Recap of the 3rd Hobie Fishing European Championship powered by Lowrance & GoFree

Lake Mjörn brought us the new Hobie Fishing European Champion. Florian Le Hetet from France managed to get the most centimetres of fish (461 cm!) from the immense lake into his kayak and beat all the 47 other anglers.

The Hobie Fishing European Championship powered by Lowrance & GoFree started Friday 9 September with an optional Pre Fish Day. Most anglers took advantage from this opportunity and went out on their kayaks to scout and fish the lake. During the day the competitors that signed up for the event had to register themselves at the tournament direction. They received the official tournament jersey during the sign in.

At 7:00 PM the registration closed and the Captains Briefing was about to begin. The rules and fishing zones were clarified by the tournament director before the goodie bags were handed out. We are very thankful to our sponsors: Lowrance, GoFree, Rapala, Storm and VMC to all contribute to this great package. The anglers got some lures, hooks and protective equipment. Lowrance & GoFree contributed in the way of mapping the complete lake with Insight Genesis, giving a complete depth chart of the tournament arena. After the briefing the Lowrance & GoFree staff made hotdogs for all the competitors before everybody returned to their accommodation to prepare for the competition day one.

Anglers arrived on site for the first competition day around 5:00 AM. While they were busy preparing their kayaks, the morning briefing was prepared. After checking various weather reports it turned out that they all agreed. The conditions were going to be very rare for Lake Mjörn, but amazing for the competition. The wind would max around 7-8 km/hr and the sun was there to give it a comfortable 21 degrees Celcius. Locals told us this only happens a few days a year.

The national anthem played across the water just before 48 anglers pedalled their way through the Lowrance & GoFree starting line. The sight of this is stunning every time again. Most anglers were still working their way to their first waypoint when the first call came to one of the marshal boats. Jeroen Dirkzwager from the Netherlands had a pike that needed measurement. “As everybody raced off to their first fishing point, I noticed a large group of baitfish on my sounder. I thought, why not give it a go. And so I did. I threw the lure and boom!” Jeroen said about his early catch. A nice 83 cm pike was the first recorded catch of the competition.
The rest of the day went by silently as only two more fish were measured by the marshal boats early in the morning. When all competitors came back to the event site it was clear catching fish was not the problem. Almost everyone caught fish, but they were struggling to get a legal sized fish on the board.

31 out of 48 anglers managed to get fish after the first day. Mikael Puhakka from Sweden took the lead with 202 cm of fish recorded to his memory card. Austria angler, Rene Winklinger (189 cm) claimed second place just before Florian Le Hetet (162 cm) from France at the 3rd best spot.

When the anglers had prepared their kayaks for the second day Sunday morning at 6:00 AM, we shared the weather conditions with all the competitors. We were going to see Lake Mjörn how it normally is. Windy, with some rain. Luckily all anglers came prepared for rainy weather so that wasn’t any problem for the guys.

When they took off from the Lowrance & GoFree starting line, the weather was not bad at all, it was actually quite pleasant. They rain waited till 9:00AM and this gave the competitors some time to find their spots before it started raining. The MirageDrive came in convenient to manage the wind. As they just pedalled into the wind they kept their location perfectly while fishing.

As this day, no marshals were contacted to measure fish it was unclear what was happening on the water.  We had to wait till everybody came back and filled out the score cards.

At 3:00PM all anglers were back and score cards had been filled out. It was now for the tournament team to file all the scores and check the photos.

The award ceremony took place at Nolhaga Slott in the city of Alingsås. The prize table containing prizes for the top 10 anglers was set up in the backyard of the beautiful mansion. We would like to take this opportunity to say thanks to: Lowrance, GoFree, Shimano, Storm, Rapala and Sufix to come up with these amazing prizes for us to give away.

As all competitors arrived at the castle first thing to do was to take a group photo. Straight after, the award ceremony began.

“ I want to start with a special thanks to those who make these events possible and they are:

Lowrance, GoFree, Rapala Shimano, Storm Lures, VMC Hooks, Sufix and to the competitors for making the 3rd Hobie Fishing Euros possible. With the local Sportfishing Club – Alingsas Sportfiskeförening – we also had a supporting partner on-site without which HFE3 wouldn´t have been possible at one of the best fisheries in the south west of Sweden. “ Gero Priebe from Hobie Kayak Europe started.

This tournament will go into the books as the most successful one yet. A staggering 40 out of 48 anglers got on the result list. To get on here they needed to catch at least one legal sized fish during the two competition days.

As the scores were announced people got excited to enter the top ten. Place 10 to 1 all got a bag of Storm lures and Rapala goodies. The higher we got the more impressive the prize package was. The top 5 was blessed to get brand new Shimano gear included as well. Rods and reels all over the place. Lowrance & GoFree topped of the prize package by giving away sounders to place 3 and up.

  1. Francois Schmitt
    9. Jaroslav Rozhoň
    8. Jesus Lacasta
    7. Mads Søe
    6. Rob Staigis
    5. Bjarne Nielsen
    4. Jeroen Dirkzwager

All were called up to stage and handed their prizes. This only left the top 3. It was clear now this hasn’t changed from day one. The only question left is, did the order change?

To accept the third place prizes, Rene Winklinger from Austria was called upon stage. A total of 349 centimeters was enough for him to take the stage. He was given a Storm Lure package, Shimano Zodias 6’6” ML rod and a Citiga baitcaster reel, Lowrance Hook 4 fishfinder.

Second place was for Mikael Puhakka. He lead the competition going into day one, but despite having a better second day it just wasn’t enough to claim the top spot. He got onto stage and received a Storm Lure package, Shimano Expride rod and Stradic CI4+ 1000FB reel and a Lowrance Elite 7Ti fishfinder.

Mikael Puhakka: “I am very happy ending up 2nd place in this year´s event, although I would have loved to win the title here in Sweden. No question! Congratulations to all of you and Thanks to all competitors for a tightly fought competition. See you all soon!“

The second place also qualifies for the Hobie Fishing Worlds held in Lousiana, USA later this year. But… Mikael already qualified for this even because he won the Swedish National Championship. So… The qualifying spot went to Rene Winklinger. This wasn’t the only extra prize for Rene as he also caught the biggest fish of the competition. He landed a 88 cm pike in the first hours of the competition giving him an extra Strom Lures Package.

Rene Winklinger reaction: „I just started kayak fishing a few month ago and since I like tournament fishing I just signed up for HFE3. It turned out to be the right decision. I ended up 3rd place overall and caught the biggest fish of the tournament. The event was thrilling and exciting right up to the event! I´ve never been to the US. Going there in December to fish the Hobie Worlds and represent Austria is something I still need to realise.“

After announcing second place, everybody knew already. The winner of the 3rd Hobie Fishing European Championship powered by Lowrance & GoFree is Florian Le Hetet from France!!

As he was in third place after day one he had to get a really good day to beat the number one and two. And he did. He managed to get 299 centimeters of fish in his kayak and ended up with a total of 461 centimeter. Enough to claim the top spot together with the prize package: Storm Lure Package, Shimano Poison Adrena 166MH rod and Stella spinning reel, a Lowrance HDS-7 Gen3 fishfinder and qualification to the Hobie Fishing Worlds together with a flight voucher to Louisiana, USA.

Florian Le Hetet on his win: „I can´t believe that I won the title here in Sweden. I am more than happy with my results. What an exceptional adventure and fun weekend. Being qualifed for the Worlds in Louisiana means a lot to me and I can´t wait to compete against kayak anglers from all over the world. Allez le bleus!!!“

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