When kayak anglers think of fishing kayaks – particularly when it comes to the best of the best – there’s a good chance that the name of Hobie will spring to mind.
Based out of California, they’ve been designing and manufacturing world-class water sports products since 1950, famous initially for their sail boats, and now for their top-drawer fishing kayaks.
And you have Hobie to thank for pedal kayaks, given the fact they invented the technology back in 1997, and some would argue that no other company has come as close to perfecting it.
Their flagship model – the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler – was released in 2009, and even in the fast-moving world of cutting-edge kayaking, it’s still considered one of the finest fishing kayaks ever created – if not the finest.
But even with all the accolades and praise – is it the right fishing kayak for you?
Read on to find out.
Our Verdict on the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Kayak
The Mirage Pro pedal drive system is the finest in the industry, and you simply won’t get anything close to this technology in any other craft. But…it’s super expensive, it’s difficult to transport, and it’s not the nicest-looking craft out there by a long shot.
- The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Kayak Review
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The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Kayak – What is It?
Available in 14 foot and 12 foot versions, the Hobie Mirage Pro is the Rolls-Royce of fishing kayaks.
We’re talking comfort, luxury, and practical, unobtrusive features, all geared towards improving your fishing experience.
That’s why I’ve also included it in this run-down of the best sit-on-top fishing kayaks currently available today.
But let’s not beat around the bush – the main attraction here is the famous Mirage Drive system, the top-of-the-line pedal technology the company pioneered, and has now perfected.
With the Mirage Pro fishing kayak, you have a choice of two drive systems – the kick up fins, or the 360. Both of which we’ll explore in more detail later in the review.
When it comes to the best fishing platforms, there’s no mistaking the Hobie Mirage Pro. This is a craft for serious anglers only.
What’s it For?
The Mirage Pro has been designed by kayak anglers for kayak anglers, with one main goal in mind – catching more fish.
But doing it in style.
The ultimate in hands-free fishing, the forward and reverse drive offers you the power and control to go where other kayaks can’t – reducing fatigue, and enabling you to concentrate on your angling skills.
At home in salt and freshwater, the Hobie Mirage Pro is a solid option for offshore fishing, as well as sleepy lakes, and slow moving rivers.
If you’re fishing structures, I would suggest the 12 foot version with a 360-drive system. For open water, go with the 14 foot Mirage Pro 180.
For more information, check out the video below directly from Hobie themselves.
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Kayak Review
Hobie is famous for their world-class, top-quality watersports products, and that is evident in the manufacture and design of the Mirage Pro Angler.
Built like a tank, the rotomolded polyethylene body is as tough and as durable as they come, and will last a lifetime with the proper care.
With the inclusion of the cutting-edge pedal drive system, it’s hard not to consider the Mirage Pro as a high-performance fishing machine.
Both versions of the Mirage Pro track very well through the water, but the 14 foot just edges it – particularly when it comes to battling waves, winds, currents, and choppy conditions.
Engage the pedal drive, and you’ll track straight as an arrow, even through a moderate headwind.
Hobie has also added a new skeg to the hull, which is also going to help keep you on course.
While the Mirage Pro is capable of mustering a fair bit of pace – especially with the “turbo” kick up fin system, for the most part you’ll be getting around 2-3 MPH out of this craft when leisurely pedaling.
There are, of course, much faster fishing kayaks on the market. Hobie’s own Revolution 11 is one of them.
But although the Mirage Pro wasn’t particularly built to win races, with the pedal drive, you can still go much faster than if you were simply using a paddle.
That said, if you’re looking for something that can really zip, you might want to look elsewhere, as the clunky size and weight of the Mirage Pro will not attract any of your adrenaline speed freaks out there.
With the 14 foot Mirage Pro being slightly wider than the 12 foot, it’s more suitable for those standing casts and reels. However, that’s not to say that both kayaks aren’t super stable in their own right.
In fact, there’s a good chance the Mirage Pro could be considered the most stable fishing platform available. It’s certainly in good company, with the likes of the Old Town Sportsman Big Water, and Bonafide’s SS127 – to name but two.
Anyone who’s a little apprehensive about standing up in a kayak, needs to try out the Mirage Pro. It’s not known as a rock-solid fishing platform for nothing.
And for more of the most stable kayaks available, you can follow that link to find a review of the best craft you can stand up in.
This is where the 12 foot version takes the points, as the smaller and lighter of the two Mirage versions is just that little bit more maneuverable.
And couple it with the 360 drive system, and you have one of the most nimble fishing kayaks on the market – perfect for negotiating hazards and obstacles on the river, close to land, or near structures.
The Mirage Pro also features dual steering dials, so you have the ultimate control with your right and/or your left hand.
I think this is a great addition, especially if you’re a little forgetful like me, and you need to reach out and turn in a hurry.
Features and Accessories
The interesting thing about the Hobie Mirage Pro is that at first glance, it looks like it might be a little light on features.
But when you dig deeper, you can see they’re just all very cleverly integrated into the kayak’s design.
Some might say ingenious, in fact!
And while there are other feature-rich fishing kayaks that can give the Mirage Pro some competition (the Vibe Shearwater 125 is a prime example), the Hobie has everything you will ever need.
Let’s take a look at what’s on offer:
- Two vertical rod holders with rod leashes.
- Gunwale H-rails for additional accessories/rod holders.
- Pivoting tackle management system.
- Horizontal rod storage – super important for coastal fishing.
- Dual rudder controls
- EVA standing pads
- Through hull power holes.
- Mesh map/storage pockets.
- Central accessory mount.
- Paddle holders.
- Mounting plate.
- Rudder access hatch/trolling motor mount.
- Skid plates.
- Anchor points.
- Sail and bimini mount.
- Scupper holes.
- Guardian retractable transducer shield. (Go here for some top kayak fish finder tech).
- Cup holder.
The Drive System
Let’s face it, the main reason that this kayak is as good (and as expensive) as it is – is because of the market-leading, innovative pedal drive system.
As promised in the introduction, here’s a brief guide to your two options.
The Mirage Drive 180 Turbo has kick up fins – an ingenious design that automatically retracts the fins should they come into contact with any hazards or obstacles beneath the surface.
Perfect for open water, the 180 offers forward and reverse, and is the cheaper of the two drive systems.
The 360 Drive, on the other hand, does exactly what it says on the tin. With this system, you can almost turn on a dime, quickly rotating the kayak to turn in any direction.
It also has the kick up fin technology, so you don’t have to worry about what lies beneath, or when you’re coming into a launch jetty.
The type you choose will depend on your preferred fishing location – as well as your budget.
Do you have a bad back?
Both the 14 and 12 foot Mirage Pro Angler models come with Hobie’s famous Vantage ST seating – a super comfortable lawn-chair design that is up there with the best in the business.
Fully adjustable, it offers a breathable mesh back and seat, complete with a lumbar support for additional comfort.
The BOA lumbar support is also fully adjustable, so you can set it to as much or as little as you need, depending on your own preferences.
Which is perfect if you want to fish all day long, but the old bones aren’t quite what they used to be!
The seat can be raised or lowered using integrated barrel adjusters, capable of adding another five inches in height.
This ensures you can have the best possible view over the water, or have a lower center of gravity when you’re traveling. There’s a reason it’s called “Vantage” seating!
And it can be completely removed and used as a deck chair – which is perfect for beach fishing, or kayak camping adventures.
In addition, the cockpit is roomy, with a spacious, uncluttered look and feel. There’s plenty of scope for unobstructed casts and reels, and you will feel like you’re in the lap of luxury when taking the Mirage for a test drive.
In fact, I would say it easily doubles as a pleasure craft, and other members of your family can enjoy it for recreational purposes.
Just so long as they bring it back in one piece!
The 14 foot Pro has six horizontal rod holders, while the 12 foot has four. But aside from the extra room offered in the larger craft, there’s not a great deal of difference when it comes to storage options.
A generous hatch at the bow features a removable liner, which – being easy to clean – makes it the perfect place to store your catch with some ice.
At mid-ships, there’s a central rectangular hatch within easy reach of your seating area, perfect for keeping important tackle and gear close to hand.
It also features the tackle management system, but this can be switched out for a bin. The hatch is 100% waterproof, and actually sheds water when you need to open it up.
Under the seat you’ll find two EVA pads that can accommodate extra tackle boxes, with a strap to hold them in place.
To the stern, there’s an eight-inch twist and seal hatch which is super-secure, making it an ideal place to safely store valuables.
In short, the Hobie Mirage Pro is capable of taking an absolute mountain of your gear, so you can stay out there for longer. When it comes to storage space and capacity, I’m not sure if it has an equal.
Given the size, weight, and stability of these craft, the Hobie Mirage Pro angler was always going to excel in the weight capacity category.
And with the 14 foot Mirage Pro, you’re also getting an extra 100 pounds to play with, which is ideal if you’re on the heavier side, and/or you like to bring everything including the kitchen sink.
The 14 foot model boasts 600 lbs weight capacity, which makes the 12 foot a still lofty 500 lbs worth of load.
Remember, it’s never a good idea to overload your fishing kayak, even with these impressive figures. And don’t forget that this includes your own weight – so make sure you’re being sensible with your loadout before setting off.
There’s no sugar-coating it – these kayaks are big, and they are heavy. The 12 foot model comes in at a fully rigged weight of 128.5 lbs, while the 14 foot version is a backbreaking 144.5 lbs.
Obviously, you’re not carrying these beasts on your own. You’ll either need a helping hand, or one of these awesome kayak carts to get you to and from the water.
To be honest – you’ll probably need both!
Still, both versions feature durable carry handles at the bow and stern, and the 12-foot model has an additional mid-ship carry handle bolted into either side of the cockpit.
As for size, the 12 foot is often more popular in this department, as it’s easier to fit in the bed of a truck.
Still, you’re not going to see one of these things hoisted onto the roof of a car.
If you’re looking for something a little more travel-friendly, then check out this article on the most lightweight fishing kayaks on the market.
Alternatively, you might want to go down a different route altogether, and choose one of the most portable fishing kayaks ever made.
What am I talking about?
Follow this link for some truly amazing inflatable fishing kayaks that can easily give hardshells a run for their money these days.
Ease of Use
I’ve always imagined that pedal fishing kayaks have a slightly steeper learning curve than a simple sit-on-top paddle craft.
But in reality, it’s arguably much easier to sit in a comfortable lawn chair and pedal, than it is to harness a proper kayak paddle stroke!
And the fact that the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler isn’t overly cluttered with features, means it’s not going to freak out anyone who likes their kayaks to be more streamlined and easy-to- use.
That said, for anyone who is brand-new to pedal kayak technology, the Mirage Pro might take a little bit of getting used to.
And there’s no shame in being a complete noob! We all have to start somewhere.
Check out this review of the best beginner fishing kayaks if that’s more in your comfort zone at the moment.
The Hobie Mirage Pro isn’t the most beautiful fishing kayak on the market, and it’s not as sleek or as streamlined as something that comes out of Bonafide or Vibe’s workshops.
It’s available in a choice of three colors – papaya orange, ivory dune, and camo. Remember that the camo version costs a bit extra.
Logos are painted and durable, so they shouldn’t be rubbing off anytime soon.
The overall impression I get of the Mirage Pro is practical function over aesthetic appeal – which isn’t a bad thing at all, it’s just that there are more attractive kayaks out there.
But at the end of the day, this is still a Hobie, and that’s more than enough to have a few envious jaws on the floor.
When it comes to stability, the Mirage will offer you next-level peace of mind, and both versions will quickly breed the confidence you need to concentrate on landing your next catch.
It’s incredibly difficult to flip this craft, and you’ll feel that as soon as you take it out for its maiden voyage.
The color schemes are reasonably bright and bold, so you should be seen in low light conditions or inclement weather.
I also like that the seat is easy to adjust on-the-go, allowing you to lower the height with a quick-pull tab should choppy weather come in.
But if you do happen to flip this kayak – due to a rogue wave, for example, it’s going to be extremely difficult to flip back over thanks to its weight.
Remember – if such a thing were to occur, ALWAYS STAY WITH THE KAYAK. You have a better chance of being rescued.
And you should always make sure you’re wearing adequate safety gear when kayaking – even in calm, shallow conditions.
Check out this review of the best fishing PFDs available. Practical, potentially life-saving products you shouldn’t be without.
Are you looking for a budget-friendly fishing kayak?
Well, this isn’t it!
If you are, you can follow that link above to some more affordable options.
But the Mirage Pro Angler has the unfortunate title of being one of the most expensive fishing kayaks on the market. You know it. I know it. The whole kayak angling world knows it!
The 14 foot version has a recommended retail price of $4,449, with the camouflage option increasing to $4,699; while the 12 foot comes in at $4,299 and $4,499 respectively (at the time of writing).
There’s no doubt that owning a Hobie Mirage Pro is a big investment, but once you tear off the band-aid, it’s likely you’ll never need another fishing kayak as long as you live.
Okay, so, it’s pretty obvious this monster fishing kayak isn’t going to be for everyone.
It’s super expensive, it’s difficult to transport, and it’s not the nicest looking craft out there by a long shot.
Both the price and the portability kill it in the rating stakes.
But where the Mirage Pro excels – it really excels!
The pedal drive system is the finest in the industry, and you simply won’t get anything close to this technology in any other craft.
Often imitated, never bettered.
And the Mirage Pro has everything you need, and nothing you don’t – in a stripped down, easy-to-use design. There’s nothing superfluous here.
Is a Hobie Mirage Pro Angler Kayak Worth it?
It depends on two main factors:
- Your budget.
- Your ability to transport it.
Arguably, there’s a third factor – how much use are you going to get out of it?
For serious, dedicated kayak anglers who are out fishing come hell or high water, AND have the means to do so – you will not regret purchasing the Hobie Mirage Pro.
If that doesn’t sound like you, there are still some incredible fishing kayaks out there that will get the job done – every bit as well as the Hobie can.
Just check out my full list of the best fishing kayaks out there right now – and that’s more than enough to get you started!
It’s about time we reviewed the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler kayak – given the fact that it’s one of the most famous, respected, and highly rated fishing machines ever to be invented.
I hope this article has gone some way into helping you make a decision whether it’s the right choice for you.
Let me know in the comments your thoughts on the Mirage Pro. Do you already own one? What would you change about it? Is it everything you hoped it would be?
In the meantime, stay safe out there, tight lines, and happy kayak fishing!