Kayak fishing is a fantastic way to get away from it all, to reconnect with nature and to hone a craft that could actually one day save your life. In other words, it’s the perfect tonic to 21st-century life and so it’s no wonder that it has been growing massively in popularity of late. When you kayak, the world sinks away and you can just drift out into the open water. And when you fish, you engage in an almost meditative activity that involves waiting perfectly quiet and just listening to your sense. It’s bliss. And when you get a big bite? It’s even better!
But in order to enjoy this experience to its fullest, you’re going to need a kayak. You might have started with something beginner friendly. Perhaps you opted for an inflatable fishing kayak that would be very durable and that could easily be transported around. But now you’re serious and it’s time to upgrade to some serious hardware. For many of us, that is going to mean upgrading to a hard shell kayak, or a traditional kayak as they are also known. This is a kayak that is made from a solid material that allows it to cut through the water more. It will be heavier, more rigid and thus more responsive on the water. You’ll be able to cover more ground, traverse rougher waters, and thereby be able to get out to the areas where the fish are really biting.
As you might have guessed, the Hobie Mirage Outback is just such a kayak. This stands toe-to-toe with the very best fishing kayaks on the market in terms of its premium build, its traction and its versatility. But of course, it also has a price tag to match. This is not a toy!
So with all that in mind, let’s take a look and see if this really is the ideal kayak for those that love their fishing.
In terms of design, this is a time-tested look and build.
This is a kayak that is described as ‘classic’ in terms of its design. To you and me that means somewhat by-the-numbers and perhaps not particularly stand-out. Nevertheless, though, it’s still well made and it looks sturdy and high quality.
It is very quick to maneuver, very fast and more than stable enough to be taken out on the rough ocean every once in a while. The deck has been recently redesigned and now comes with Vantage T seating which maximizes the amount of storage and standing area. You’ll also get mesh-covered storage pockets, rod holders (yes, multiple!), a cup holder, a rudder control system, utility trays and more. Like our other top picks, this is a traditional fishing kayak that has been designed specifically for that purpose. In other words, it has been designed to be used for fishing and therefore features a number of fishing centric design choices.
The boat is relatively small at 12.1” long and 33” wide. This does limit storage somewhat and means that you might at times feel a little cramped. Nevertheless, though, it also makes transport that little bit easier and means that you’ll find it much easier to turn on a dime. Conversely, though, note that longer kayaks tend to move a little faster once they hit their stride.
Other than all those fishing centric inclusions, there are a few great features here for people who want all the bells and whistles. For instance, the aforementioned multiple rod holders will make life easier and mean you can find a position that suits you.
What’s also a neat choice is the inclusion of a Lowrance ready system. This means that you can very easily add sonar, which is an awesome inclusion – especially if you’re out hunting for Nessi. This really shows the attention to detail and the general thought and care that has gone into this kayak for the fishers.
That said, what you may notice is that there is a relative lack of storage compared to some other models. While this won’t be a problem for a lot of people, it can become something of an issue if you were hoping to go out SCUBA diving, or if you had a large cool box.
One really cool feature is the MirageDrive 180. This is not a new console from SEGA, but rather a feature that makes it very easy to maneuver and turn the boat. No more getting stuck in corners – you can just spin around on the spot and be on your way in the opposite direction!
The performance here is absolutely excellent. We loved how quick and strong it felt in the water and that’s where this boat really excels. This is suitable for everything, from inshore boating (touring around large lakes) to blasting across open ocean and tearing through waves.
What we thought was really cool too was the fact that you can actually stand on this kayak. That shows just how steady it is on the water and of course it also opens up a whole host of new possibilities such as fly fishing!
- Very fast and sturdy
- Very dry for a SOK
- Useful carry handles
- Stable enough to stand on
- Suitable for all types of water
- Comfortable with adjustable and removable seats
- MirageDrive 180
- Quite small which reduces speed every so slightly
- Not a whole lot of storage space
It might not have any particular ‘extra features’ and if you’re looking for something specific like a tandem or something with pedals then you’ll need to keep looking. But if you just want a serious, no-nonsense piece of fishing hardware, then this is an excellent choice that won’t let you down.