Since 2001, Hobie’s Mirage Outback has been a fishing mainstay. Its bassing roots grow deep, with first Hank Parker and now Michael Iaconelli endorsing this pedal drive kayak powered by the time-tested MirageDrive. Well, there’s big news. For 2019, Hobie has completely redesigned its legendary fishing kayak, aiming to improve it in every way.
Hobie gave Bassmaster an unprecedented early look at the kayak launched at the 2018 Paddlesports Retailer Trade Show, and there’s a tremendous amount to like after our two-day test fish. For one, this is an all-new hull from bow to stern, one that’s stealthy and silent due to the redesigned nose. The now 12-foot, 9-inch hull is longer too, improving top speed, and there’s a kick-up rudder nestled under the squared-off stern reminiscent of the company’s popular Pro Angler series fishing boats. It offers dual helm control and feels more responsive and maneuverable than the prior model Outback. This new edition comes standard with a reversing MirageDrive 180 pedal drive outfitted with powerful Turbo Fins for enhanced performance. Importantly, the new Outback hull is as confidently stable as the prior model.
How does the Mirage Outback fish you might be wondering? The ergonomics here are second to none, with a vastly improved cockpit flanked by lengths of H-Rail Deluxe. H-Rail is Hobie’s 12-sided accessory mounting system, and here it features a built-in mounting track on top and another track on the gunwale. It’s the perfect place to mount a fishfinder or rod holder, either horizontal or vertical. In a stroke of genius, Hobie equipped the H-Rail Deluxe with Bungee tool tethers, two to a side, and a slot for a waterproof Plano 377 tackle flat, complete with tie-downs.
There’s a new cockpit hatch with a gear bucket, oriented lengthwise, for even more tackle and gear storage. It is flanked by EVA standing pads that are flush with the hatch, making for stable footing.
The seat is new too, a wider refinement of Hobie’s excellent multi-height Vantage seating system. It defaults to the “high” position, where there’s room to stash two more tackle flats. In all, an angler can have four of them right there in the cockpit, one on each side and two under the seat, all accessible without the need to turn around.
There’s much more to like. The new Outback comes with Hobie’s Lowrance Ready System which makes fishfinder installation a cinch, and now it boasts the new Hobie Guardian retractable transducer mount, just the thing to protect an angler’s investment in high-end sonar. There are dual snagless mesh storage pockets. A large hatch sits up on the bow. The cargo area is expansive and includes more accessory mounting track and secured tackle storage. Hobie added a new pair of scuppers to the ‘yak, enabling the use of an accessory plug-in cart while a bait tank is installed in the rear. And in pure Outback style, there are four molded in rod holders, two up front and two aft, plus gunwale storage cut-outs perfect for “used” baits, as well as a couple of cup holders and dual Bungee paddle clips.
This is undeniably an Outback worthy of its proud name. Even at a quick glance, it is apparent Hobie’s designers achieved their goals. The all-new 2019 edition is a leap ahead, a vast improvement over the prior model.
Length: 12 feet, 9 inches; Width: 34 inches; Capacity: 425 pounds; Hull Weight: 85 pounds; Fitted Hull Weight: 103 pounds; MSRP: $2,799 for most colors, $2,949 for Camo. Hobie.com.