By: John W. Scafetta
DANA POINT — Adjacent to the docks of Dana Point Jet Ski & Kayak Center, just off the channel opening of the harbor, representatives from Hobie Cat Kayak and members of FishRap recently met for a day of kayak fishing.
The group ventured past Baby Beach and the seawall to put Hobie’s line of high-performance kayaks to the test.
Mirage Pro Angler 14
For the business-like fisherman, reeling in legal-sized sea bass, yellowtail, halibut and barracuda in Dana Point Harbor can be a breeze with the Mirage Pro Angler 14.
The hull, much like all of Hobie’s models, is American-made and inspected, by hand, down the road at company headquarters in Oceanside. The bulky frame of the 14, labeled the company’s bestselling kayak, allows for expanded cargo room and plenty of space to access the hull. Excelling in maneuverability and stability, the kayak effortlessly bowls through overzealous kelp bed with ease, while managing seawater swells with hardly any hiccups.
The Pro Angler 14, which is available in yellow, dune and olive colors, also offers an easy-to-reach center hatch and a fully adjustable vantage seat. Hours on the water come with comfort as little repositioning was needed during our voyage. The kayak’s seat-back, bottom, height and lumbar-support are all easily adjustable.
Stowage for multiple tackle boxes is easily accessible, and a hatch in front of the rider’s seat conceals the mesh storage. Six horizontal rod holders located behind the seat keep the tools out of harm’s way. A primary and secondary steering handle allow the boat to be maneuvered from either the port or starboard sides of the boat.
Still, the highlight here is the optional Livewell system included in the demo run. An 8-gallon, live-bait tank with a rechargeable battery allows seawater to flow, keeping live-bait fresh for several hours. The school of anchovies in our tank survived more than four hours aboard. The kayak’s mounting boards allow anglers to install fish-finders and other accessories without reconfiguring the anatomy of the hull.
Pro Angler 12
Lighter in size than the 14, the Pro Angler 12 is a versatile fishing vessel which offers similar stability and capability. The hull is also Livewell-ready and allows for plenty of storage in the stern’s generous cargo area. With a weight capacity of 500 pounds, the vessel’s ability to transport top catches landside is no problem. Other specs include: four horizontal rod holders, dual steering and a large front hatch.
Mirage Revolution 13
The Mirage Revolution 13, the latest Hobie model introduced about two years ago, is constructed on functionality and speed. A lightweight single-rider frame makes this kayak a compact 13.5 feet in length with a width of 28.5 inches. The rotomolded polyethylene hull allows a rider to cruise with minimal effort.
Paddling is carefree with the model’s two-piece oar, but if peddling is more convenient, an on-hull storage bungee locks the paddle in place. The Revo is also equipped with a large covered bow hatch, a rear cargo area with bungee tie downs for simplistic storage, a twist and stow rudder and two molded-in rod holders. Additional storage is provided with two 8 inch twist and seal hatches that include a gear bucket and two mesh-covered stowage pockets. An optional sail kit is an alternative to paddling or pedaling with Hobie’s one-of-a-kind MirageDrive. The Revo comes in Caribbean Blue, Golden Papaya, Red Hibiscus, Ivory Dune and olive. Also available is the shorter Mirage Revolution 11.
The singularly-driven Mirage Outback, noted as the flagship kayak of the Hobie fleet, excels in functionality, stability and utility to provide a pleasant day out on the water. If size is a concern with other models, the Outback’s 12 foot length is compact and the 75-pound light-weight frame makes it accessible. Cruising the turquoise-tinted seawater with the MirageDrive also allows riders to tour with ease, casting their lines out with little if any rocking motion.