The Hobie Fishing World Championships are recognized as the Super Bowl or World Series of kayak angling, and this year, South Carolina’s own Justin Carter will be competing.
The competition, which runs from Oct. 29-Nov. 3, will be held on the Bemm River and in the coastal town of Marlo – both near East Gippsland, Australia.
Carter, who operates KayakFish SC guide service in the Charleston area, is one of 41 fishermen from 16 countries invited to compete for the title of world champion.
But it won’t be bull redfish, smoker kings or even hog largemouth bass that might win Carter the title in Australia. It will be bream, weighed in grams rather than pounds, but the bream found Down Under are an entirely different species than what Carter spent his youth catching from farm ponds in the Upstate.
“Bream are a saltwater fish, sort of a mix between a sheepshead and a porgy,” he said. “The tournament is entirely artificial baits, but (it) will be much different than anything I’ve ever done. I’ve never even seen a bream, much less caught one.”
Fishing for Australian bream will be a challenge even for Carter, who was the 2011 IFA national kayak angle of the year, winning the IFA Kayak Tour’s national championship out of Chalmette, La., catching trout and redfish. He has been reading up on bream fishing and hopes his shallow-water and light-tackle skills honed from fishing the Lowcountry marshes will translate into success.
“We’ll all fish from identical Pro Angler boats, so it’ll be a level playing field from an equipment standpoint,” he said. “My sponsors have been awesome. St. Croix has made arrangements to deliver some custom-made rods to me when I get over there, and the folks at Z-Man have been loading me up on some 2-inch plastic baits that I can jig fish, kind of like crappie baits. I’ve also heard that under the right conditions, there can be a good topwater bite on down-sized Spooks, so I’m zeroing in on how I’ll need to be fishing.”