Interview: Daiwa Hobie Kayak Series AOY Champ Greg Lewis

In this interview, I talk in depth with Daiwa Hobie Kayak Series AOY Champ Greg Lewis about his dream season. Ya’lls talk kinda funny. Where you from?

Yes I guess we should clear that up straight away – I was born in Scotland, lived there for 10 years then moved down to England to a place called Tunbridge Wells, which is in the South East of the UK, and grew up there.

I came out here in 2002 to take a year out and have a bit of an adventure – which was to do a lap of Australia by bicycle (which incidentally I completed – but that’s another story altogether). I ended up deciding to settle in Australia and became a permanent resident in 2003 . I now live near Ullladulla on the South Coast. I understand you work for Hobie. What is your position there?

Very proud to work for Hobie too. My main official role is a Sales rep for the company, however I also am involved with running the Kayak Fishing Series, and also spend time assisting other areas when required. It’s a great job – I’m very lucky to be working there. Having your job intrinsically linked to my passion of fishing is a real bonus. What kind of Hobie do you fish out of and whats the setup like?

I predominantly fish from the Hobie Pro Angler, and have done since they were first released in Australia a couple of years ago. It is in my opinion pretty much the ultimate fishing platform in the kayak world – and I’ve had that opinion since before I worked for the company!

I’ve not really modified, or ‘pimped’ as us yakkers call it, the kayak too much at all. I’ve fitted an anchor trolley system to the right hand side, and off this I regularly use the Hobie Drift Shute or Hobie Stakeout Pole – two items I never leave the shoreline without.

I have also fitted four aluminium RAM Tubes to the gunnels of the yak. Although the Pro Angler has ample horizontal rod storage by means of the Rod Tubes, I like to have my various set ups immediately to hand. It sounds a bit silly when you write it down like this, but, and I’m sure others will know what I’m talking about when I say it is very easy to be considering changing your tactic, for example from a Soft Plastic to a Hardbody, but easily find yourself falling into the ‘Just one more cast’ trap. I like to have all my gear right there and immediately to hand so I don’t procrastinate. As soon as I commit to a change in tactic, I do it.

I am running Lowrance HDS5 with LSS1, and reckon that to be the best sounder I’ve ever used – it has certainly helped me enormously during this season. Such an advanced bit of kit and very easy to use. It’s also actually the first sounder/GPS combo I’ve used. In the past I always had separate units, but I love the convenience of everything there on one screen.

The other main accessory is of course the Hobie Livewell. What got you started Bream fishing? How long have you been doing it and was there anyone influential in your learning?

It’s a bit of a funny one that. Brand new to the country and living in a house on the bank of Burrill Lake naturally meant I spent a lot of time out on the water learning how to catch Australian species. Obviously the humble dusky flathead was what I spent most of the time catching on SP’s – big jig heads, 100mm lures. I was happy doing that for the first few years I was out here. But I never, ever seemed to catch any bream – and that started to really bug me, especially when I saw big bream on the cover of fishing mags, with the same lures I was using hanging out of their mouths. I couldn’t work out why I wasn’t catching them, so it then became a mission to work the buggers out. My first sp caught bream actually came about 6 years ago on a 2” Pumpkinseed Powergrub on 2lb mono straight through. It was about 20cm to the tip haha – but it was the first one and things gradually progressed from there. It’s been a very steep learning curve since then, and I’ve learnt a hell of a lot – although when I speak to other guys on the tournament circuit I really feel that I’ve only scratched the surface of what there is to learn.

I’ve met a lot of great guys over the last few years who have certainly been key to my learning and subsequent success. Guys like Gary Cooke, Stewie Dunn, Jason Meech and Jordan Trusty are 4 guys who immediately spring to mind – all great anglers who have definitely helped me in one way or another. There are many others though. Thats the great thing about tournament fishing – you get to talk to lots of different people and there is a lot of learning to be done.

However two other guys have really been instrumental to me. Firstly, Ian Miller. You simply couldn’t have asked for a better bloke to have shown so much faith in me in the early days. He needs absolutely no introduction – he’s right up there as one of the fishing ‘greats’ – you name it, he’s been there and caught it, and his vast knowledge of fishing in general, not just comp fishing, is simply staggering. Every time he tells me stuff, I make sure I listen and do my best to remember it too! On top of that, to have him building my rods for me is just the best. I am very proud to be associated with him – and on top of that, he’s a top bloke and a lot of fun to fish with.

Secondly, Steve Morgan. He’s been a massive influence too. His straight forward approach to bream is something that really forms the basis of how I fish too. Just being confident in what you know works, and where and when it will work is key. He’s always been really helpful and open, and I am very grateful to him. He actually gave me my first Atomic Hardz in Ghost Gill Brown, and also my first Tiemco Stick Minnow too – and well, the rest is history! I’ve not actually fished with him yet though – hopefully I’ll get to do that one day. I’ve heard you have not fished socially at all this year. What’s the deal with that?

Well, I have actually been out on a social fish two or three times this year, but yes, it’s true, my time on the water this year has pretty much been entirely during comps. It has sucked enormously, but I’ve not really had a choice! I made the mistake of buying a house that I have basically been renovating from the ground up, and that has taken up a great deal of my time at the weekends – well all of it to be honest!

Having said that though, I’m not complaining at all. I’ve competed in all but one round of the Daiwa/Hobie ABT series this year, so if you add up all those comp days, plus a day of pre-fishing, then I’ve still had plenty of day’s out on the water.

I am looking forward to just going for a quiet flick in one of my local waterways by myself though – it’s been a while. You’ve had a pretty amazing year this year. ABT changed the format for the AOY chase to be the points from your best five results added together and you’ve won six events. Somebody might have been a bit dirty you won in a smallish field in WA but then you come back and blitz St Georges Basin to put the exclamation point on it. What do you put this amazing year down to? What’s the secret?

To be honest with you, I gave up trying to work this season out ages ago. It’s just been off the chart for me. I’ve had the best results I could have hoped for, and have thoroughly enjoyed the whole series.

I’ve really been a lot more relaxed during this series. I had some pretty heavy personal issues to deal with this year, so when I was away at a comp I really tried to just to focus on enjoying my fishing and the social side of the comps. I’ve still fished hard, paid attention to how I approach each venue, and made sure that all my gear is up to scratch, but when I’ve been out on the water with an empty livewell, I’ve really not stressed too much about it. Keeping relaxed, yet focused on what I’m doing has been a real key to how I’ve fished this year.

Sure the field in WA was less than some of the other rounds, but to me that makes no difference – you’ve still got to find the biggest fish to win a comp, and when you’re up against a field of locals, which include some pretty well respected bream anglers, you’ve still got to come up with the goods. It doesn’t matter if there’s 15 or 50 guys in the round, at the end of the day it’s all about finding the thumpers, and I have been fortunate enough to do just that 6 times this season. What was the highlight of your season?

Geez, thats a tough one, I guess you could say I’ve had 6 highlights this season! Certainly the win at Marlo was a standout simply due to the size of the bag I pulled (just shy of 8kg for 6 fish), the size of the field, and indeed the quality of the field. The Victorian bream anglers are pretty fanatical and certainly tough to beat in one of their favourite venues, so that one was particularly sweet. (Editors note: Ah, yeah. Greg was so “relaxed” about this event that on day 2 he was still asleep at 7am when the rest of the field started and turned up about ten minutes later. Even with 20 mins less than the rest of the field, when I put the bag on the scales I did a double take and thought “that can’t be right”. I re-tared the scales and the same 4+kg came up)

As was Redcliffe – another big field, and again made up of some highly respected anglers who know that venue very well – with the likes of Tristan Taylor, Grayson Fong, Will Lee, Nick Meredith all competing in that round, I remember saying that I would be stoked to place in the top 5 in that round. To get that win, especially with having to pull in the big lead that Tristo had on Day 1 was an absolute buzz. That result also assured me the AOY for the 3rd year in a row, and with maximum points for the season, it couldn’t get better than that.

The win at Narrabeen put to bed the demons of last year, where I ended up stuffing around with a jewie in the 50-70lb range for six and a half hours on 3lb….

Finally St Georges Basin – well, that was just silly. Three wins in a row – when does that happen? Crazy times, which also meant I’d made a clean sweep of the New South Wales, Queensland and Victorian, and WA State Titles. Are you feeling any pressure going into the Grand Final?

Nope, no pressure at all. I’ve not, and never will go into a comp expecting to do well. Sure, I always hope I’ll end up in the top 10, but I never expect to place anywhere in particular. You can’t – its fishing after all. There’s lots you can do to improve your chances of catching fish, but at the end of the day you can’t guarantee it will be the big fish that smash your lure. I just head out as always, ready to have a crack at the bream in the best ways I know how, and if I manage to find the big ones then its all good. If I don’t, then of course it’ll be disappointing – but I will have learnt a little bit more. All I ever want from myself is to bring a full bag to the weighmaster after each session.

The Grand Final is going to be an awesome event – I’m totally pumped for it. Its going to be a big field, 60 of the best placed anglers for this year, and there is going to be a lot of experience amongst those guys. Some guys will already know Port Maquarie, others (like myself) will be seeing it for the first time during the prefish. Whatever happens, we are all going to be out there looking for the 6 biggest bream we can find, and I wish everyone the very best of luck in the event. Thanks so much for your time Greg and good luck making it a “clean sweep” at the Grand Final.

8 responses to “Interview: Daiwa Hobie Kayak Series AOY Champ Greg Lewis

  1. Pingback: Interview: Daiwa Hobie Kayak Series AOY Champ Greg Lewis |·

  2. Greg, You’re my kayak fishing hero. I want to be just like you some day. I fish for Largemouth Bass from an Ocean Kayak Scrambler XT Angler Edition. I love it. But, I’ve never been in a Hobie like yours. I will dream of maybe winning one some day in a tournament. Keep up the good work. We’re all watching, more than you realize, I sure.

  3. Great interview of one of the nicest guys I know. Greg and I used to chase Carp, Perch and anything else we could coax out of our local lakes in the UK in our teens. Back then he was the guy who always managed to land great fish whn all I could muster was the odd minnow! Great to see him doing so well, and modest as ever. Good luck in the finals Lewis, your mates back home wish you well! TF

  4. Thats a great read. I have done 3 rounds now and greg and all the other guys are very easy to talk to and don’t mind offering advice.

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