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.

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