I had never sailed anything yet but it has been something I have yearned to do. So, for my birthday I decided to take out the Hobie Adventure Island and fulfill this lifelong goal. After only have been shown once how to rig the kayak up with the sail, akas and amas, I set out to Galveston’s West Bay. I was a little scared, but was too excited to not want to try the kayak at its full capability. So I started the day off with just the akas and amas locked into place next to the yak and the 16 foot sail strapped onto one of the sides.
My fishing buddies, each on a Hobie Pro Angler 12, and I pedaled out north against the wind in search of a good area holding reds and trout. As expected from past experience, the wind does nothing to ruin your kayaking trip when you are using Mirage Drives. We reached a nice flat to drift across so I dropped my drift chute and stood up to begin casting. The stability was unmatched due to the amas and made it easy to turn and cast in any direction. After a few hours of no bites I decided it was time to do what I set out to do, sail. The sail is so light that it isn’t an issue setting it up out in the water even with 10+ mph winds and choppy water. In a couple of minutes I was fully rigged and ready to sail.
As soon as I pulled the rope and fully extended the sail it caught the wind and the kayak lunged off at full speed. All fear was gone and I felt like a kid again. I was surprised at how much speed it picked up and even more so at how maneuverable it was. When I felt I was going too fast or simply wanted to stop, I just released the rope from the cleat and would immediately lose any propulsion due to the wind and glide to an effortless halt. Having the sail made it easy to quickly position myself anywhere I wanted to start casting then 3 seconds later have the drift chute in the water and the sail rolled up nicely thanks to the awesome pulley system on the Adventure Island. Fighting the fish on the kayak was easy until I got the slot sized red near the boat and it realized it didn’t want to be landed and took off under the kayak. My mistake was fighting the fish standing up while having the amas fully extended. I later hooked on to a flounder and fortunately had corrected the amas to be up against the kayak rather than fully out and that made landing him a lot easier. It was nice not having to paddle or pedal back to the launch point after everyone decided to call it a day. It even gave me time to fish the nearby docks and land the only keeper size fish between the three of us fishing that day, winning the competition we had going on. Birthday boy wins it!
At first I thought the sail would be bothersome for casting and fishing since I would have a rope running overhead all the way to the back, but after the full day of fishing I had no issues with it. Going back to my Hobie Outback after using the Adventure Island will be difficult. I’m getting myself a Hobie sail for the Outback to make the transition back a little more bearable.
Woody @ACK Houston