I have been a paddler all my life. I fell in love with kayaking at an early age when my father would take me out in the ocean on our trips to the beach. Being out on the water and seeing all the wildlife made a huge impact on me and helped create life-long memories I still have today. As I grew up and was able to make trips myself, I began exploring rivers around central Texas. This is where I really started to get into kayaking. I have found myself in a variety of different kayaks over the years and have just recently had my first experience in a Hobie pedal-drive kayak.
We headed down to the coast to try and catch some redfish in the marshes near Freeport, Texas. I was going to be in a Hobie Outback with a 180 Mirage Drive. Immediately noticed the stability of the Outback and was impressed. At 250lbs+ I can be a little less stable than some smaller guys, but did not have any issues in this kayak. Even through wakes from passing barges, the Outback held up great and kept me upright.
Once we hit open water, I was able to give the Outback a go and see what kind of speed I could get. With a few quick pedals, I was up to full speed and cruising through the water. I can generally paddle hard and get my boat moving quickly, but I would never be able to get to & sustain the speeds I could get on the Mirage drive. Another thing I noticed, which I really liked compared to other pedal-drives, is the fins on the Mirage drive allow you to cut through the water better when you stop pedaling. On propellor driven drives, once you stop pedaling, the prop now creates drag in the water, bringing you to a stop more quickly. The fins on the Mirage drive allowed the boat to coast to a stop or allow me to begin pedaling again to pick my speed back up. This was a great advantage over the propellor driven systems.
In the past, I have always struggled trying to fish and steer my boat at the same time. This was a breeze on the Hobie, because I was able to keep moving while using the rudder control to steer without having to put my rod down. The Mirage drive I was using was also a 180 model which easily allowed me to switch the drive from forward to reverse. This was great if the current was pushing me into shallow water or I wanted to stay in the same spot for a few casts.
The Hobie pedal drives also allowed me to flatten the fins against the bottom of the boat by pushing one pedal forward and allowing the other to come back. Running the fins into shallow water can cause the fins to break or bend, though these ones were the new Kick-Up Fins which allow the fin to “kick-up” against the hull of the kayak if you do run into something. This is not something you would want to rely on, so when the water would get shallow there are two clips I was able to flip that would allow me to easily lift the pedal drive system out of the water and set it on the floor of the boat until we moved into deeper water. I was surprised at how easy it was to remove and replace the drive and after a few times, I could do it in 1-2 seconds with little thought.
The seat was comfortable and the dry storage compartments on the kayak really came in handy for storing equipment and camera gear. I was nervous at first about keeping my camera in those storage areas, but they stayed sealed and kept all my equipment dry.
I would highly recommend this a Hobie to anyone looking to have a better kayak for fishing or anyone wanting to be able to move quicker through the water. A stable, quick boat that could be used for a variety of different kayaking activities.
To see the full line of Hobie kayaks, visit us at https://www.austinkayak.com/subcategory/210004/Fishing-Kayaks/Hobie?utm_source=ackblog&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=blog