Team USA (plus one Canadian) is headed to Australia for a world-class kayak fishing throw-down against 15 other national teams. Several on the US / Canadian fish-hunting squad are proven winners, boasting tournament honors from across North America. Hobie’s Fishing World Championship will be contested Down Under this year from October 30 through November 3, over a little gamester the home-standing Aussies call bream. Let’s get to know some of the US / Canadian team. -KF
Meet Team USA’s Mark DeLaRosa (Plus One Canadian)
US Marine and Hobie Fishing Worlds Freshwater Threat
As Told To Paul Lebowitz
My handle is Bullet Catcher. But you can call me Cool D-Rosa or just plain Mark.
I fished the Kayak Wars Freshwater Division to qualify. Talk about two months of nonstop fishing. It was down-right brutal at times. Just when you thought you had the lead another angler would post his catch and send me into a frenzy. I was literally fishing three times a day to maintain my lead. I’d wake up at 3 a.m. and fish for about three hours before work. Then during my lunch break I’d hit it again for two hours. And after work I was on the water from about 5 to 10 p.m.
The month of May was very productive with the tail end of the spawn in full swing. I didn’t start running into trouble until the heat of June. It was as if the fish were no longer willing to play. I found myself fishing on days that I would normally stay indoors. I turtled my PA 12 once and lost a twelve-year-old rod and reel combo that had all the mojo in the world. Poor little fella, never saw it coming. May you rest in peace on the soft muddy bottom.
At the conclusion of the qualifier I had logged 226 keepers for points. The majority of my catch was crappie and then catfish. I also caught a decent number of largemouth bass and one of them ended up being my personal best at 8 pounds and 24 inches with a 21-inch girth.
Words can’t describe how it feels for me to be going to Australia. I look at it as one of those lifetime opportunities that rarely come around. When I have a full head of gray and I’m fishing with my grandkids, it’s going to be that story of the black bream great white that grandpa never stops telling.
A bream is something that I like to refer to as a tasty treat from the sunfish family. But the Aussies I’m sure would beg to differ. I kinda think of it as a crappie in size and a largemouth on steroids for muscle. After doing a lot of reading on their forums, I’ve decided to put away all my bass gear and tackle. To switch over to ultra light and light action gear. I have a YouTube video of landing a 17-pound catfish on an ultra light. But I do think I’ve been ruined with 6- and 8-pound Power Pro. Going to 4-pound fluoro is going to be tough on my confidence.
What will it take to win or be competitive? A few sticks of dynamite, some duct tape and a willing guppy! In all seriousness though, I think just going out there with an expectation to have fun and make new friends is a winning combination in my book. The championship would be icing on the cake!
Hobie’s worldy anglers will compete in identically rigged Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 14’s outfitted with Lowrance electronics, Ram Mounting Systems and Power-Pole micro-anchors. Live weigh-ins will take place on each of the three days of competition with anglers weighing three fish per day. Follow the action on the web at Hobiefishingworlds.com.