Best Hobie Fishing Kayaks For 2023

Buyer’s Guide | Kayak Angler

In 1950, Hobart Alter built his first surfboard at his parents’ garage in California. It would be the beginning of a company which would go on to have a huge influence on watersports for the masses, including kayak angling. Hobie fishing kayaks have continued to be a leader in the industry for decades, pushing numerous innovations for kayak fishing.

Hobie began selling vessels in 1968 with the introduction of their sailing catamaran, the Hobie 14. Their first dedicated fishing vessel would appear in 1994 when they introduced the Hobie Float Cat, a one-person catamaran meant to be rowed. After introducing their first kayak in 1996, Hobie was responsible for a watershed moment in the history of kayak angling in 1997.

This is the year Hobie introduced the world to pedal-driven kayaks with the release of their original Hobie Mirage Drive. From there, the rest is history. The Mirage Drive allowed for hands-free kayaking, allowing anglers to cast and troll while swiftly traveling across coastal waterways and lakes.

To this day, Hobie remains a leader in kayak fishing technology, with paddler-friendly models and sophisticated angling accessories and extras. The Hobie Outback is one of the best-selling pedal-powered angling kayaks in the world. If you are an aspiring or active kayak angler who likes the idea of having your hands free for fishing action, Hobie has a proven record of delivering top-end designs.

In this article we’ll provide buying advice for the best Hobie fishing kayaks.

Top picks: Best Hobie fishing kayaks for 2023

The following Hobie fishing kayaks have received the highest star ratings by reviewers in our Kayak Angler Buyer’s Guide. See and review all Hobie fishing kayaks here.

Best Hobie Fishing Kayaks

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Kayaks: Mirage Pro Angler 12 by Hobie - Image 2691
Hobie

Mirage Pro Angler 12

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Hobie

Mirage iTrek 11

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Kayaks: Mirage Revolution 11 by Hobie - Image 2672
Hobie

Mirage Revolution 11

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Kayaks: Mirage Pro Angler 14 by Hobie - Image 2690
Hobie

Mirage Pro Angler 14

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Hobie

Mirage iTrek 14 Duo

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Hobie

Mirage Oasis

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Kayaks: Mirage Tandem Island by Hobie - Image 2613
Hobie

Mirage Tandem Island

Shop Hobie fishing kayaks

The Kayak Angler Buyer’s Guide is a resource for information on every fishing kayak available on the market, including every Hobie fishing kayak. Each Hobie kayak model in the guide includes reviews, specifications, prices and places where you can buy Hobie fishing kayaks.

We’ve gone a step further and filtered Hobie fishing kayaks by type and popular retailers so you can hone your results in the buyer’s guide to find the best fishing kayak for you.


Shopping for a used Hobie fishing kayak?

Think of Hobie fishing kayaks as a lasting investment. Beyond mere durability, Hobie designs their kayaks to have the staying power to remain current and relevant models. You’ll notice the Hobie lineup retains models for years, with only slight tweaks of improvement.

The fact a kayak model can be on the market for years and warrant a retail tag in the thousands of dollars makes a statement for the value of these kayaks. This also means finding a used Hobie fishing kayak on Craigslist  or another marketplace may be a great way to score a discount on a kayak that retains its value. Before committing to a purchase, here are a few things worth considering while finding a used Hobie fishing kayak.

Know which kind of Mirage Drive you are purchasing

In recent years, the Hobie Mirage Drive has evolved substantially from the first pedal drive released in 1997. The newest drive, the Mirage Drive 360 released in 2019, can pivot 360 degrees. This allows the angler to back up or turn with the use of the pedal drive. There is also the Mirage Drive 180 which goes forward and reverse.

Going back to the older drives, they have the same big fins to cover ground in straight lines too, but they only go one direction. This means you’ll have to use a paddle to back off of banks or submerged features.

When buying an old Hobie you’ll want to know what your expectations should be for upgrading a $700+ pedal drive. Short answer, you will be able to add in the Mirage Drive 180. However, kayaks produced prior to the 2019 Mirage Drive 360 launch will not be able to accept the 360. Still, the 180 and other Hobie drives have been exceptional for years.

Check the state of the Mirage Drive

When purchasing a Hobie fishing kayak, remember that the Mirage Drive is the marquee piece of technology selling these kayaks. You want to know the Mirage Drive of the used kayak is in working order. Even if the drive is busted, though, it’s not necessarily a lost cause, especially if you are handy. One of the greatest aspects of the Mirage Drives is that they are serviceable. Hobie sells replacement parts, so either you or a Hobie dealer can likely repair the issue with the drive. Instead of walking away, negotiate a price reflecting expected costs for repairs.

Check for leaks

Almost every Hobie model is a rotomolded polyethylene kayak. This construction is durable and can withstand years of use, but they are not indestructible. Plenty of Hobie owners have seen leaks develop.

Some of the areas most prone to leaking include the well where the Mirage Drive inserts. The torquing of the Mirage Drive as you pedal can flex the area around the drive and develop a crack in the kayak.

Another spot a rotomolded kayak can develop a leak is within a scupper. These drain holes in the kayak can have pressure placed on them from weight, storage, etc.

If you can’t get the kayak to a body of water to check for leaks, another way would be to place it on sawhorses or two sturdy chairs, and stick a garden hose inside the kayak. Slowly fill with water and see if and where any water starts to seep out.

Another helpful part of buying a used Hobie kayak is the community that has developed with their long-standing popularity. The Hobie message board is a great resource to read up on all the different quirks users have had experience with over the years.

For more tips on what to look for when selecting a used fishing kayak, read our article How To Buy A Used Fishing Kayak.

Hobie fishing kayak buying advice

Deciding on a Hobie fishing kayak can be a tough choice. You want the right kayak for the waters you’ll be angling to have the best fishing outing possible. It’s tough to go wrong, no matter which Hobie model you choose, but here is a rundown to help you buy a Hobie fishing kayak.

To start, every Hobie fishing kayak is a pedal drive kayak. Depending on which model you purchase you will either have the Mirage Drive GT, The Mirage Drive 180 or the Mirage Drive 360.

The Mirage Drive GT provides forward propulsion only but is an improvement upon the original Mirage Drive. The GT stands for glide technology and reflects the fact that Hobie added roller bearings to friction points in the moving drive to provide smoother, lower-friction operation.

The Mirage Drive 180 has the same new bearings, and is Hobie’s first foray into drives that go forward or reverse. The ability to back up is extremely helpful to quickly move away from shallow features or a bank the wind is blowing you against while you try to drift a bait rig.

Released in 2019, the Mirage Drive 360 is the newest evolution in the Mirage Drive series. The Mirage 360 allows the pedal drive to travel in any direction. A 360-degree pedal drive acts as both propulsion and rudder while kayak angling.

All three of these Mirage Drives now include Hobie’s Kick-Up Fins. Although Hobie’s propulsion fins have always been tough, the Kick-Up Fins save your pedal drive from abuse by allowing the foot-long fins to kick out backwards upon impact with hard underwater obstacles.

Every fishing kayak in the Hobie lineup is a sit-on-top kayak. Sit-on-top kayaks are kayaks in which the paddler is seated on the deck of the kayak, and not enclosed within a kayak cockpit. Paddlers sit on a seating area that’s molded into the deck of the kayak, or on an elevated folding seat on top of the deck.

Outback

The Hobie Outback is one of the top-selling pedal drive fishing kayaks in the world. The 12.5-foot fishing kayak is a versatile, single-quiver kayak capable of chasing big game on the ocean or sliding through weeds tucked away on a freshwater lake.

The Outback is full of handy features, including a bow hatch and accessory rails. The Outback has a stable, 34-inch-wide hull, with a tapered bow for cutting through waves. The Outback is equipped with the Mirage Drive 180.

Pro Angler

The Hobie Pro Angler series contains Hobie’s most fully equipped fishing kayaks, their self-described “ultimate fishing machines.” The Pro Angler is available in both a 12-foot and 14-foot model. The Pro Angler has what you would call a pontoon-style hull, providing a stable platform for standing casts.

At 38 inches wide, the Pro Angler 14 is one wide and stable kayak. The Pro Angler includes multiple hatches and rails for mounting accessories and is available with either the Mirage Drive 180 or 360.

Mirage Revolution

The Hobie Mirage Revolution 11 and 13 have an elongated, rounded hull, which makes it efficient for traveling longer distances on open water. The Revolution is at home rolling through ocean swells and making beach landings. The Revolution currently comes with the Mirage Drive 180.

Mirage Passport

For those seeking a more affordable Hobie fishing kayak, Hobie now includes the Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5 and 12. The Passports incorporate Hobie technology and a Hobie Mirage GT pedal drive with a lower-cost hull.

The Passport hull is produced from thermoformed polyethylene. Rather than the common construction of rotomolding, thermoformed plastic is heated in seperate sheets for the deck and hull. These sheets are laid over a mold to take shape, then joined together with a seam. In addition to being thermoformed, the Passport cuts costs with less outfitting and accessories. It has just one hatch, instead providing most storage under deck bungees but does feature two small accessory tracks on the deck.

Compass, Compass Duo & Oasis

Hobie also has a toned-down version of the Outback in the Hobie Compass. The brand also produces tandem fishing kayaks such as the Compass Duo and Oasis.

iTrek

Beyond hardshell plastic kayaks, kayak anglers have other options with the Hobie brand as well.

The iTrek series contains Hobie’s inflatable kayaks that can be used for fishing. These kayaks are not angler-centric in their design and can be used by a general paddling audience. For anglers though, the iTrek series does provide a drop-stitch construction capable of high pressure rigidity, for a performance feel in an inflatable.

The iTreks also feature Mirage Dive GT pedal drives, and the flat SUP-like platform means you can strap a milk crate on the back with all your fishing tackle and be rigged and ready to fish. These inflatables make a great lightweight, fold-up kayak solution for anglers. The smallest iTrek, the iTrek 9, weighs just 37 pounds.

Mirage Lynx

Hobie is also releasing other platform-style fishing kayaks to provide an ultralight performance experience, including the Mirage Lynx. The Lynx is a foam core kayak, with construction similar to that of a surfboard. The foam core is then wrapped with composite materials and given a thermoformed plastic outer shell. This makes the Lynx a buoyant, performance-oriented kayak with a small profile that weighs just 63 pounds.

The Hobie lineup is deep. The best way to know which Hobie fishing kayak will be the best to buy will be through a visit to your local kayak fishing retailer where you can look over and demo various models. Your retailer will also be able to walk you through various features on each model, and discuss the waterways where you plan to use your Hobie.

Have more questions about Hobie Fishing Kayaks? There’s a lot to cover. Here are some of the most common questions people have before they buy a Hobie fishing kayak.

  • How much are Hobie fishing kayaks?

    Hobie fishing kayak price varies depending on the model. Expect to pay between $1,500 to nearly $6,000 USD to buy Hobie fishing kayaks new.

    There are over 300 Hobie kayak dealers. Hobie fishing kayaks can be found at paddling stores throughout North America. Use Hobie’s dealer locator to find the closest Hobie Fishing kayak dealer to you.

  • Best Hobie kayak for ocean fishing

    Hobie is still based on the Southern California coast and many of their kayaks are great on the ocean. Two of the best Hobie fishing kayaks for the ocean are the Hobie Outback and the Mirage Revolution 13.

    The Outback is Hobie’s top-selling fishing kayak. It’s a 12-foot do-it-all kayak that has proven itself capable of making surf landings and paddling offshore.

    The Mirage Revolution is a 13-foot kayak at home on rolling swells in the ocean. The Revolution travels efficiently, thanks to an elongated and narrow hull that resembles a touring kayak shape.

  • Best Hobie kayak for offshore fishing

    The best Hobie kayak for offshore fishing is the Hobie Mirage Revolution 13. The Revolution has an elongated, narrow hull which rounds as it transitions from the bottom to the sides. This kayak hull is similar to a touring kayak, rather than a shorter, wider recreational kayak. This provides the Revolution hull with impressive gliding ability to travel across open water and ride over swells found offshore.

  • Cheapest Hobie fishing kayak

    The cheapest Hobie fishing kayak is the Hobie Mirage Passport 10.5 which currently retails for $1,649 USD. The Passport 10.5 is constructed from less expensive thermoformed polyethylene to provide an economical fishing kayak that still includes Hobie design concepts and their Mirage Drive GT pedal drive system.

  • Lightest Hobie fishing kayak

    The lightest Hobie fishing kayak is technically the inflatable iTrek 9 ultralight which weighs just 37 pounds fully rigged. The iTrek 9, though, is an inflatable and requires the addition of rigging for fishing.

    The lightest hardshell fishing kayak in the Hobie fleet is the Hobie Mirage Lynx. The Mirage Lynx weighs 63 pounds and has a sandwiched construction featuring an EPS foam core, composite layers and a thermoformed plastic outer skin for durability.

Compare Hobie fishing kayaks

  • Hobie vs Native fishing kayaks

    Native Watercraft is a fishing kayak brand often compared to Hobie. Both brands make popular fishing kayaks designed with wide stable hulls.

    Native Watercraft’s flagship models, the Slayer and Titan are both pedal drive kayaks comparable to the Hobie Pro Angler or Outback. The Native boats cost less than either of these Hobie Models though. All are fully featured fishing kayaks which are stable enough from which to make standing casts. Personal preference and waterways aside, one of the largest differences between these two brands is found between their pedal drives.

    Hobie has their reputed Mirage Drive system with large flipper style fins, which work in a similar motion as skin divers would when kicking their way through the water.

    Native Watercraft has the Propel pedal drive, which has a bicycle pedal motion to rotate a propeller like you would find on an outboard motor. Both the bicycle-style pedaling motion and the spinning propeller are intuitive and familiar for most people.

    A great advantage to Native’s Propel drive is a hands free forward-reverse system. When a paddler wants to hold position, or back off of an obstacle, they simply pedal backwards and get an immediate reverse response.

    This is in contrast with Hobie’s Drives which range from having no reverse motion, to having directionals controlled by hand.

    The downside to spinning propellers are known to boaters. Fishing line, weeds and rope are just a few items which can be tangled in a propeller.

    If you are about to hit shallows or a submerged feature the propeller also has to be lifted. The Hobie fins can lay out nearly flat against the hull. The Kick-Up fins can also fold back when striking an object. This lets the Mirage fins slide over most trouble spots.

    From an efficiency point of view, most kayak anglers are happy with either drive system.

Hobie fishing kayak reviews

How does a Hobie Pro Angler perform on the water? What modifications are popular for the Hobie Mirages? In our expert reviews, we’ve answered these questions and more. These kayak reviews also include specifications, price and places where each model of Hobie kayak is available.

 

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