Winning a major kayak event and even just dreaming of it can bring a thrill to most kayak anglers. Winning three major events on the same body of water would be unfathomably exhilarating. For Eric Siddiqi, it’s another day at the office.
While most kayak anglers are entering information into spreadsheets, teaching school, working night shift as a nurse or some other vocation, Eric is out fishing a tournament or prefishing for an upcoming tournament. Even when I called him to chat about his big win at the Hobie Bass Open Series on Lake St. Clair, he was on the water in Michigan preparing for a tournament. He left traditional work a couple of years ago to pursue kayak fishing full time. So basically, I called him at work.
Siddiqi fished a tournament on Saturday previous to the Hobie BOS, did some light prefishing throughout the week but felt confident going into the Hobie Bass Open Series on Lake St. Clair, he knew where the fish were and what they wanted.
“I didn’t get in a big rush during prefishing. I slept in most days, went to my spots, caught a couple of fish and then moved off. The prefishing was crazy. Every day I’d catch one over twenty.”
I asked him about his confidence in the event as it seemed pretty high at which point he shared with me he had already won the Border City Classic last year and the KBF event earlier this year both on Lake St. Clair, not to mention a few very high finishes. The Hobie BOS win on St Clair made the third big win in about a year-long period on Lake St. Clair.
I joked with Eric that it seemed like LSC was his home field advantage (even though he hails from Cincinnati, OH). Maybe we should start calling him the “St. Clair Sniper “. He laughed it off.
Day One of the Hobie Bass Open Series on St. Clair
Day One of the tournament continued the pattern that Siddiqi found prefishing. Tubes and small swimbaits were putting fish in his Hobie Pro Angler 14 at a rapid pace. In the first 30 minutes of the tournament, he had landed 10 bass. Using a Lowrance HDS 9 Live he was targeting boulders and rock piles in seven to 10 feet of water.
I inquired about his tackle setup and it varied a little bit. For fishing reels, he uses a mixture of Lew’s and Shimano although he notes the Shimano Stradic Ci4 is the only spinning reel he uses. His rods are a mixture of St. Croix and G.Loomis. Suprisingly, his line of choice was Sunline Sniper FC fluoro in 16lb. I mentioned it to him being a lot more than I would expect and he offered, ” If they’ll hit the bigger stuff, why not use it? You can get them in a lot faster and don’t have to play them as much.” Good point.
At the end of Day One, Siddiqi had 96 inches. It wasn’t good enough for the top spot but it was close enough to feel good going into Day Two.
Day One of the Hobie Bass Open Series on St. Clair
“The wind shifted and there was a BIG mayfly hatch that was happening. With that much food in the water it was harder to get them to eat. I’d see big smallmouth rise up in a slick of mayflies, get a huge gulp of food and go back down. ”
With so much to eat, new tactics were needed. Unlike Day One, in the first 30 minutes of Day Two, Siddiqi had zero fish. At that point he picked up his tube and went to work.
I asked him for specifics and Eric came through with the details. He was using a 3/8 ounce VMC Dominator Tube hook paired with a Strike King Coffee Tube. Almost all of his fish on Day Two came from that setup.
As Day Two progressed Eric started picking up some fish and his confidence was growing. He didn’t measure a few of the smaller fish and almost threw back a 17.5 inch fish believing he would need to upgrade it anyway and he’d surely need more to win. He shot the picture anyway and it actually ended up being the smallest of his five fish for Day Two, not being able to cull it for a larger fish. The moral of the story: shoot the picture just in case.
With 92.75 inches on Day Two, Siddiqi knew he’d be near the top. He polled anglers as they came into the launch area and marked each one off in his mind as they reported numbers that would put them below his total. Before too long after the fishing period, he felt pretty good about his standing.
At the awards ceremony and weigh in, Eric Siddiqi stood between friends Matthew Scotch and Kristine Fischer to claim the title at the Hobie BOS at Lake St. Clair with an impressive 188.75 inches.
The St. Clair Sniper turned his work into another paycheck.
I asked Eric who the people were that had really helped him this year in traveling the country, fishing for a living.
“Fishing Online has been really good to me. They recently started carrying tungsten and it’s some of the best prices I’ve ever seen. I basically can get twice as much for the same price as all the others. I love to use the tungsten drop shot weights. ”
“The YakAttack Leverage Landing Net has been my go to. I love that it floats because I’d have lost it a long time ago if it didn’t. It’s perfect. ”
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“I love the HDS 9 Live. The side scan is so clear and it helped me a ton in this tournament.”