I was reading about the newest addition to our kayak family and pulled this description of the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler with 360 drive technology from Hobie.com:
Truly the Ultimate Fishing Machine. The 2020 Pro Angler 14 with the MirageDrive 360 and Kick-Up Fins delivers power in every direction for unprecedented maneuverability and control. Staying on top of the fish has never been easier.
I listened to the hype after it was unveiled at iCast, read statements (like above, and others) on the internet…and had even touched one at the Guntersville Hobie BOS event. During that initial physical encounter in Alabama; I poked and prodded the kayak, pulled the drive and tried to find flaws in the design, was a bit rough with the Kick-Up fins and talked with Kevin Nakada and AJ Mcwhorter about the new features. I admitted how much I liked the Arctic Blue color and walked away having convinced myself that I was content with my Orange Papaya PA 14 and the 180 drive; it is a great kayak after all…an excellent kayak.
Then I attended a Fishing for Soldiers event and was given a chance to demo the 360. I hesitated (deep inside I knew the risk), then jumped in and pedaled out into a bay filled with heavy boat traffic. I went left, then right. I ran it into water too shallow for the drive and kept pedaling. I went forward, then backward. AJ and Ben Meredith were both talking to me about it from the shore and all I remember telling them was to just leave me alone…I was sold and there was no need to try to convince me further; I was buying one.
And I did. The day Ryan Martin called and told me that he had them in stock I immediately put on shoes, drove to the Caney Fork - River store and unpacked my brand new 2020 Arctic Blue Pro Angler with the 360 drive and loaded it on my trailer.
So, after a couple of trips out….here is my take on the boat.
Staying on top of the fish has never been easier This is undoubtedly one of the most accurate statements I have seen on a site concerning a product. It takes about 5 minutes to adjust to the 360 controls before you can hold a location in wind and/or current. I pulled into an old railroad trestle bridge to test the kayak by pulling in and out of the pilings, moving sideways to get to the next opening. It takes short soft strokes to move the kayak in any direction, keeping you in the “strike” zone with an ease never before available in a kayak.
…the MirageDrive 360 and Kick-Up Fins delivers power in every direction for unprecedented maneuverability and control
Power and maneuverability are perfect words for the combination of this drive and kayak. It feels more efficient, delivering quicker acceleration in any direction than previous drives. Even running the fins over submerged tree limbs and bridge pilings didn’t drastically affect the ability of the drive to propel the kayak in the chosen direction. Steering the kayak under limbs or overhead structure, or up against the shore is no longer a potential issue with the drive. It is easy to maneuver in, under and around anything that could affect your path due to the 360 drive’s range of travel.
The Pro Angler 14 with 360 drive still has the features that made the previous model a favorite; H-rails, a 38 inch wide hull, Vantage seat, Lowrance ready (making any brand depth finder easy to install), the Hobie Guardian - a retractable transducer shield, large front hatch and a tackle management system…then there is the three year warranty. Add two new colors - Arctic Blue and Amazon Green Camo, some pretty cool markings and grip pads with “360” embossed in them…along with the new drive; there is nothing not to like about this kayak!
The description on the Hobie website of the 2020 Hobie Pro Angler with the new drive is not just “hype”, it is an accurate description of the best kayak on the market. Now…don’t take my word for it. Call Caney Fork, get in touch with a member of the Hobie team, look on Facebook for someone with a new Hobie…reach out to me (@topwatermoon) if you are close to Clarksville, Tennessee…and then demo one. It will not take you hours on the water to be convinced that this is truly the Ultimate Fishing Machine.