are you looking forward to?

Mike – I have the Lake District Rover Competition I am running this year which is brand new so I am excited to see how this goes, it has been tough figuring the format out but I think I am there now and have some great sponsors coming in, the Hobie Cat Centre Poole is supporting this new event along with all the other competitions I am running with some awesome prizes again.

HCP – Thanks Mike, we like to give back to the community! We thank everyone that has purchased a Hobie Kayak from us so we are able to help a sponsor these events and give a little back. Plus it means we get to fish too!
So what do you like most about competitive fishing? The late evenings camping before a comp seem to have as much attraction as the fishing itself!

Mike – It certainly does, the social side of the competitions is fantastic with people from all over the country it’s great to catch up with them.
The competitions I love the challenge, you have to fish hard and if you get wind of someone catching something good you have to up your game. Loch Ken I helped land a 20lb plus pike and photograph for one of the lads, I knew this would put him well clear of everyone so knew what I had to do to catch him, I played the numbers game and came a close second behind him.
But I like to help people out too, so if I know someone is struggling and I can put them on fish I will and have done in the past, once I put a guy on a shoal of perch, it was all he needed to take the win which he did do. So it’s not all really serious all the time and there are so many good people involved in the comps.

HCP – What are you most looking forward to this coming year?

Mike – This year there is so much I am looking forward to, firstly it’s a trip down to the Hobie Cat Centre in Poole, I have spoken to Kris and Steve a good bit when we’ve met at some of the competitions and have had kayaks from them but I have not visited the Centre yet.
I am looking forward to a lot of the competitions I’m working my socks off at the moment so I can get time off for them. Again it’s not just the competition it’s the social side of the competition getting to meet up with people I haven’t seen for a few months.

HCP – To be honest, that’s why I go! How about events?

Mike – The World Predator Classic in Holland is one I am really excited for, last year was my first time there and although it was really hard going I loved it, so I have the ferry and a house booked already to go, even spending the miserable days in winter preparing lures and rigs ready for the event.

HCP – You’re a family man too. How do they feel about you playing with lures?

Mike – As a Dad I am really pleased both my sons are keen to go fishing and it’s great teaching them to fish and now they are both at an age I can take them afloat (6 & 8 years old) my eldest son Nathan, fished for the first time in a kayak last year and despite the dreadful weather, he loved every minute of it and won the junior section. I can’t wait to get them out again and have a week booked away with them to get some practice in and have some fun on the kayaks.

I am looking forward most to the year ahead is being part of the Hobie Fishing Team, I cannot wait to see what the year ahead has in store.
I look forward to seeing you on the water!

How to install Hobie Deck Pad kit

Looking at the Hobie Outback limited edition (LE) models, I really liked what Hobie did with the deck highlights; sometimes little things can make a big difference to the way the kayak looks. Hobie now sell an upgrade kit for Hobie fishing kayaks, so you can get that “LE” look for your own Hobie kayak.

This guide covers the Deck Pad Kit for the Hobie Outback – but kits are available for other kayaks too. The Outback kit comes in three different colours

Green/Espresso – Hobie part 72020256

Titanium/Blue – Hobie part 72020257

Grey/Charcoal – Hobie part 72020258

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I chose the Grey/Charcoal combination, as I thought it was a good contrast against the yellow hull of my Hobie Outback.

The deck pad kit comes with a good set of instructions, and an owners manual…

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The first thing to be aware of, is that ideally you should install the deck kit in temperatures of over 16 degrees (celicius). As it is currently winter in the UK, and I could not wait until the spring/summer, I decided to use a hair drier to warm the deck pads.

It is also very important to clean the hull of the kayak thoroughly before you install the deck kit. I used an ammonia based window cleaning product, and before applying the pads, I used lighter fuel to remove any grease.

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It is a good idea to take out the pre-cut pads from the box and arrange them loosely on the deck of the kayak. That way, you can see where everything goes, and check that you have everything you need.

My Hobie Outback has several customised upgrades – I have installed a rectanglular hatch (lengthways), some RAM based rod holders, and various electrical and rail based items. These custom items would require a bit of thought, but the kit can easily be “adapted” as you will see.

Arranging the deck pads on the hull of the kayak…

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Once I had a good idea of where everything was going to go, I started to add the decks pads, starting at the bow of the kayak…

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Because it was cold, I used the hairdrier to activate the adhesive. I took my time with the front hatch, because it is curved, but it was pretty straightforward.

The Outback was already looking quite jazzy, and I had only just started…

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Working my way along the kayak from the bow to the stern, I added the pads to the mirage drive bay…

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Next I added the pad to the rectangular hatch (The kit contains pads to cover both the rectangular and circular hatches). However, at this point I wanted to add a bit more bling around the outide of the rectangular hatch. I took the pad which was intended for the circular hatch surround, and cut it so that I could use it around the rectangular hatch. It looked great…

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I also cut the pads to allow them to sit either side of my RAM rod tubes…

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And the port side accessory shelf…

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Finally I added the pads to the tankwell and to the rear hatch…

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The deck pads even matched my custom hydro dipped H crate – pure luck…

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Probably one of the simplest upgrades I have made, and I was pretty pleased with the final outcome…

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If you would like to pimp your Hobie with the deck pad kit, then contact the Hobie Cat Centre.

Hobie Centre at The Big One

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We are giving away 10 free tickets to the UK’s biggest fishing tackle show The Big One.  The Hobie centre will be at the show displaying a range of the latest Hobie Fishing Kayaks.

The show takes place on March 24th and 25th at the new exhibition centre in Farnborough, Hants.

We are also celebrating the launch of The London International Kayak fishing festival.

To be in with a chance of winning a ticket to the show, all you have to do is share this blog entry on Facebook (by clicking on the Facebook button below) or like and share the London International Facebook page.

We will announce the winners at the end of February… Good Luck!!

The joy of fishing from a pedal kayak by Pat Haughton

In my early kayaking days I used a traditional sit on kayak, the Tarpon 14. I was already a mad keen rock hopping bass lure angler and I found this new fishing platform opened up hugely exciting fishing potential that I couldn’t previously reach.

New Horizons However, I soon learnt that the traditional sit on kayaks have a number of drawbacks for the lure fishing angler. Many of the most productive marks were associated with strong currents, tidal races and rocks. This created a problem. How do you cast and keep yourself in position at the same time? The hot spots were very localised and often by the time you landed a fish the tide/race would have carried you 2-400 meters away from the ‘mark’. Often playing the fish would also ‘drag’ you over the mark and spoil the fishing. Another problem was your ability to troll a lure effectively. The key to fishing is to find your fish. I will always study the charts to see where the fish are likely to be holding. Often they will move to very localised patches were the food is. To find them you can just drift and cast, but a faster method of location is to cover great areas by trolling a lure. Once you have found the fish often there are many more in that area that you can now cast to. The problem with trolling from a traditional sit on kayak is that your rod is in a holder whilst you paddle and so your lure isn’t fishing very effectively. To induce a fish to strike it is much better to work your lure as you are going along. Additionally when you are holding your rod you can feel the lure working and whether you have any weed attached. I will write more about this in another blog. So when the peddle powered, hands free, Hobie fishing kayaks were first introduced from America to the UK around 2005 I was very excited about their lure fishing potential and snapped one up. Over the next 10 years I fished hard for the bass. Very hard. I enjoyed brilliant sport and explored many hundred maybe thousands of miles of coastline often on my own or with an increasing ‘fleet’ of friends. (The success on the Hobie compared to other kayaks meant that all of my fishing buddies moved across to their use. The combined fleet now numbers 17 Hobies!) Soft baits were deadly when worked behind the boat but my favourite method was to use the popper. The popper gives you that wonderful gut wrenching thrill as the bass attacks it on the surface. It is a particularly effective method of fishing when you have the advantage of access to the best and most remote marks and the silent stealth of the Hobie. Up until a couple of years ago, I just lure fished. However, for the last couple of years I decided to branch out a bit and try other methods of fishing. My favourite Hobie hull was the Hobie Sport kayak. It is so versatile, stable and manoeuvrable. I can reach everything in the boat front and back.

 

 

 

 

 

Spring fishing for Smooth hounds in the Solent using hard crab is now a particular favourite of mine.

However, as you can see from the pictures, I was a tad big and heavy for the Sport and if I stayed at anchor for any length of time in rough conditions I would start to sink! At the start of 2017 I decided that I wanted to concentrate more on bottom fishing with baits. I convinced myself (and more importantly my wife) that I needed an upgrade if I was to sit safely at anchor for extended periods loaded down with tackle, bait etc. So I have upgraded to an all singing, bells and whistles Hobie Outback with the Vantage seat, a Hook fishfinder, turbofins and even a reverse gear! Was it worth it? Yes, yes, yes. I have enjoyed a fantastic fishing season learning how to bottom fish and experimenting with using the sonar to accurately lure fish at wide range of depths. The results have been brilliant and I will write about what I learnt in my next post.

My personal best black bream just shy of 4lbs……….

 

Trolling for bass by Pat Haughton

Pat Haughton

A buddy and occasional fisher, Sam Gaunt, once told me that his ‘luck’ when trolling a lure increased with the amount of line he let off his reel. I reflected that even though the Hobie Mirage Sport glides through the water with great stealth it will still be raising the alert and cautious instinct of the fish beneath. Fish, even predatory fish like bass, do not survive long in the food chain by not reacting to their instincts. The bigger the fish the cannier they become……

At distance it looks calm but up close you are in a washing machine of turbulence!

So what is the optimum length of line you need to pay out to troll most effectively? This has to be found by trial and error and will vary with the conditions. In wild, turbulent seas i.e. the race between the Needles off the Isle of White, you can fish effectively only 20m behind the boat. The fish feel safe in the turbulence. They are hunting the bait fish as they are funnelled through the gap. You don’t really want a lot of line out in treacherous waters like this as you risk getting snagged and if/when you hook a fish you don’t really want to be playing it at distance.

A typical trolled bass on a bright but not very calm day.

However, if you are trolling along the shoreline in relatively shallow water less than 4m the bass will be spooked and a much longer pay out of line is needed. Generally I will fish at least 60m away. Bright conditions It is often the case that bass are caught in the shore margins or shallow water at night, or at dawn and dusk. In the middle of the day, with bright conditions, they seek deeper water where they will chill out from their feeding or occasionally take up attack positions often behind an obstruction/reef. If you are equipped with a echo sounder and navigator you can target these marks and even on the brightest and calmest of day you will catch big bass. On calm, bright days you need to be fishing at least 100m behind your kayak to maximise your chances. At this distance you must be using braid to keep in good contact with your lure. The braid line will spook the weary big bass so you must also use a 15lb florocarbon trace. You will also need a rod with a moderate to fast action to set the hook at this distance. I have lost too many big fish using light rods with this long distance trolling method so I now use a powerful 9 foot Savagegear predator rod.

What lures to troll? The trouble with fishing is you tend to use the lures that work for you and not to experiment too much once you have found a winner! There is so much choice in the market. In the past I would swear by the Delta Scalliwag or Westender lures. I would cut their heads off and add difference weight lead heads to fish over different depths of water. Very shallow water and you need to be fishing as little as 5grams. If you are fishing over a deep reef I will fish a 65 grams lead head. Delta Scalliwags and Westenders are brilliant but over the last 3 years I have been converted to the Savagegear sandeels as I find that they come in a full range of sizes to suit the range of depths. The advantage of a softbait over a traditional plug is that the fish will often first hit or nip the bait and you can feel this using braid even at 100m as you are holding the rod. At that point if you sweep the rod back behind you to let the lure fall and it will invariably induce a take. With my new Hobie kayak with it’s Hook fishfinder and chart plotter I am able to target these deeper reefs marks with deadly accuracy. Fishing the 65 gram Savager gear lure 100m behind the boat using braid to keep in tight contact and 15lb florocarbon trace I can now catch big bass even on the brightest of days. How lucky we are to have all of this fantastic technology to play with….

Best bass this year of 8+lbs