By Thomas Houde
Thanks to my partnership with The Kayak Centre of Wickford, I had the pleasure of fishing the majority of my 2019 fishing season in the newly redesigned Hobie Outback kayak. I was a bit concerned at first due to the way my Subaru Crosstrek was set up with factory roof racks. Loading the Outback was a two person operation as it needed to be transported upside down. I knew this would not be an ideal option as it would limit my launching opportunities. I needed a solution fast as the On TheWater Striper Cup was about to get underway. The expectation was to be able to load and unload by myself. The Kayak Centre provided the solution. I purchased the Yakima Showboat based on feedback from a few kayak anglers. The Big Catch Saddles were a recommendation I ran with, thanks to Rachel, their salesperson. My biggest concern with the Hobie Outback had been mitigated. I could now transport the Outback easily by myself in a safe manner in the hull down position.
I generally fish out of a Hobie Revolution 13. When I first got into a Revo, I took a 2015 Revolution and Outback for a demo. It was a windy day and the Revolution was less prone to catching the wind and handled easier in the windy conditions. The older style Outback was more apt to catch the wind and handling seemed more of a chore.
The Outback has a solid reputation as the fishing SUV of the Hobie fleet. The newly redesigned Outback only reinforces that reputation. I like that the length has increased by several inches. The hull also seems to sit lower in the water than the original version. The stability of the hull is awesome. I’ve had the opportunity to launch into some questionable conditions with an experienced wingman and we safely returned without incident. The nooks, gear tracks, rectangular hatch, spacious rear deck all offer far more storage area than the Revolution can provide. The seat provides additional comfort by being able to dial in an ideal seated position. The Mirage Drive performed ably during the season and the addition of standard turbo fins to all Outbacks allows for increased performance and speed when necessary without having to upgrade. The rudder provides a tighter turning radius and has dual rudder controls for ease of use. A nice feature that you generally don’t get to see in operation is the spring loaded Guardian transducer shield. There are four molded in rod holders that provide flexibility in how you transport and store your rods while fishing and moving around. The extra sized seat provides comfort increasing your ability to stay out on the water for longer periods of time.
I still enjoy the ride a Revolution 13 provides the angler on the move in all conditions, but if you look for me on the water next season, be sure to look for an Outback, color to be determined, but red is the frontrunner at this time.
Thomas Houde is an avid kayak fisherman based in Rhode Island and Hobie Fishing Team Member.