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Kayak angling taking over Lakewood Park in Tecumseh

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Bringing a world-class kayak fishing event to the area took about seven years.

“Over those years I keep poking, poking, and poking the bear,” said Tim Percy.

He had help from Richard Ofner, and the two were rewarded for their persistence.

They will be in a field of 55 competitors from 16 countries vying to win the Hobie Fishing World Championship during the Canada Day long weekend.

“Finally got him to come to Canada,” Percy said, referring to Steve Fields, director of fishing and events who was at Lakewood Park Wednesday for the first day of set up.

“This fishery is a top three fishery in the world at Lake St. Clair for smallmouth bass and generally worldwide, people follow people that catch fish here,” said Fields as the championship coincides with the opening of the fishing season.

“The fish have had what we call no pressure,” explained Field. “They haven't had recreational fishing guys out catching them or chasing them with lures.”

Before competition begins, kayaks have to be prepared with decals and equipment, which takes up to five hours per watercraft.

Each will be identically rigged, creating a level playing field.

“Exactly the same kit for every single angler that we have here this week,” said Chris Purnell, who is the managing director of the southeast Asian region.

Competitors will be pedaling through Lake St. Clair with the same sonar.

“It's a Lorentz product. The Elite 9FS with the triple shot transducer so the anglers will actually have the ability to rate energy not only in a downward angle but actually sideways as well,” Purnell said.

Competitors had to qualify for the worlds, which is a catch and release event. The action takes place by the beach at Lakewood Park and promises to be energetic.

“The boats take off at the launch in the morning. It’s probably the most interesting thing and a little bit of drama with the boats bouncing and guys getting a little rough and all the characters from the last event are here,” Ofner said.

Hobie officials will be assembling kayaks through the weekend.

The opening ceremony is scheduled for June 25, followed by two days of pre-fishing in order to help competitors acclimate.

The event starts early in the morning on June 28.

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