Looking for a Fishy Kayak?

New kayaks can be peddled like a bicycle or paddled like a canoe, but one factor to look for is weight capacity and seat comfort. Forrest Fisher Photo

  • How to Choose, Many Makers
  • Things to Consider, Tackle Storage
  • Peddle or Paddle?  Sit or Stand?
New kayaks can be peddled like a bicycle or paddled like a canoe, but one factor to look for is weight capacity and seat comfort. Forrest Fisher Photo

By Forrest Fisher

There is a new wave of fishing access, waterway fun and outdoor adventure that is sweeping our young-minded nation.  The portability and capability of new kayak products are more popular and in greater demand every day.  I searched out many of the kayak lines out there and concluded that when safety and durability are a function of your interest – big water (ocean) or small water (ponds), the Hobie Company has a product that everyone should know more about before purchasing any other kayak product.

There’s never been a better time to take up kayak fishing.  Whatever your game – freshwater bass or trout, saltwater redfish on the flats, or hard-pulling, aggressive fish, like kingfish and yellowtail in the big water offshore – there’s a Hobie kayak built for the job.

Every Hobie kayak comes ready to fish from the factory, but some are more ‘fishy’ than others. The current fleet offers deck plans with space to mount rod holders and electronics, hatches big enough to stash extra tackle, and spacious above-deck cargo areas in the stern, the ideal place for an H-Crate storage system or Hobie Livewell.

The 13- to 16-foot kayak models are at home on the ocean or a large lake, where the length will help glide you safely over swells and tough choppy conditions. Hobie Photo

There are compact boats, deliberately built short. Others are long and slender, or somewhere in between. Hobie’s flagships feature the MirageDrive, an elegantly engineered and time-tested pedal drive that offers numerous advantages.  Hobie also has kayaks to paddle the old-fashioned way.  They also have portable inflatable kayaks and the family-oriented Mirage Islands and trimarans with sails that work together with the MirageDrive.

Variety is good.  There is no one boat that fits everyone or is perfect for each fishery.  Every kayak is a compromise.  The right one for you depends chiefly on two things: your body size and shape and the adventure you plan to put that kayak craft through on the water.

One thing is obvious.  Bigger people need bigger kayaks.  Whether you’re tall or a bit husky, make sure to sit in the cockpit of any kayak you’re considering.  With Hobie, try out the different Vantage seats.  All are comfortable with wide-ranging adjustability.  The ST and XT seats that outfit the Pro Angler series are larger and taller, serious fishermen like these.

Don’t forget to check the capacity of the kayak.  Take your weight, estimate your gear load and add in a few pounds for the fish you’ll catch.  It’ll help you decide whether you need a 400-pound capacity kayak like the Hobie Mirage Outback or a larger 600-pound capacity Mirage Pro Angler 14.  The latter are great for big men who think like boys (like me).

A smaller person will fit in just about any kayak.  A big boat can still be a mismatch and can be too much of a good thing.

Check out the H-Crate storage system from Hobie with the above-board seating on top of this model kayak. The angler is higher for improved visibility when searching out sand bars, shoals and bedding fish. Hobie Photo

The sturdier kayak models are longer, in the 13-16 foot range, and with these, you can feel safe and comfortable on the ocean or a large lake, where the length will help glide you safely over swells and tough choppy conditions.  The Mirage Revolution 16 is one such unit that will fill the bill for safety in tough seas.  The same boat will have a harder time of handling the sharp turns of a narrow, twisting river backwater.  So it’s a good idea to match your kayak to the intended use.

In general, shorter kayaks such as the Hobie Mirage Sport are easier to turn and pivot, but aren’t as efficient for covering long distances.  Longer boats such as the Mirage Revolution 13 hold a straighter course.  Wider boats in the Pro Angler Line feel stable and support more weight, whereas narrower boats glide with less effort.   Here, you need to decide which is best for your intended use.

Every one of the Hobie roto-molded polyethylene models comes with molded-in rod holders.  They are ready to fish straight from the factory, but if you’re a serious angler you’ll love the additional features offered in the Mirage Outback and the Pro Angler series.  There are more places to mount accessories such as rod holders and camera mounts.  The Pro Anglers add horizontal rod holders and long lengths of H-Rail for mounting even more gear.

Kayak fishing has allowed growth of anglers that are bonding to the outdoors with friends and neighbors, fishing in local and regional contests, and enjoying better quality time with their own families. Hobie Photo

If storage space or transportation is an issue, take a look at the Hobie inflatable series.  They feature rugged, PVC-vinyl construction and offer performance that rivals more rigid models.  Set up takes about10-minutes.  Each one comes with an Easy-Load Rolling Travel Bag.  Some are even light enough to bring along as checked airline baggage.

There’s a lot to consider, so put in some research before buying your next kayak,but if you want safety and reliability, my choice would be with a Hobie.  Save your pennies and put them good use for your safe and fun future on the water in your kayak.

To see a Hobie, look for a dealer near you through their on-line Dealer Finder, then drop by any other local kayak hop to take a closer look at their kayaks.  Many offer demos.  Stop by an annual fishing or outdoor show where you’re likely to see kayaks rigged for fishing and can chat with kayak fishing guides for expert advice.  If you want to feel a lot younger, do what I do and get up early to visit a kayak fishing competition – there are numerous events all around the country now.

If you choose your new kayak with some foresight, it will open a thrilling new world of fishing adventure.  Enjoy!