The Town of Tecumseh will host the 2024 Hobie Fishing World Championship next June.
Founded in 2011, it’s the first time the international kayak-fishing championship tournament will venture into Canadian waters on Lake St. Clair from June 25-July 1, 2024.
“This has been a dream of mine for years,” said local angler and Hobie Fishing Worlds local support, Tim Percy.
“I’m just so excited to be able to showcase our region, our fishery and get the world to experience Canada, Tecumseh and Windsor-Essex County.”
Percy previously participated in four Hobie Fishing World Championship events in China, Louisiana, Sweden and Australia, telling CTV News there have been local efforts to land the event since 2016.
He explained, “It’s taken about seven years but it’s finally to come to fruition.”
Hobie Fishing Worlds officials made the announcement online Sunday evening, noting the 10th and 11th annual events would be combined in June due to the COVID-19 pandemic impacting previous qualifying events.
Percy said the The Hobie World Fishing Championships intends to develop strong, local relationships and return to communities on a regular basis to grow the sport of kayak fishing, noting Lake St. Clair is already an internationally renowned destination for anglers.
“All our tournaments are catch, photo and release,” Percy said. “Catch the fish, put it on a standard measuring board, take the photo and release it right away so there’s no trauma to the fish and it’s back swimming where it where it belongs.”
Fellow local angler and organizer, Rich Ofner, said the 2024 event will bring more than 50 of the world’s top kayak anglers to the shores at Lakewood Park. He said the mouth of Lake St. Clair at the Detroit River is renowned for sport fishing and Tecumseh’s unique geography provides an outstanding hosting opportunity.
“The end of June is perfect for the kayaks because the fish are closer in the shallow water. They just finished spawning, the spawn is just over so we’re fishing pretty much post spawn,” Ofner said.
“We will be starting at the Windsor Yacht Club for the opening ceremony and from then there’ll be activities throughout the week.”
Ofner added , “Lake St. Clair is also very well known to the fishing community especially bass fishing, where we’re known for one of the top lakes in North America and probably the world for smallmouth bass. Last year, the Bassmaster Elites were here also the Major League Fishing was here for an event. So it’s well known to fishermen.”
“We are really excited,” exclaimed Tecumseh Mayor Gary McNamara who said the town is thrilled to play host.
“June is not far away.”
McNamara said the multi-day tournament allows the region an opportunity to showcase its wineries, businesses and restaurants to kayak fishing enthusiasts from around the world.
“Lake St. Clair is the third best sports fishing lake in the world. Not in Ontario. Not in Canada, the world.” McNamara said. “And when you look at six continents represented here. 20 countries, 50 of the top world fisherman coming here puts Tecumseh on the map.”
“I think our residents are going to come out and be amazed of the popularity of this tournament,” McNamara said.
Officials noted Hobie has established a larger commercial footprint in Windsor-Essex with the relocation of their global headquarters to the area.
McNamara said there’s hope within the local tourism industry that Tecumseh will be included as part of the regular event rotation and that the international tournament could return every four to six years.
“We’re going to be kind of the attention of the world for some of the best bass fishing in the world,” McNmara said. “We certainly are going to do everything that we can to make this a really world class event.”