Saturday, September 13, 2014

2015 Hobie Outback - Preview

Today, I'd like to talk about the 2015 Hobie Outback, and the things that will make this rig a winner.

The Hobie Outback has remained relatively unchanged over the years.  They've made tweaks here and there - but for 2015, Hobie has made some big changes.
The Old Outback
I have a Papaya Outback like the one in the pic above.  What did I like about this kayak?  Where do I begin?  It is stable, maneuverable, and has a MirageDrive.  The sides have the tray storage - handy for fishing pliers and collecting hooks and old lures.  I could stand in it, if conditions were right.

Dislikes?  The seat, the seat, and the seat.  Did I mention the seat?

The stock seat was definitely in need of an upgrade.  As a Hobie team member, I would get asked occasionally about changes to the seat.  My intel said they had something in the works, but I never knew when it would hit the market.

So it was with surprise and delight that I saw the pics on Facebook and the interwebs.  Hobie revealed the changes to the seat and hulls of several models, including the Outback, for 2015.  Hallelujah!!
2015 Outback with Vantage CT seat
First thing you see is the updated seat.  It is called the Vantage CT seat.  Dropped down low, it has the same level as the stock seats, but this one can adjust higher, as well as a "Vantage" position that takes the Outback's seat to new heights.

Gone are the old drains under the seat, that you had to screw shut.  They replaced it with a pull-cord activated drain system.

Also, the cockpit forward of the seat got some changes.  New handles, a flatter area that should be more-friendly to standing, and gone is the MirageDrive 'pond' around the drive-well.  They raised the floor up, so water should remain below floor-level.  There are mesh pouches on both sides, versus the single one on the floor found in previous models.
Overhead view of the Cockpit - 2015 Hobie Outback
Also changed - the MirageDrive.  Gone are the black, short and stubby fins.  2015 Mirage kayaks come with the ST Turbo fins, standard - in blue no less.  Also the MirageDrive has internal changes, with a type of integrated bearing system that makes them reportedly more efficient to pedal.

Random Thoughts

-The term 'game-changer' is overused in the kayak fishing industry.  I would like to think that the Vantage CT on this rig will make a 'big impact' on the market, especially for those that don't have a Pro Angler-sized budget, but want a better seat than the old Outbacks provided.

-Judging by the reaction to this reveal on social media, there are a lot of pre-2015 Outbacks hitting the used market now.  Folks wanting to get into a used Hobie kayak, this is your chance to snatch-up a good deal on a used Outback.

-I had put another seat on my Hobie Outback, with favorable results.  Can't wait to try an actual Hobie seat made for this platform!  Should be rock-solid and very stable, even in the highest position.

Watch for these new Outbacks hitting a body of water near you - soon.  For more information about the 2015 Hobie Outback, as well as changes and updates to other Mirage-driven models, visit Hobie Kayak Fishing's website.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

A Rainy Saturday

When you are desperately wanting to fish, you'll go in any conditions.  Saturday's rain started early - got a feel for the day when the alarm went off at 0530, and I heard the rain tapping on the roof.  It was pouring down, but I was determined.

The rain eased up as I got to the launch, and met-up with Chris, another local kayak angler who wanted to check out some nearby structure for sheepshead, so I brought a half-pint of fiddler crabs for sheepshead and two dozen mud minnows for reds/trout/flounder.

We launched and headed to the sheepshead spot.  Got some under-sized sheeps and plenty of black sea bass in that first hour.  Then the rain returned, and at that moment I'm glad I brought a light rain jacket.  I am comfortable fishing in the rain, but it is made better when your torso, head, and arms can stay relatively dry.
So happy to see you, bro...
It was small BSB and sheepshead until I finally set the hook on a decent one.  I was happy to see this nice sheepshead - really made the rainy day worth it.  After a while longer, we moved to another spot.  Along the way, I stopped and deployed some mud minnows and caught a trout.

During our trek to a different fishing spot, a thunderstorm moved in, and we took shelter under a bridge overpass until the lightning and heavy rain moved out.  While under the bridge, I caught a flounder on a bottom-rig.

After the storm passed, we continued to the next spot.  Chris wanted to try for some more sheeps, and I wanted to soak some mud minnows in a nearby creek for some reds.  Initially, I caught a bunch of small rat reds and a few more small trout.  There was a ton of bait in the creek and the fish in there were having a field day.

I moved up the creek and finally saw some big splashing so I switched to a popping cork rig, with a small leader - it was only about 1.5' deep back there.  Threw it in a small creek opening and moments later it shot down, and a few minutes later I have a 25" red in the Hobie Outback.

And also happy to see you...
Having that Micro Power-Pole on the Outback really made this trip easy.  During my drift down this creek, I could deploy the pole with the remote and concentrate on fishing.

Got soaked today - but it was totally worth it!

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Mud Minnows for the Win!

Yesterday was a wonderful day of fishing - and it was all thanks to the lowly mud minnow.

I was meeting a couple of buddies to do a little inshore fishing.  Stopped by the local bait shop and picked up a couple dozen mud minnows.  I haven't had much luck with them lately, but I was going to try some different presentations on this trip.

The morning was mostly uneventful, with catches of ladyfish and one nice flounder that I lost at the kayak before I could net it.

Early afternoon brought a different spot - a boater came into the waterway pulling a tube with kids on it.  Nothing wrong with that - just didn't want to fight the current and the constant wakes from the boat - so I moved on.  I set up near an oyster mound that went into a series of small creeks - a place where I saw reds before but couldn't get them to eat.  I decided to bottom-rig the mud minnows, putting two on the hook at the same time, and throw them out along the edge of the mound.  I place the rod in the front holder of the Hobie Outback and wait...

I have found that when I put the rod down, and start doing something else, that usually that would bring a hit - and this rang true today.  A few minutes after putting the rod in the holder, and using that time to apply some sunscreen, the rod doubled over and started peeling-off line.  I picked it up and was greeted with a nice red, after a couple minutes of fighting.

Snapped a couple of photos and got him back in the water.  Rigged up two more minnows on the hook and threw it back out in the same spot.  Ten minutes later - the rod bent over with another nice fish!

The same scenario happened again, except the third fight ended with a break-off.  I guess he ran me across the point of the oyster mound.  A short time later, I ended up catching redfish #3.  They were all great fish - the smallest was 30", and the big one was 31.5".  After I exhausted my mud minnows, I headed back to the landing.

I'm glad I moved to a different spot!  Also glad that I brought some mud minnows.  I got the idea to hook two mud minnows on one hook from a friend.  He said that the commotion created by the two minnows on the single hook would bring more attention to them.  I have done this with small finger mullet, too - it works!