Submitted: 08-25-2003 by atljoe
Originally I did a review on the Outback on my website (http://flatsfisher.com) when it first came out. In fact I ordered mine based on the Hobie web sites pictures and description. I did try out the Mirage pedal yak at a dealer before ordering and the pedal system was a big part of the boats appeal. It was only part of it though. I was replacing a Tribalance used to fish out of. The fishing oriented Outback had so many features for the angler it was a hands down best choice. There is no other fishing oriented kayak that offers the features of the Hobie (including the new 'Fisherman' in development by Emotion).
Admittedly the rod holders in front are not usable if you are casting from the cockpit. It is not so much heavy as unwieldy due to the width. I have learned to manage it by using the pedal opening and a finger in the rear rod holder to get it up to shoulder (and eventually head) to load it. Other nags are the water in the hull. I now suspect the useless under-seat screw down hatch. The rudder could be more robust but I am impressed that the material for the controls has withstood use and time.
The bottom line is that there is no more capable boat for fishing. Even at a lower initial price you can not outfit a yak comparably for much less. It is faster than the WS Tarpon, as stable as the biggest Fish'n'Dive and you can go and go and go using your leg muscles to propel the craft. You can see my rigging and pictures on the water at my site.