Dizzy’s London International – UK Hobie Fishing Worlds Qualifier
I have been lucky enough to take part in four Hobie Fishing World Championship events all across the world, and last year I had a crazy dream. I wanted kayak fishermen in the United Kingdom to experience the same thrill that I have, and rub shoulders with international kayak fishermen from across the world. We have some great kayak fishing competitions in the UK, which have a really good vibe. I wanted to combine the social side of these events with a crazy international mix of kayak fishermen at a world class kayak fishing venue. And so, Dizzy’s London International kayak fishing festival was born…
Seventy kayak fishermen from over ten different countries would compete against each other to win a place on the Hobie Fishing Europe team for the Hobie Fishing Worlds.
We had some incredible sponsors, including Hobie, Westin Fishing, Lowrance, Navionics, The Lure Box and Reuben Heaton, and our hosts RK Leisure pulled out all of the stops to make this the “go- to” event of the year on the UK kayak fishing calendar.
The venue was stunning. It is one of the most famous lake complexes in Europe, and has held many British record fish. It also holds some very big predators in the shape of perch and pike. The opening ceremony saw everyone get together in the luxury fishing lodge. We gave out the goodie bags with lures from Westin, and other cool bits and pieces from Lowrance and Navionics.
We also greeted the kayak fishermen who had flown in especially for the event from outside of Europe. My great friend Bob Neuweiler had flown in from the USA, and three Chinese kayak fishermen had also joined us.
The event was the first ever UK qualifier for the Hobie Fishing Worlds. It was also the biggest kayak lure fishing event ever held in the UK, and the first time a UK kayak fishing tournament had ever been televised. We had some film crews from BT Sport who were covering the event.
The competition would be fished over three days on two different lakes. Day one was practice, days two and three were the main competition days. The target was to catch the three biggest pike and perch. The winner would be the person with the highest combined length over the two days of competition.
The practice day went well, and the weather was set fair for the two days of competition. The evening saw everyone relax with some great food provided by our hosts. Time to chill before the competition proper started.
It was an odd feeling to be marshalling an event. All of my kayak fishing buddies were out fishing, and normally I would be out there with them. But it was great to see them having such a good time, and for a few hours, our phones were constantly ringing for people needing assistance with pike which were too big to measure. Some fighting fir pike were caught by the competitors.
My Hobie Great Britain team mate David Morris caught a stunning 108-centimetre pike, and I was really chuffed to be able to be there with the camera crew to capture my great friend with his special fish. He was pretty chuffed too, and I reckon he is still shaking!
The action continued, with three fish over 90 cms caught in a hectic spell of predator lure fishing. Amos Mak decided he would do a spot of fly fishing. He hooked a fish which gave him a sleigh ride in his Mirage Outback LE. He was towed across the lake, much to everyone’s amusement. It turned out he had hooked a 23-pound carp on his fly rod!
Going into the final day, everyone was buzzing. One of the junior anglers fishing with his dad had caught an 84-centimetre pike, on one of the lakes. He had beaten most of the senior anglers on the lake that day. It was still anyone’s game. Any of the anglers in the top 15 could win. The action continued where it had left off the day before..
When the anglers returned, we still had no idea who had won. Whilst myself and Hobie Europe Fishing Product Manager Gero Priebe calculated the final results, we got together for a group picture. When the anglers returned, we still had no idea who had won. Whilst myself and Hobie Europe Fishing Product Manager Gero Priebe calculated the final results, we got together for a group picture.
The results were in. The winner was Ian Pickering with a combined total length of 300 centimetres of fish in two days. Ian’s prize is a Westin W3 lure rod, and also the prize that money cannot buy: a ticket to compete in the Hobie Fishing Worlds on the Hobie Europe team. We were all pretty exhausted after three days of fishing, but everyone had a great time. And this event will long be remembered in the minds of the anglers who took part. Especially Ian’s…
Many thanks to the sponsors and everyone who helped me sort out the details during the competition, especially Gero Priebe, Barry Lynch, Steve Beard, Craig Davis, Emma Maule, Lance Godefroy, RK Leisure. A big thank you to The Lure Box for supplying the photographer Jason, who captured some great images of our special weekend.