Hobie ProAngler Review E-mail
Thursday, 22 October 2009 18:02

Kayak Fishing Magazine: Hobie ProAngler Review

Hobie ProAngler Review

A few months back I got a call from the Hobie rep, Marc, asking if I would check out a new Hobie kayak, and then fill out a survey afterwards. I'm always interested in playing with new stuff if it is kayak fishing related and Hobie has continually introduced new and interesting kayaks and products to the market. The company understands kayak fishing and they have a full time employee, Vince, whose job is to keep them up with what’s happening in the kayak fishing world.  I met Marc and also joining us were Craig and Matt, from KFS, down at a nearby lake.

I’ve spent hundreds of days fishing from a variety of Hobie mirages.  First the Outback, then I added an Adventure to the fleet along with a sport.  Somewhere along the way I included an Outfitter, had an Island for a while and plan on another and regularly use a Revolution.  Pics had surfaced briefly on the Internet of the ProAngler (PA).   My initial impressions were, “What’s Hobie doing with this thing!”  My experience with Hobie is they are a smart, very successful company and they didn’t get that way by making many mistakes.  When they do make one, they fix it quickly - a first class operation.  So initial impressions aside I started checking out the features.  It’s the closest thing to a tournament bass boat in the form of a kayak I’d seen by a wide margin.  A few years back at the Hobie Dealer meeting I was told that they were getting interest from the pro bass circuit.  This is obviously one of the results.  The PA is a bit less than 14’ long with a 38” beam.  It uses a mirage drive for propulsion and it can be paddled.  This thing has lots of really cool features, way too many to list here, but they’re listed on the Hobie site, Ones that stood out is you can store six rods all rigged and ready to go and they’re completely out of the way in the gunnels - three on each side.  The PA holds 13 Plano lure boxes.  However all this is irrelevant if it needs a motor or a crane to launch it.  It’s the performance that counts.

I’m not going to replace my Revolution with one, and I don’t know if one will ever make my fleet, but I really liked the PA.  Marc told me one of the target markets was for the fisherman who had a bass boat or other boat and there were places they couldn’t access.  Spots like no motor zones or places a boat isn’t going to get into.  Another market are fishermen looking to downsize but still wanted a craft that allowed them to fish in a manner similar to what they’d been doing.  The description on the website goes into more detail.  At 88 pounds it isn’t impossible to car top but there’s going to be a lot of people who can’t use this option.  A big strong guy can and with its 600 pound capacity there’s going to be a lot of big people who will get one.  It’s perfect for a trailer.  We had it in the back of my Tundra and one person can launch at retrieve it this way too.  The front and rear handles and the recessed rudder made moving it around much easier than you’d think.

On the water I was very pleasantly surprised.  The PA performs similarly to an Outback.  The big difference is it’s bigger, with tons of storage and with that huge beam it’s very easy to stand in.  That’s going to be important for tournament style fishermen.  This means they can still pitch, sight fish bedding bass, etc.  The day I tried it the wind was blowing at least 20 mph, so I didn’t think it was going to be a fair test.  All of us were surprise at how well it did.  The kayak wasn’t any harder to propel than an Outback.  It turned well, and paddled fine too.  It’s carrying and storage capacity is sick and it was great to be able to stand easily.  I only spent a little bit of time with the PA, but again Hobie is at the forefront in new territory.  There is definitely a market for the kayak.  It fills a niche previously ignored.  I forget where I heard or read it but of the top 100 selling lures on the market at least 98 of them are for freshwater bass fishing.  It’s by far the largest fishing market there is and this is the first craft targeted at that market.  Seems like a smart move and a win win to me.  The kayak’s not only for the tournament bass angler but it’s going to be a large part of the appeal.  The Pro in the name tells you Hobie’s intensions.  Inshore gulf coast and Atlantic inshore are naturals too as is general freshwater fishing.  Also as I mentioned early, now there’s a mirage drive kayak for really big people too.  Check it out. 

 

 

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