2013 Hobie Pro Angler 12 – Fishability & Transporting

About a month ago, I was fortunate enough to pick up a brand new Hobie Pro Angler 12 from Austin Canoe and Kayak (Burnet Rd. store). I decided to give it a very in depth review and in this section focus on how it fished. You can find what I had to say about the features of the kayak, some basic first installations and the seating system. After several trips out in the Hobie Pro Angler 12 (or PA12), I can honestly say that it is one mean fishing machine!

Hobie Mirage Drive

The Mirage Drive is an amazing piece of engineering. Being that it is completely removable and adjustable makes it unbelievably easy to adjust to fit your needs and to just use in general. Once installed, the initial adjustments only take a second. Once to your liking, you simply place your feet in the peddles and go. There really is not much of a learning curve at all.

Speed of the boat is pretty good for a kayak this wide. It is not uncommon to get up to 5mph+ though sustaining that speed over a long distance could be challenging. 3 to 4 mph seems to be a more comfortable cruising speed over a longer distance. Steering is a bit hair pin which does take a little bit of getting used to. Over compensating on the rudder control can put you sideways pretty quickly. Once you get the hang of it, it’s really a non issue though. Since the kayak is so responsive, the turning radius is very small and allows you to make adjustments very quick. It does come with a paddle that can be used to minor adjustments. I take it with me every time out but have rarely used it yet.

Standing Up in the PA 12 is simple.

Standing in the PA is a breeze. The various seat positions allow for a pretty seamless transition from sitting to standing and vice versa. Not only does being able to stand in the kayak allow you to stretch your legs, but also give you a higher vantage point for sight fishing and flipping structure. Setting the hook on a fish is also not an issue. As long as your feet are far enough apart to provide you with with the proper base, you’re good to go. Not once have I felt uneasy to off balance while standing.

I would consider the Hobie PA 12 one of (if not) the top boat for kayak tournament bass fishing. Being able to hold a position on an offshore target in deep water and have your hands free to fish can be a real difference maker. Conversely, the PA’s ability to have the fins folded up under the kayak and venture into thick reeds make it a great shallow water boat as well. This versatility allows for the PA to fit pretty much all fishing styles. If you take the amount of features that are packed into this kayak and combine them with the speed, maneuverability and stability that it has, you get one complete package that is pretty much unmatched. 

Sail Mount or Pliers Holder?

While I love my paddle kayaks and will never give them up, the Hobie Pro Angler 12 and the mirage drive has opened my eyes to a new way this tournament season. I am really looking forward to many years of tournaments and just fishing in general out of my PA12. On a side note, I did find a fishing related use for the sail/accessory mount. It is the perfect size to hold a pair of pliers. Since I throw crankbaits so much, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fumbled around looking for my pliers. This certainly puts them right in front of my face. 

PA 12 loaded onto cart.

While the PA has some weight to it, it’s really not difficult at all to move around. The rigid handles make things extremely easy. I already had a cart and so far it has been working great. When I’m ready to transport the kayak from the launch to the truck, I simply lift the bow of the boat and place it on to the cart. From there, I simply grab the handle on the back of the boat and wheel it over to the truck.

Wheeling the PA is no problem.

Once wheeled over, I simply re-position the PA on the cart so that the bow is down and then load the kayak into the bed of the truck stern first. I use ratchet straps to secure it to the tie downs in my truck bed. I add a red flag to the bow handle for transport and that’s it. If I ever find that my current cart no longer meets my needs, I would more than likely go with the “plug in” heavy duty cart that Hobie makes. It seems like it does a great job of getting the balance of the kayak in a somewhat neutral position for easy transport.

All in all I could not be happier with my decision to get into a Pro Angler 12. If you are looking for an all around great fishing platform, I would certainly take a look at the Pro Angler 12. Read more about the features of the kayak, the seat and the installations I made

In all it’s glory.

2013 Hobie Pro Angler 12 – Features

About a month ago, I was fortunate enough to pick up a brand new Hobie Pro Angler 12 from Austin Canoe and Kayak (Burnet Rd. store).  This review is done in parts and you can see the other articles where I  discuss the seating system, some basic first installations and, of course, how it fished.  Let’s start with the features:

Pivoting Tackle Management System

The Pro Angler has a large hatch with the pivoting tackle management system. This is absolutely great. The hatch is built to last and provides a space big enough to actually put a bunch of stuff in.

When you open the hatch, the tackle trays pivot up and are right there for you to access.

For me, the absolute best use of this space is to put items in the boat that I do not plan on taking out. For me, it’s terminal tackle. Things like, worm hooks, weights, swimbait hooks, carolina rigging items, shakey heads, scrounger heads, Paydirt Ball ‘n chains…etc etc.

Front Hatch

The front hatch is secured by two bungees and is pretty spacious. It is easily accessible while out on the water while sitting or standing. The white hatch liner insert is removable to allow for even more storage.

Rod Tubes

The PA comes equipped with 4 horizontal rod tubes near the front hatch. I have stored rods up to 7’6″ with very little to no overhang. My 8ft crankbait rods will fit but they stick out past the gear pockets.

Back Hatch

The back hatch is located between the seat and rudder and provides additional storage options including an oval hatch with a gear organizer. I will probably end up using this for first aid related items. Things that are always good to have but you won’t need them every time out.

Flush Mounted Rod Holders

Additionally, the PA 12 has two pre-molded flush mount rod holders near the rear hatch, one on either side. Each rod holder has it’s own rubberized cover that keeps water out (or in my case, those dang bees that think they own my garage).

Crate Compatibility

Even though the PA 12 has ample rod and tackle storage, I still wanted to be able to affix my crate to the boat. Before I had gotten the boat, I had already planned out how I was going to attach the crate. I had plans to install an extra set of pad eyes to accommodate it. When it came time, I quickly realized that there was nothing to do except to clip the bungees to the perfectly placed tie downs that already existed. Man these guys thought of everything!

 

The Seat

Rudder Control

The rudder is spring loaded and is released by pulling the rudder cord out of the cam.

Once the rudder is deployed, you have one main steering handle (pictured below on the left) and one trim control (pictured below on the right). There are interchangeable so you can put them on whichever side you prefer. Steering with either one works for me. They are very simple to use and extremely responsive.

Mirage Drive

The mirage drive is a piece of cake to install each time out. It slides into this large scupper and is secured by these locking mechanisms.

 

Handles

The PA 12 has a little bit of weight to it, but it comes equipped with two great handles. They really make it a breeze to move around. Front handle is pictured on the left and the rear handle is pictured on the right.

That’s it for the basic features. See some of the first installations I’ve made on it, including a fish finder mount and anchor trolley, here. Be sure to keep an eye out for my fish-ability review that I will be adding after a couple more outings with it! Thanks for reading.

New Hobie Island Tandem Kayak

Hobie Mirage Island Adventure Kayak

I’m a sailor.  Before my 7 year old son John was born I owned and raced a 23 foot class boat at our local yacht club.  As a pilot I appreciate the wind and its effect on a vessel.   I also like the sense of freedom  I get listening to a crisp sail crackle when the wind fills it.

So when our local rep set up two Hobie Mirage Adventure Island kayaks with Hobie MirageDrive and a sail at our 2010 Demo Day I was quick to grab a PFD and hit the water.

My cheeks hurt from smiling.  If you’ve ever driven a go-cart, you know how 30 miles an hour, three inches off the ground seems like 70!  Well, the Hobie Island Adventure gives you that same sensation.  Pick a point in the distance, trim the main sail and the acceleration is inspiring.

The only problem was there was no one there to hear my hoots and I immediately thought, “Wow, Hobie really needs a Mirage Adventure Island Tandem so the fun can be shared.  That would rock.”

Well the Hobie Mirage Island Tandem is finally here!   These beautiful 18’- 6” kayaks sit like ICBM missiles in our warehouse, big beautiful fun factories.  And so far it appears that others share my enthusiasm as the boats continue to move out the door to new happy owners.

Here is what I appreciated about the Hobie Mirage Adventure Island Kayak.

Hobie MirageDrive – Learning to dock a sailboat takes practice, navigating to the right spot and dropping the sail with enough speed to make it in not crash the beach/dock is an art.  Not so with the Hobie MirageDrive…you simply release the sail while on the water and it furls (rolls up) around the mast and you pedal your way home.

Furling sail – the ability to get the sail out of the way quickly removes much of the intimidation from learning to sail.  Too much wind?  Release the sail and enjoy the day using your muscles.

Did I say MirageDrive? – I’ve spent some long hours sitting in the afternoon doldrums waiting for enough breeze to get a sailboat back home.  Being able to cruise at 3 – 5 miles an hour under MirageDrive is really a nice backup to a breeze.

Tacking – learning to turn a sailboat takes some practice but since the Hobie Mirage Adventure Island kayaks have the drive system, a few leg pumps and even the worst tack can look graceful.

Kick-up center board – I’ve taco-ed a center board or two in shallow water before.  The Hobie centerboard solves that problem by folding up when it hits the ground.

Fun – Whether you pull the trimaran kit off, grab a paddle and go for a traditional kayak outing or fully rig it for some high speed action, the Hobie Mirage Adventure Island Single and Hobie Mirage Adventure Island Tandem are first class tickets out of life’s doldrums.