Tournament Angler Guide
Hobie winner’s winning notes – confidence is key Richard Somerton
Last year was very rewarding, and I enjoyed fishing the 2016 Hobie series. I went into this season with a bit more competitive drive, which I had been struggling with in the previous year. Again, it was a full calendar, with tournaments in Western Australia, Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and finally a return to Tassie! The Hobie Australasia team had again put another interesting and varied season together. BEGINNINGS It all started for me at Bemm River, an arena I have previously done extremely well in. Going into the competition I was confident of at least a top 10 finish. I didn’t adapt well to the sudden rise in water level, wind strength and the hammering my spots got on pre-fish, but I stuck to my plan, with the result of 32nd… ouch! With the biggest turnout ever in the kayak series of over 100 competitors, I knew it was 8
TAG 2017 abt
going to be a big year. Mallacoota again put on the numbers and was the second of the World Qualifiers after Bemm, and one I wanted to get up on the podium and to gain back some vital Worlds team points. I had a good plan, that unfortunately relied on at least one good Mallacoota beast, and I didn’t quite get there, finishing 4th. It was great to see Carl Dubois take the win and it was the start of his dominance that would eventually see him take out a well-deserved Angler of the Year title. OVER THE DITCH! It was then time for Hobie to take the show overseas! That’s right, the black bream Mecca of Tasmania. I had fished the Scamander for trout once, and that was about it, and being yet another Worlds Qualifier, I had put hours of research in with Mr Cranka Crab himself, Steve Steer. Myself and a few others found it to be a tough bite, and not the system I had heard it was, and this combined with my reluctance to use soft plastics saw me finish a disappointing 12th, and
definitely not where I had told myself I would finish. A few days later and a short drive down the road was the Swan River, and the next round of the Hobie roadshow. I love this place, and have fished it both in tournaments and socially. It has flats, racks, rocks and is very tidal. It has everything an angler could want for black bream, including some true beasts. After the prefish, I was confident and even said to my wife Tanya, “I’ve got this.” Well, it might have been a bit cocky, but I have been told you must win it in your head before going on the field. Well, finally it all came together for me with a good kicker fish on each day backed by solid bags, and this saw me take out my first win of the series and a major boost to my confidence. BACK ON THE MAINLAND The season rolled on, and I managed a 6th at St Georges Basin, and being my first yellowfin event of the year, it gave me a bit of hope that my yellowfin mojo hadn’t left me leading up to the big event, the Forster round!
In the lead up to the Forster tournament, I studied maps, tides, previous locations and distances. The major unknown for me was the new launch site, as I had always fished events from down the front. Not being sure whether to hit the lake or not, I put all my efforts into throwing Cranka Crabs around racks. Again, I went into this event knowing I would win. I had convinced myself that was what was going to happen anyway… I admit, things got a bit shaky on the prefish when it was very slow, but when an area and a pattern came together again, my confidence skyrocketed. Over the next two days, I managed two good bags that included a cracking fish that took out my first ever Boss Hog big bream! In the end, taking out the win at Forster was pretty big for me for many reasons. This was the final Worlds scoring round, which saw me go from 5th and just in the team to the top qualifier. This was also my biggest win by numbers with the largest field ever at a kayak round in NSW of 96, and this just
shows how big the kayak tournament scene is getting. I managed to squeeze one more event in down at Nelson on a very swollen, dirty and flooding Glenelg River, and again I was thinking a good game until I pulled up on Thursday night and saw the state of the water. The doubts crept in and continued throughout the tournament. There were fish there, but for the first time this year, I didn’t fill my bag and came away with 6th place. WARMING UP FOR THE BIG DANCE Going through and wrapping up the year I had, it was evident to me that my mental state had a lot to do with my performance. The events I had convinced myself I was going to win, I performed well in or won! So, when the Australian Championship came around, I had it won. In my head, anyway… Preparation for the Gold Coast started with me pouring over maps and the internet trying to formulate a plan, as I had never fished there before. I wanted an area a long-distance peddle from the start so the fishing
pressure wouldn’t be too bad. The area had plenty of structure and hopefully a larger than average fish. I had ruled out the flats heading into the event due to what I had heard regarding the crazy boat traffic! I had a chat with fellow Cranka Pro Staffer Stephen Maas pointing out my plan and listened to his thoughts. He gave the thumbs up and a couple possible lure colours and I was confident with my starting plan. When the Championships rolled around, I was ready to go, with the only question mark hanging over my plan being the new Hobie drive, the reversible MD180. Would it be slower, harder or just so different that I wouldn’t be able to put my long-distance plan into action? Those doubts were soon gone ten minutes into the pre-fish. The drives were fast, and I could maintain a higher than average speed. I didn’t make the long run up to the comp day planned areas, instead finding similar locations closer to the start line. I worked through different canals trying several pontoons, jetties and boat hulls catching fish regularly.