Hobie Pro Angler 360 Drive
It’s been a while since I’ve hit the marshy waters with my good ole pal who introduced me to kayak fishing. I was super excited since I was told I was going to try out the new Hobie Pro Angler 360. Normally I would ride on an Outback with a 180 drive, which I already thought was the best thing to have on the water. Having the feasibility to back into the sanding area in order to stake out and fish for a bit was amazing, so I thought.
I hopped on the new Pro Angler and I was immediately impressed with all the extra features it had, two rudder controls; one on each side, a swivel control for the 360 drive, soft foot pad on deck, a fast an easy way to drop-in and remove the 360 drive (On the Outback, you had to unhook two locks, the Pro Angler is just one), easy adjustable foot pedals, and plenty of space underneath the seat, as well as all around the deck. It also had a cool square hatch that when open, would slide out 3 tackle boxes for storage.
At first, I was like maybe the 360 drive was too much to have since I was already impressed with what the 180 drive could do, but after a few close calls with another kayaker and shallow waters I was able to avoid them really quick with just a half turn on the 360 drive. The response was immediate and effortless. After that, I was using the 360 drive for almost everything, pedaling sideways when the current was taking me elsewhere, using it to make 90 degree turns, making an emergency turn-arounds to face the waves when barges would sneak up behind me, etc. On the same note, the stability was great. On the Outback, I was able to stand on the boat and able to cast with no problem, but I felt much more secure on the Pro Angler. I had less wobble and I was able to look back and forth with no sense of losing balance on the boat.
Cons, well not much to say because there are not many. One thing I noticed is that when fishing in the marsh, there are lots of times where you need to paddle due to shallow waters which was made a bit uncomfortable due to the fact that I was hitting my paddle on the side rudder handles. So, I had to push my body forwards in order to avoid hitting the rudder controls.
Oh, almost forgot, the kick back feature on the fins was pretty cool. When I would unknowingly run into an oyster bed, the fins would kick-up and stay up until I would clear the bed and start pedaling again when they would click back down into position. This was a nice safe guard to know that you wouldn’t ruin your fins if you bumped into something, though I would always recommend keeping an extra set of fins with you in your kayak. You wouldn’t want to get stuck far away with a disabled drive.
I think overall it is a fantastic boat for both marsh and open water.