Thursday, 21 December 2017
Hobie has just released their all new Mirage Compass Kayak.
This craft brings the number of Hobie models with the Mirage Drive to a whopping total of around 20. The Compass has generated considerable interest, so as soon as one was available at my local dealer, I dropped in for a test run.
The Compass is the most affordable Kayak in Hobie’s Mirage Drive Range and it has taken many of the proven attributes of the legendary Hobie Pro Angler hull and put it at a much lower weight and much lower price point. Cleverly, it offers the ability of significant ‘optioning-up’ on Hobie accessories later in your kayak fishing development.
This is an attractive looking kayak with sleek new lines, that will become easily identifiable by the Kayak community. I also like the new colours on offer – sea grass green and slate blue. Down on the lake, the Compass had an immediate impact on our test team. One of the lightest Hobies in the range, it was a breeze to unload and wheel to the water. This is yak that doesn’t need an XL 4WD and associated roof racks to carry it!
The first kick of the Mirage Drive offered more delight- it’s surges forward with every push of the pedals and the whole family had fun riding it.
The fine entry point pierces the water offering swift speed and the hull flares out mid ships and at the rear offering the stability us anglers like when turning around to access an esky or when you wish to stand up to stretch the legs or sight-fish.
My local dealer had already suggested it had a very tight turning circle, and he was right, but I was delighted to find it also tracks brilliantly and handles chop pleasantly. This makes the Compass equally at home in tighter fishing creeks as it is on large bodies of water - it screams versatility and I can’t wait to fish more spots with it.
SPECS: length 3.66m (12 foot), width 0.86m (34 inches), capacity 181 kg, hull weight 31kg, fully rigged weight 39kg.
The thing that stands out here to me is the weight! 31kg is incredibly light for a fishing craft of this stability and speed, and it is a whopping 17kg lighter than what is its nearest Hobie cousin - the Mirage Pro Angler 12. I must note that with proper technique even the larger Pro Angler 14 can be loaded on roof racks quite easily (I do it daily but and you can ask a Hobie dealer to show you how). I also note that wheeling even the heaviest of kayaks, is quite easy on level smooth paths. Where the low weight of the compass will be handy is wheeling it up steeper hills or across other ground. So while Hobie make wheels to match the surface you anticipate, eg sand wheels, the lightness of the Compass will make things even easier.
No review would be worthy without mention of the benefits of the Mirage Drive. There’s 10s of thousands of Aussies out using them right now and like me they have been spoilt by this incredible piece of technology. As you push the pedals the wing like fins underneath the craft propel you effortlessly through the water leaving your hands free to fish. It’s by far the most powerful, fastest and efficient human propelled system invented, it beats any leg driven propeller by a country mile.
Furthermore by making small strokes with your feet apart, the Mirage fins tuck up next to the hull so you can travel across shallow sand bars or weed beds swiftly. It is also tested by time (and by the public) as the most durable and low maintenance drive on the market. One of my drives is 15 years old and I grin from ear to ear when I think about the miles and smiles it gives me.
The standard Compass Mirage Drive doesn’t offer reverse, but there is the option of getting the Mirage Drive 180 which has mind blowing full power reverse. If you are just getting into Kayak Fishing may I suggest that reverse is not only a little more expensive, it ‘might’ also be too much to learn at first. Furthermore most of my fishing (and fishing coaching) is done aiming forward. For example holding or moving into wind/current and casting to snags, trolling, pulling out fish quickly thanks to a bow pointing along the bank etc. Think forward and, with a little practice, you will soon master all of the above and become a fishing machine. Thinking forward will also help you dock, beach, etc...and if you need a tiny bit of reverse or need to push off something - just use the paddle.
If you need to drag your kayak across a shallow section of a river the Mirage drive clips out easily. It’s remarkable when I have taken the Mirage Drive in 15 years of travelling Australia with it, and I love that I can pop it in and have effortless yet powerful propulsion all day long without the complications of carrying big batteries and electric motors.
ACCESSORIES: The compass comes ready to fish and will impress you, especially if you haven’t fished in a new model Mirage Drive. There’s many standard features on the craft I don’t have room to detail here but suffice to say it’s a carefully thought out fun and fishing machine.
There are many accessories that clip straight on (the Hobie Showrooms are like candy stores). Some of my favourites include a H-Crate for the back deck which offers storage room and 4 extra rod holders, the H Bar which is handy to hold onto if you like standing up, and of course if/when you need a sounder, the Hobies come Lowrance ready making fit out easy. Hobie dealers are also trained at supplying and fitting sounders if you need help.
At the time of writing the price point of the Compass with standard features was approx $2,750 on the East Coast of Australia. Prices vary a little around Australia due to shipping costs.
To say I love the compass would be an understatement...I think it’s a real winner for the reasons pointed out above.
I must also point out that Hobie have our country’s largest range of Kayaks with passionate (and trained) staff. So while I can offer this review, I can’t help individuals decide on what exactly which craft is best for them...you need to drop in and see a Hobie dealer for that. What I can say is that resale value is great so if your needs ever change so can your Hobie.
The Hobie Mirage Pro Angler sets the bar in terms of a full on Fishing Machine, the Compass has brought the price and weight down with the option of bolting on any accessories an individual might need down the track. I love the fact that this will get more people into a kayak that makes the experience so much more effective and enjoyable. It has to be said - the Compass is pointing in the right direction.
To find your nearest dealer check out www.hobie.com/au/en/dealers/ or free call 1800 4HOBIE