Cornish Kayak Angler – KAYAK FISHING BLOG

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One small step for Hobie, one giant leap for fishing kayak design….

Hobie are no strangers to pushing the boundaries. Surfing, Sailing, SUPs and Kayaking…. Hobie have brought huge advancements to each of these sectors and continue to be a driving force in new technology within the water sports world. So when Hobie makes a video press-release…. you tune in, and indeed i did. Back in the summer i watched intently as Morgan Promnitz took centre stage to make important new product announcements for the upcoming year. The Hobie Mirage Outback has been a best seller for Hobie for many years and as Morgan broke the news that it has undergone a complete refresh the camera panned onto what i can only describe as a next-level fishing kayak!! A new hull design, absolutely packed out with cool and useful features with almost unlimited options for accessorising and customising…. the new Outback sets the standard mighty high for others to aspire too.

Hobie are very good at listening to their customers. The guys at Hobie monitor online forums, facebook groups and listen to customer feedback so that they can tweak and advance designs to meet customer demand and expectation. All the niggles and wants from Outback owners have been answered with the new design. The result is a fishing kayak that stands out a mile from others around it. A fishing kayak where everything is just how you’d want it, with features that make a real difference when fishing. With Hobie you know you are getting a top quality build and construction too. A proper quality top-end premium fishing kayak.

That was it. I just had to have one!

Hobie Mirage Drive Kayaks

Hobie Kayaks are well known as leaders in the world of pedal-drive kayaks. They were the first to put a pedal drive in a kayak and have led the way ever since, despite recent fierce competition from other major brands. The Hobie Mirage Drive utilises side-to-side fin action in a similar way a penguin would use its wings to propel itself through the water. The user operates the Mirage Drive by stepping to and fro on pedals in the footwell of the kayak and the fins drive side-to-side beneath the kayak, propelling the kayak through the water with incredible efficiency. Over the years the system has been refined and optimised. The latest incarnation is the Mirage Drive 180 V2 which offers both ‘full-power’ forwards and reverse motion with roller-bearing ‘Glide-Technology’ for smooth pedalling action.

Mirage Drive kayaks have proven incredibly popular with kayak anglers as they offer a huge number of advantages over a traditional paddled kayak. Propelling the kayak your feet leaves your hands free to fish with. The ability to move your craft whilst holding a rod offers a number of ways to have the edge on the water. Troll a lure whilst holding the rod, hold ground in the tide, bait up or rig up whilst on the move, operate your fish finder or chart plotter whilst on the move, move whilst playing a fish, force drift baits, cut through wind with more efficiency and much, much more. Just some of the reasons why myself and many other kayak anglers are fishing from Hobie Kayaks. The latest Hobie Mirage Outback would only further the advantages that the Mirage Drive Kayak range can offer.

The all-new Hobie Mirage Outback 2019

My order was placed with Cornwall Canoes and the wait began. It can often take a little while for stock to trickle it’s way through to the European distributor and then onto UK dealers once a new product is announced by Hobie after initial demand in the US is met. The wait was worth it though….

A Hobie Mirage Outback 2019 in the Camo colour!

Lets take a look at the specs…..

Mirage Outback Specification Mirage Outback Hull Design and Construction

The Outback offers a very stable hull design. At its widest point it is 86cm and it holds a good amount of width along much of its length. Stability is an important consideration for many kayak anglers, be it newcomers who want a rock solid hull without too much risk of tipping it over, or for those wanting a platform to stand from, or to carry the combined weight of them and their gear. The Outback hull is clearly designed for comfort for a wide range of user sizes up to a maximum capacity of 425lbs / 192.78kg.

Whilst the previous Outback design also offered excellent stability this is about where the similarities end. This is a completely new hull design. The bow has been re-designed to minimise hull slap and improve efficiency through the water for a faster hull. The stern has been squared off to offer increased stability.

Looking from the side we see a very level design on the top deck with minimal rocker between the bow and end of the central keel line (just before the rudder) on the underside. Rocker is the under-hull curvature from bow to stern. Minimal rocker is not necessarily a bad thing as it maximises waterline length of the hull. A longer waterline length makes for a more efficient hull through the water, which in the real world translates to a faster kayak. I like fast. The steep bow further adds to maximising the waterline length on the hull.

The new Outback does have less bow flare than the previous version. This will likely make for a wetter ride in choppy waters, but this is the compromise for having a bow which cuts through the water more efficiently. The sides of the kayak look far less slab-like than the previous Outback. The sides are gently curved up to the top of the Hobie logo where the sides then taper into the top deck. This certainly gives it a more streamlined look, and perhaps will lead to less windage effect on the hull when it’s breezy.

The under-hull shows a tri-form shape to bring plenty of stability. A central keel bulge is flanked by two outer bulges offering plenty of volume at the side of the hull. With lots of volume in this area you get lots of primary stability – this is the stability you feel as you sit in a kayak and rock it from side to side. Well the Outback has stacks of it with a hull like this! The shallow channels between the keel and outer sections offers structural rigidity to the underside.

The whole under-hull is silky smooth so i expect it to glide well through the water. Whilst the Outback is primarily designed for stability and comfort, the hull actually looks like it will push through the water much better than it’s predecessor. I have a feeling it will be surprisingly fast for its size, and perhaps not too different from a Revolution 13 on calm waters.

The hull is constructed from high-density polyethylene which offers excellent structural rigidity, durability and resistance to warping and scratching. The build quality is just superb.

Mirage Outback 2019 Features

Now things gets really tasty! The new Outback is absolutely packed full of the latest and coolest features including:

There is a lot to take in there, so let’s take a detailed look at the whole kayak and every feature on it….

Starting at the bow we find a toggle carry handle connected to the kayak with a chrome pad eye.

Moving back we find the bow hatch, held shut with two sections of bungee cord.

The hatch hinges open and features a soft rubber seal on the hatch rim and gasket on the hatch lid. The seal-to-gasket contact will form a good waterproof seal when the hatch lid is held down with the bungees.

A Railblaza C-Tug fits comfortably in the front hatch – wheel and hull pads tucked back under the footwell, and the frame put up up towards the bow. This still leaves plenty of room for extra kit if needed.

At the bow end of the footwell there is a sail mount mast tube, with rubber cap cover. You can add the optional Hobie Sail Kit to this kayak for fun in light winds. The new Hobie Bimini sun shade also fits into this tube. Ram Mounts offer a 1 inch and 1.5 inch ball wedge mount for the mast tube, allowing various Ram accessories to be fitted at this location.

We then come to the foot well and the driving force of the kayak – the Mirage Drive 180 V2 with ARC Cranks + ST Turbo Fins.

The MD180 locks into the mirage drive well via two Click-N-Go ports.

Pull the tabs backwards and you release the drive.

The MD180 V2 comes fitted with ST Turbo Fins as standard. Turbo fins offer a longer than standard fin for greater surface area against the water. This creates more resistance and more thrust, resulting in a greater top speed but more importantly it allows for cruising speed to be maintained at a lower cadence (less pedalling!). These fins are an additional upgrade on most other Hobie Kayaks and it is good to see Hobie include these as standard with this model.

The drive utilises ‘Glide Technology’. This is where roller pin bearings are used on pivoting parts, such as the drums, sprockets and idler pulley, creating a very smooth pedalling action.

This drive features the new ARC pedal crank arms, which allow easy pedal adjustment by simply pushing a button on top of the arms. Pedal adjustment allows for users of different heights to use the kayak. The ovalised arms are an improvement on previous designs and have a tough anodised finish. A numbered scale is found on the top of the drum to set the pedals at differing distances from the seat.

The pedal pad on the Camo Outback features a Camo grip pad to match the kayak. On all other colours the pedal pad is black. The pedal pad features an adjustable pedal strap to hold your foot to the pedal. Some users don’t use the straps at all but i like them. Reflective decals feature on the back of the pedal.

The drive itself is made from many parts, all of which are replaceable should any part break. The main parts of the MD180 V2 Spine section are outlined in the image below.

The Mirage Drive 180 is named for it’s ability to switch the fins 180 degrees allowing for reverse motion without changing the way you pedal the drive. The fins are switched at the simple pull of a toggle on the drive. Two shifter-tendons protrude from the drive – Green FWD and Red REV. These can be left sticking up or tucked under a small loop of bungee cord at the bow end of the hatch as shown in the image below.

In the forwards pedalling position the fins look like this below the kayak…..

With the pedals in line (fins pointing straight down) you can smoothly pull the reverse toggle to switch the fins around 180 degrees. You can now continue pedalling as before but now the kayak will go in reverse! This is surprisingly useful even on large expanses of water.

The fins themselves have a hard plastic trailing edge with a hard plastic skeleton running beneath a flexible rubber main fin section. This allows for clean water flow off the trailing edge for a smooth action and better performance, and the tough rubber main section allows the fin to flex and provide resistance against the water resulting in thrust.

A stainless steel mast runs down the leading edge of the fins and is connected to the boom and sprockets above. As the drive is put into action the sprockets move the masts from side to side thus moving the fins. The masts are designed to bend if accidentally struck and can be accessed for removal/repair if needed. This is achieved by undoing the split ring and clevis pin holding the fin to the boom and sprocket above. The fin will then slide off the mast, where the mast can be unscrewed from the boom housing.

The fin tension can also be adjusted by loosening or tightening a bolt at the base of the masts.

Loosening the bolt extends the length of the mast and puts more tension down the leading edge of the fin. This has the result of making it harder for the fin to flex as it moves against the water, and this manifests as more resistance on the legs whilst pedalling. You get more acceleration and a higher possible top speed but it can be harder work on the legs and body! Great if you want to zip around and get a work out!

Tightening the bolt shortens the length of the mast and puts less tension down the leading edge of the fin. This has the result of making it easier for the fin to flex as it moves against the water, and this manifests as less resistance on the legs whilst pedalling. You get less acceleration and a lower possible top speed but it is much easier on the legs and body! This is great for covering longer distances without tiring.

You may notice that the sprockets are exposed beneath the hull. The Outback under-hull has been shaped to better protect the sprockets within the keel line of the kayak.

The fins can be positioned flat against the hull to better protect them when launching and landing. This is achieved by using the mirage drive retaining bungee hook in the footwell. This holds the fins firmly against the hull. Personally i like to remove the drive and lay it in the footwell for launching and landing. My drive is leashed to ensure no unexpected losses!

The bungee drive retainer runs from the front of the seat to the drive and when not in use can be hooked onto a Pad Eye XL situated on the opposite side of the kayak in front of the seat.

Moving back we reach the centre Rectangular Twist-N-Seal Hatch. It was commonplace for people to install these in the older Outback so Hobie have made this a standard fitting in the new Outback.

The hatch is orientated to be opened vertically allowing for easier opening between your legs. The hatch lid features a small hookless rubber mesh pocket for storing small essentials and even a bottle opener…. now that is a touch of class!

The hatch features a rectangular gear bucket which is the perfect size to fit the Medium 3600 size Plano Waterproof Tackle Boxes. It will comfortably fit two Medium and 1 Small Plano boxes. Perfect for easy access to your lures and terminal tackle whilst on the water! Equally it could be used for bait storage.

The hatch bucket features two back tabs to make it easy to remove the bucket. This gives full access to the inside of the hull.

Either side of the footwell there are two EVA foam standing pads. This provides a textured grippy surface for stand up fishing techniques on flat water. On the Camo edition there are Camo standing pads, and on the other colours they are brushed grey pads.

The Outback certainly has gear storage areas by the ton! At the sides of the foot well there are large recessed areas that offer multiple ways to help organise your fishing gear on the water.

Each side there is a section of H-Rail Deluxe and H-Track accessory mounting points. The new H-Rail Deluxe not only offer mounting for H-Rail accessories, the rail now has integrated track on its upper surface for mounting standard t-track accessories. On the outer edge of the kayak there is a section of H-Track which again offers a place to mount accessories using T-Track mounts such as the Railblaza TracMount, Scotty Gear Head Track Adaptor, Ram Mount Quick Release Track Bases and Yak Attack Screwballs. This is going to make mounting a fish finder and rod holders very easy!

The side areas features a bait knife slot, s scissor/tool slot and leash point.

There are two bungee gear leashes on each side – perfect for scissors, T-Bar, forceps etc. so that you know exactly where they are when you need them.

Additional tackle box retainers extend from the outer edge and secure into the H-Rail Deluxe track with a small T-toggle.

The recessed storage areas are the perfect size to fit a Large Plano Waterproof 3700 size Tackle Box.

The floor of the storage areas are raised slightly from the rest of the cockpit and have a lip to prevent tackle boxes from slipping out beneath the H-Rail. A drainage slot features at the bow end so that water doesn’t pool in the area.

The outer wall of the storage areas features a 3-way Thru Hull Wiring Plug for fish finder wiring, and a Hookless Rubber Map Pocket for even more gear storage space!

Before we move on from the cockpit/footwell i will point out two control cords. On the left hand side beside the Mirage Drive you will find a Cam Cleat with Toggle labelled ‘Rudder’. On the right hand side beside the Mirage Drive you will find another Cam Cleat but this time labelled ‘Transducer’. Releasing the Rudder cord from the cleat allows the rudder to deploy, pulling it will haul the rudder. Pulling the Transducer cord will lift the Guardian Transducer Sheild…. more on that later.

Operating these controls is very easy. Simply pull the cord to the desired position and to lock in place pull the cord into the teeth of the cleat. The teeth are on a cam and pull together as the cord tries to pull back through, locking the cord in place. To release pull the cord towards you and sideways out of the teeth and against the fairlead on top of the cleat.

Just forwards of the side accessory / storage areas we find a moulded-in flush mounted rod holder on each side of the kayak, with a black rubber cap and pinch tab to pull the cap from the rod holder. A handy spot to chuck a rod whilst dealing with a fish.

Back to the seating area. The Outback 2019 features the Vantage CTW seat – the same awesome comfort and adjustability as the previous Vantage Seat, just a little wider. The seat has a space mesh construction for good ventilation and quick drying. It is elevated off the hull so it provides a good dry seating position. Reflective decals feature on the sides of the frame.

The seat has various adjustability options. At the front edge of the seat there is a toggle labelled ‘Kickstand’. At the back of the seat there are two small kickstands which are deployed by default. Pulling the toggle as you lean forward folds the kickstands up and allows the seat to drop down for a lower seating position. The front of the seat can be raised or lowered by pulling the grey webbing loop beside the kick stand toggle. This allows you to find just the right amount of under-leg support.

Three examples of seating positions possible are shown below: a high setting, medium setting and low setting.

The seat can be reclined by pulling the grey tab on the back of the seat. There is also Boa Lumber support which tensions the lower backrest material for firmer lower back support, adjusted by turning the dial at the back of the seat. You can slacken this off by pulling the dial outwards. The kick stands can be seen in the photo below – shown resting on a raised ledge for the highest seating position. The seat is also leashed to the hull by way of a clip.

There is a fair amount of room under the seat, which could be handy for stowing a tackle box or two. I could fit a Large and Medium Plano Waterproof Tackle Box underneath quite easily.

You remove the seat by unclipping the leash and tilting the seat forwards on it’s front support bar. This releases the frame from the bar. The Vantage CTW seat has one more party trick up it’s sleeve. It can be turned into a beach/deck chair! There are 4 short legs stowed within the seat frame, which can be pushed into the 4 corners of the frame to form the chair!

Removing the seat reveals a few more features. There are two reinforced scupper holes just forwards of the seating area, which act to drain water from the seating area and add structural rigidity to the standing area.

There are two soft touch carry handles positioned at the mid-weight of the kayak. This isn’t the lightest of kayaks but if you have good upper body strength then these handles offer a good solid hold point for lifting the kayak up onto a roof rack.

In the centre there is a small black plate and a 3-Way Thru Hull Fitting. The black plate covers the scupper hole leading to the Hobie Guardian Transducer Shield. The transducer wire leads up from the transducer scupper beneath and then back into the hull through the 3-Way seal. It can then be fed out through one of the side thru-hull fittings in the cockpit to then connect to your fish finder.

Beside the seat we find a cup/bottle holder, paddle park and steering controls on both side of the kayak.

The dual-sided steering controls are very good. It doesn’t matter if you are left-handed or right-handed, or which hand you are holding your rod in, you’ll be able to grab a steering handle and operate the rudder. The steering handles sit within a scalloped-out depression in the hull.

The dual-sided paddle holder is also very useful. Again you can stow your paddle on whichever side suits.

The Outback comes equipped with a 230cm two-piece fibreglass shaft paddle. This is the right length for the width of this kayak. The paddles shaft features drip rings and reflective decals. The blades are a tough plastic construction. It would have been nice to see higher spec composite or fibre-reinforced nylon paddle blades here but then again, the paddle will be hardly used except for the first and last 100 yards of a session! A Hobie-Werner collaboration would be superb…. perhaps a future possibility?

Beside the seat we find moulded-in gear trays, a relic from the last Outback and quite useful for holding terminal tackles / weights/ lures etc. Sections of gear track, or base mounts could easily be fitted here to take tube-style rod holders or other accessories.

Onto the rear cargo area. This area is massive! There is plenty of room to take the Hobie H-Crate or Hobie Livewell with still room for more! You won’t struggle for storage space on this kayak! Criss-cross bungee cords run over the cargo area to secure down any gear held in this area. Pad Eye XL’s feature at the front and back of the cargo area – ideal for clipping a H-Crate or other storage crate too. Reinforced scupper holes are found at the front end of this area to allow water to drain out.

Gear storage areas with H-Track and bungee retainers feature at the sides of the rear cargo area. The cargo bungee is fitted to a small track mounted eyelet, which can be re-positioned by undoing the thumb screw and sliding into the desired position and re-tightened. I can see the track here being useful for mounting a camera pole or boom. Likewise having additional space beside a crate for storage will be very useful.

At the stern of the Outback we have a large flat area. The black plate at the centre is part of the rudder assembly and any re-tensioning of the rudder control lines can be done here. The plate can be removed if more demanding rudder maintenance or rudder blade removal is required.

There are 4 bolts at the very stern of the kayak. Beneath these are 4 moulded-in 1/4in-20TPI threaded inserts. These are for attachment of the PowerPole Micro Anchor accessory. I have no need for one so these bolts will stay in position for me.

At the very stern there is a good-sized H-Rail carry handle. Plenty of room here to get a two handed grip on the handle for carrying the kayak. With H-Rail used here it could also make a handy place to mount a visibility flag or light pole.

Just beneath the handle there is a screw-in drain plug.

The cargo area has one feature which is conspicuous if you don’t know what to look for. There is a screw-in cleat on the rear wall of the cargo area. This can be used to tether down a Hobie Plug-In Cart by passing the cargo bungee around the frame of the trolley and then over the cleat. This is useful for those who use these carts as usually they would be placed back into the scupper holes behind the seat for storage, but this then means the scuppers can’t be used for the Hobie Livewell. With a trolley stored at the back out of the way, it creates extra storage space behind the seat and means you can use a Livewell.

Turning the Outback over we can see the rudder blade. This is a move away from the Twist-N-Stow system used on the previous Outback and the Revo series. The system seems less complex so will be easier for maintenance. It also seems much smoother in operation. The downside here is it’s position. The under-hull design leaves it prone to damage, although when retracted it does sit above the keel line of the kayak. The blade itself is constructed from a tough composite reinforced nylon so it should stand up to a fair amount of abuse.

The rear of the keel line features a replaceable keel strip which is a nice addition.

When deployed the blade offers a good surface area in the water, and with its position being under-hull and reaching down far below the bottom of the keel line, it will certainly be more effective than the previous Twist-N-Stow design. The rudder will kick-up if struck to reduce the chance of damage should you strike an underwater object or forget to haul when coming into land.

Moving towards the bow on the under-hull we see the reinforced scupper holes. A black plastic sleeve offers sufficient reinforcement of the scuppers for use with the Hobie Plug-In Carts without risk of damaging the hull plastic. Scupper holes are often a weak point on a sit-on-top kayak and when used with through-scupper trolleys it can often lead to hull damage. Hobie offer a simple yet effective solution to resolve any potential issue with the reinforcement here.

The main feature on the under side of the Outback is the new Hobie Guardian Retractable Transducer Shield.

This feature brings a positive advancement in fishing kayak design. Fish finders are a common accessory used on fishing kayaks and many kayaks now feature moulded-in transducer scupper holes. The problem is that transducers are not all the same size and shape. Transducers differ with manufacturer and type of fish finder. Many Hobie models utilise a ‘Lowrance-Ready’ transducer scupper, which is great if you have a compatible Lowrance fish finder. Garmin, Humminbird and Raymarine transducers could be made to fit but often required custom or after-market adaptors. Side-scan fish finders presented even more problems as the transducers are large and need to sit proud of the hull.

The Hobie Guardian answers all of these problems. This is a retractable transducer mount. Larger side-scan transducers can be bolted to the outside of the shield and the whole sheild plate then retracted by pulling the transducer toggle in the footwell. This is great for launching/landing when a transducer that sits proud of the hull would be at risk of damage. The transducer can sit above the keel line of the kayak until you reach water deep enough to deploy the transducer! When deployed the shield will also kick-up incase you strike an object or forget to retract the shield when coming into land.

Standard dual-beam, CHIRP and DownScan transducers can be mounted above the plate using the attachment point and fixtures supplied with the kayak. Unscrewing the three bolts holding the sheild in place reveals a massive space beneath which will fit just about any standard transducer out there from Lowrance, Garmin, Raymarine and Humminbird. The space here measures approx. 35cm x 15cm.

The shield is not retractable by default and 6 screws must be undone to allow the shield to retract from the frame around it. You also have to tie the control line to the cord bridle on the shield. The control line is found tied to a pulley on the black plate beneath the seat. Simply untie from the pulley, and re-tie to the bridle to get it up and running.

A smaller plate within the shield can be removed and switched out for a side-scan housing which comes with the kayak.

The Outback comes with a couple of other accessories – a Mirage Drive Cassette Plug and a Load Assister.

The cassette plug is used to block off the mirage drive well for use when paddling the kayak, or for transport. It stops the air whistling across the mirage drive well when the kayak is on the roof of a vehicle. It simply plugs into the Click-N-Go ports.

The Load Assister is a new feature for Hobie. It attaches to the stern handle of the Outback and allows the kayak to be tilted onto it’s stern to make things easier when loading onto a roof rack or trailer. The block protects the rudder which otherwise would be prone to damage. The load assister features rubber grips to reduce the chance of it sliding as you lift the kayak.

The Outback is supplied with the an owners manual which contains plenty of info on use, maintenance, storage and more. Also included is a copy of the latest bible… i mean the latest Hobie Parts and Accessories catalogue! A small packet also includes scupper plugs, thru-hull rubber fittings for the fish finder installation and fixings and adaptors for the Guardian Transducer Shield.

Initial Impressions

This may be the most well-thought out fishing kayak on the market at the moment. I am as mind-blown now after going over the Outback with a fine-tooth comb as i was when i watched Morgan Promnitz introduce this new model in the press release back in the summer. Hobie have set the bar very high for fishing kayak standards going forward. This is a fishing kayak at the cutting edge of fishing kayak design and technology. The features equipped as standard here offer a complete package and it makes accessorising this kayak very easy and very simple. Fishing finder install…. easy. Rod Holder install….. easy. Camera Mounts, Pole, Booms, Flags, PowerPoles, Crates, Livewells, Motors and more…. easy. Long gone are the days of needing to scratch your head and drill numerous holes in your kayak to kit it out! The ease of accessorising is a big positive in my eyes. The cockpit layout with the H-Rail Deluxe, H-Track, side storage areas, gear leashes, tool holders and centre hatch is just about perfect. The Mirage Drive 180 has already proven it’s worth to me on my Revolution 16 – efficiency is great, durability is great, maintenance is relatively easy and having reverse is superb!

My only criticism in the feature department is the lack of moulded-in threaded inserts for anchor trolley fittings. It would have been nice to see two inserts with the same fixture separation as the Hobie Chrome Pad Eyes or Cheek Block Pulleys located either side of the bow and stern for easy anchor trolley fitting.

The hull shape screams stability whilst not completely lacking in forwards performance. The smooth under hull and relatively sharp bow should see the hull glide and cut through the surface well. It’s not going to be quite in the same league as my Revolution 16 but i bet it won’t be too dissimilar to a Revolution 13 on flat water. The Revolutions will pip the Outback in rough water though. How efficient the Outback hull is will take a few sessions in various conditions before a full assessment can be made. I look forward to finding out and have a feeling it will prove to be a very versatile kayak.

The hull is a touch heavier than i’m used too and this may make a straight lift up onto my roof rack a struggle. The load assister will be a big help here and is a nice little feature to include.

I currently use a Hobie Revolution 16 and this has suited me well for the inshore and offshore fishing i do around the coast on the UK. The Outback is a step away from my usual long and narrow fishing kayak preference – so why have i got one? Well the Outback offers many advantages that the Revolution 16 does not. It has a super stable hull design, it has stacks of deck space, it has a plethora of really useful features to make fishing comfortable. With is advantages in features and comfort, the Outback does not compare to the fast hull of the Revolution 16. They are two different beasts.

I will be using the Revolution 16 for long distance 10 mile+ trips inshore and offshore, and for when the tidal conditions or wind conditions require a fast and super efficient hull design to cut through the conditions. This kayak excels on the open sea environment.

I will use the Outback in more benign conditions inshore, fishing along the coast on calm-to-moderate days and for fishing within inlets and estuaries. It will be for the days when i’m pottering around a few miles here and there and not travelling big distances. Perfect for a spot of trolling along the inshore reefs, or a spot of anchoring in a sheltered bay or within an estuary creek. It is for those days when i’m not battling the elements and would like a touch of comfort as i bask in the sun and wait for a bite. It is more of an all-rounder that will have it’s use on both inland and coastal waters.

Two kayaks suited to two applications to cover just about all the kayak fishing i will ever be doing. I look forward to seeing where the Outback will take me and what fish may grace its deck! Rigging and first session posts to follow….

How Much?

A premium design brings a premium price. Hobie Kayaks are by no means cheap when compared to other fishing kayaks. Pedal drive kayaks tend to be more expensive than paddle kayaks but you have to expect this with the addition of a pedal system and a rudder kit fitted as standard.

The Outback is available in 5 standard colours – Ivory Dune, Papaya Orange, Hibiscus Red, Seagrass Green and Slate Blue. There is also a Camo Edition as shown in this post. The 2019 Mirage Outback in the standard colours retails at £3250.00 in the UK, with the Camo Edition retailing at a slightly higher £3400.00. The Camo Edition only differs by being Camo in colour and having Camo pedal pads and deck standing pads.

This is a lot of money for many but this is about as good as it gets for a versatile fishing kayak for all-round use on inland and coastal waters. The Mirage Drive 180 V2 with ARC cranks and ST Turbo Fins retails alone for about £1000 but it is a phenomenal piece of kit offering performance not matched by any other pedal drive system. The kayak also includes a premium seating system, paddle, rudder system, centre hatch with bucket, fish finder installation system and hardware, H-Rails, H-Track and much, much more. You can see where the cost of this kayak has come from. As standard it is a fully kitted out fishing machine! The Outback has many features which would be an optional extra on any other kayak. Everything is quality too. The plastic used in the hull, the stainless components, the fittings and fixtures… all high-quality materials and components used.

Sure, it’s a fair initial outlay but you are buying a fishing kayak that you know has been born from years and years of industry-leading product development and refinement based on research and user feedback. The result is a fishing kayak that is near-perfect from the minute you take a seat and pedal away. The Hobie Mirage Drive range is well established and much loved by kayak anglers across the globe, whether it be by those fishing shallow flats, creeks and ponds to those exploring vast lakes, river systems or inshore and offshore environments. The Hobie dealer network is extensive across the US, Europe and beyond meaning that product support is easily accessible, as are spare parts should you need to replace anything. The new Hobie Outback marks a massive step forwards in fishing kayak design and i can’t wait to take it on my kayak fishing adventures.

Where to Buy?

I purchased my Hobie Mirage Outback from Cornwall Canoes, who are one of the leading Hobie importers and retailers in the UK. They stock a great range of Hobie Kayaks as well as a vast range of Hobie Accessories and Parts and are experts in all things Hobie! You can find out more on their website here: Cornwall Canoes – Hobie Kayak UK

Any Questions?

If you have any questions about the Hobie Mirage Outback, comment below and i’ll do my best to answer them!


7/5/2019 03:46:45

Great article! Do you know how many of the 3700 waterproof boxes can fit in the H Crate?


10/5/2019 06:56:17

How do you like the outback compared to the 16? I have a pa14 and was thinking of switching to the 16 with an outrigger for more speed in the ocean. Any particular reason you switched to the outback? Thanks


12/5/2019 05:55:49

Outstanding article. Wonder how the rudder handles when landing and pulling the boat ashore. Looks like it will drag a fair bit, even in the retracted position.


26/7/2020 22:14:46

Excellent review, thank you! I can’t wait to pick up my 2020 Outback in a couple of weeks! 🙂

Tom Roush

7/3/2021 19:17:26

How thick is the kayak where the anchor trolley is typically mounted. Try to determine the length of the well nuts I will use to mount the anchor trolley hardware.

7/3/2021 21:09:03

The plastic is typically 5-6mm thick. I would go with 25mm / 1inch well nuts – Hobie use these in their Anchor Trolley kits too for this kayak.

Coach Ron

22/5/2021 21:03:18

Can we get measurement of the rear cargo deck…please.

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Liam Faisey


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Cornwall’s only specialist kayak fishing shop


March 2023



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