June 8, 2009 I spied the Hobie Pro Angler for the first time last week and couldn’t help but feel it was the perfect boat for the mobile fisherman. I own a Hobie Adventure Island and I’m completely sold on Hobie’s MirageDrive as it offers the most efficient, quiet and clean motive power available. Based on a new ultra-stable platform with a capacity of over 600 pounds, a new ultra-comfortable Cool Ride seat, a massive deck with fishing-friendly nooks and replaceable mounting boards on each side to attach your fish finder, GPS, lights, or downriggers and … PERFECT!
Firstly, the boat is not based on any of the existing Hobie platforms – it is purpose built just for fishing. It shares the same lightweight yet very hardy construction of all the Hobie kayaks, which means it’s a fishing boat you can strap on the roof of a car. Weighing in fully rigged, the Pro Angler tips the scales at just 138 lbs (62.6 kg) so it’s probably lighter than another passenger in the car, and won’t pose too many problems lifting it onto the roofrack.
With the quickly retractable rudder and quick-remove MirageDrive, the Pro Angler can go anywhere, very quickly and very quietly. If you’ve never seen the MirageDrive, take a look at this video on the Hobie site. The MirageDrive is so efficient that it makes kayaking and fishing far more accessible to less active people – a very gentle pedaling motion gets you moving at a fair clip, so you can cover long distances without inducing a coronary. It allows you to pedal with your legs rather than paddle (with your arms) your kayak, and if you want to share the workload, you can do both. Just using legs alone though, you’ll easily outpace a far fitter and stronger paddler in the same rig – we’ve tried comparisons a few times and the contrast in speed is stark.
I regularly get out on the water in the morning and use my MirageDrive as an exercise bike and it’s a far more peaceful way to get your cardiovascular exercise than mountain biking. So it’s quick, quiet and because there are no petrochemicals burned in its , it won’t disqualify you from fishing anywhere.
Put the accessory Plug-in Cart underneath it and you’ll find it can also be transported long distances over rugged land by one person with no hassles. Pulling it along is made much easier because of the heavy duty, very comfortable handles on the bow and stern – I regularly pull my Adventure Island, (complete with outriggers and mast) up a 100 metre hill that’s so steep that it’s difficult to walk up and the wheels give it plenty of stability so you can concentrate solely on the pulling. These factors mean the Pro Angler can launch from almost anywhere, significantly multiplying the number of places you can easily get to.
What impressed me most though, was the carrying capacity and breadth of fishing-friendly features - protected horizontal storage for up to six rods and two additional vertical rod holders., space for 13 Plano tackle boxes, three in-hull storage compartments, plus an additional large on-deck storage area for an optional livewell or cooler.
The new fully-adjustable Cool Ride seat looks very comfortable because it gets air under your toosh, and as I was able to speak with several people who’d used, I can say the reports are very favorable.