Rains had pounded us on the way to the put-in, but the fishing gods and the sun were now smiling on us as we pedaled out into the center of San Diego Bay. Hobie fishing’s Morgan Promnitz rigged us up some jerk shad soft plastics and we started looking for signs of fish.
Hobie Pro Angler 14 Specs:
Length: 13’ 8”
Vantage Seat Capacity: 350 lbs
Weight (Fitted Hull): 120.5 lbs
Weight (Fully Rigged): 145.5 lbs
Hull Construction: Rotomolded Polyethylene
Spotting working birds on the other side of the bay, we fired up the muscles in our quads and zipped across the water, throwing up a little wake behind the two kayaks. Tying on a jerkshad while pedaling to the spot, by the time we found ourselves underneath the flock of birds I was casting. It’s easy to get spoiled on hands-free fishing when you start hooking up on your second cast of the day.
At first glance you probably wouldn’t notice a difference from last year’s Pro Angler 14, but Hobie has added features that are sure to stand out as soon as you start rigging up and hit the water. For 2016, Hobie’s crazy-popular PA14 is more comfortable and more capable at delivering you to the fish than ever before.
Rigged and Ready
The most glaring difference with the updated PA14 is Hobie’s H-Rail, providing prime rigging space for anglers to attach rod holders, electronics, cameras and more, all within reach and moveable. The aluminum rail is ten-sided, allowing accessories to securely mount in any position, without slipping or rotating around as you fish.
With so many accessories available, anglers should have no problem finding the perfect combination for their rigging style and fishing needs. While I was fishing in San Diego Bay the H-Rail became my second shooter, holding cameras all around the boat. It also let me setup my rod holders and electronics in the perfect position so they were easy-to-use, without being in the way.
The best part though is that I could slide and move the accessories around when I wanted, adapting to my needs when fishing in different conditions, fly rod or fighting and landing fish. With a standard six horizontal rod holders and the H-rail, anglers should have no excuse to getting their boat rigged up exactly as they need it.
Hobie has partnered with Lowrance electronics to make the install process and simple as possible for anglers looking to rig their boat with a fishfinder or GPS. The Lowrance Ready System means the boat comes with a built-in transducer mount and has pre-installed through-hull cable plugs. Talk about easy. I watched Morgan rig up the battery and fishfinder faster than I could even put on my PFD.
Fishing In Comfort
It’s hard to compare the Pro Angler 14’s comfort level to other fishing kayaks, because it’s really in a class all it’s own. Fishing in a PA14 is like fishing in a bay boat or bass boat, but in a good way. Instead of being trapped in a little bubble of personal space, the roominess of the PA14 let me sit sideways, stand up and walk around the hull, stand backwards and turn without tipping and even sit cross-legged if I needed to center my fishing chi after losing a fish. Again.
The new Vantage ST seating system is more comfortable than ever. The lofty seat lets you sit like a big rig trucker, in for the long haul. The unlimited adjustability of the seat back, the bottom, the height and even the lumbar support means you can truly dial in the fit for you. I had the seat set so perfectly it was like the kayak was holding me aloft with its own supportive cloud.
Reliable Classic Features
Though there are mild updates to the hull design, the PA14’s hull is relatively the same as previous models. While the boat doesn’t exactly slice through the water, it is easy to go fast enough to kick up a wake, even in a headwind. As always, there is plenty of deck space along the boat for crates, dry bags and electronics. You could even fit your dog in the rear tankwell and still probably have enough room to fit a gear bag or small cooler.
Horizontal rod storage along the inside of the hull keeps rods safe while surf launching or transporting your boat and the replaceable mounting boards give you plenty of real estate for mounting your cameras.
The rectangular twist and seal hatch in front of the seat is just as handy as it’s always been for storing quick access lures, stashing your keys in a small dry bag, or keeping tools handy and organized. Another hatch in the rear tankwell lets you keep camping gear out of the way while you fish, but still easy-to-reach when you get to the campsite. The large bow hatch just swallows gear and lets you take advantage of that 600lbs max carrying capacity.
For more information about Hobie Fishing, or their updated Pro Angler 14, check out their website, HobieFishing.com.