HOOKING the prize of European Kayak Fishing Championship on Saturday has landed a West Devon angler the title of European champion.
Kyle Waterhouse, who grew up in Horrabridge and is a former student of Tavistock College, fought off the challenge — in dreadful weather — from 93 other anglers on Saturday at the championship which is held every year at Oxwich Bay in Gower, Wales.
The event attracts all the top professional and amateur kayak fisherman from across the country and is the largest event of its kind in Europe. The aim is to catch as many different fish species as possible in six hours.
Kyle, aged 30, told the Times that each competitor is given a unique registration card that must be placed in a photograph next to any fish they catch. All fish are then returned and the photos and species are verified by officials including a marine biologist. In the event of a tie then the first competitor back to register their catch photos will take the higher position. These events demonstrate the angler’s skill in targeting specific species so a strong understanding of the venue, the fish that are present. along with a large mix of angling techniques to catch them all, are the keys to success.
Kyle now lives in Plymouth, where he works as a channel development manager for SM Group (Europe) Ltd, who are a large marine electronics and fishing tackle distributor in Derriford. He is also an angling journalist for Saltwater Boat Angling magazine and a brand ambassador for Garmin, Railblaza and Hobie.
He told the Times: ‘I‘ve been fishing all my life and started kayak fishing more than ten years ago. The passion and drive for new and bigger fish has taken me all around the world with a recent excursion to Panama in February this year where I landed huge cubera snapper to more than 60lb, yellow fin tuna and lots of other exotic species all from the kayak.’
He turned pro two years ago to compete against other professionals in the large kayak fishing events across the UK and has great success, having been placed in the top five of the last four events before winning the European Kayak Fishing Championships.
In a superb effort Kyle caught nine species on the day including black bream, pouting, poor cod, dogfish, flounder, tub gurnard, dab, corkwing wrasse, grey gurnard and was one of the first competitors back to register his catch with three hours still to go in the competition. No other competitor returned with more than nine species which saw him win both the pro category and the overall tournament. Prizes included a brand new top of the range kayak and fishfinder chartplotter and the title of European champion.
A delighted Kyle told the Times: ‘It is a good feeling to know to be the best in such a tough competition. I?had to go that extra mile to win, especially as I have been fourth several times before. All the competitiors get on well but we all want to win. It’s just nice to be the hero for the day!’