I’m a DIY (do it yourself) kind of fisherman. I have been ever since I first began traveling to Baja and ultimately settled down at Rancho Deluxe, our East Cape beachfront home.
With nothing between my front porch and the Sea of Cortez, over the years my fishing friends and I tried a variety of platforms from trailer boats to float tubes in an attempt to satisfy our fishing itch. Experience helped us refine our wish list for the ideal Baja fishing machine. It had to be inexpensive, small enough to manage alone, yet well-equipped with plenty of storage, economical to operate, low maintenance and as few moving parts as possible.
When I saw the new Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 introduced earlier this year, it seemed as though their design team had skimmed over our wish list. When I discussed the new Mirage with Morgan Promnitz, Hobie’s fishing product manager, he noted that each member of their team is an experienced fisherman first, and a seasoned kayaker second. They dedicated countless hours of hard work that resulted in the ideal fishing kayak.
As it turned out, when I discussed the Hobie Mirage with my friend, John Ireland, I discovered that his hotel, Rancho Leonero Resort, was the location chosen as the Baja proving grounds for the Hobie Mirage Pro Angler 12 prototypes. His enthusiasm was infectious!
“They are an awesome fishing platform,” he commented. “You have come to the Ranch and test-drive one. We have four Pro Anglers. Two are the newest 12's…they have fish finders and live bait wells.”
The unique lightweight and compact Mirage Pro Angler 12 is the most versatile fishing platform for Baja inshore I have seen and is packed full of must-have angler features.
At the heart of the rig is a patented MirageDrive pedal propulsion system, a unique quiet and efficient mode of propulsion that replaces conventional paddles and allows hands-free operation.
The Pro Angler uses Hobie's new Vantage seat that can be adjusted up, down, back and forth. The seat can even be folded out of the way to increase deck space. The boat's retractable rudder is safely hidden under the stern to avoid snagging lines and getting in the way. Steering is controlled with a station on each side of the cockpit. On top of that, the hull is pre-rigged to accept a variety of fishfinders and transducers. Add horizontal rod storage, abundant hatches, built-in circulating bait tank and handy tackle storage and it is obvious that Hobie has delivered on its promise to design the ideal fishing kayak.
Let me be clear. I fish first and I wasn’t looking for a new sport. The technical aspects of ‘kayaking’ are best left to experts. My interest was not in kayaking, but in being able to take advantage of fishing opportunities which had eluded me in the past, and Hobie has taken my wish list and produced my DIY fishing platform.
The Hobie's Mirage Pro Angler 12 weighs only 120 pounds fully loaded, is 12-foot-long, 36-inches wide with a 500-pound weight capacity.. The Pro Angler 12 is proudly made in the U.S.A. and was recently voted by buyers and media as the most innovative new product of ICAST 2012 in both the overall “Best of Show” and the “Best Boat” categories.
Thank you to Gary Graham for sharing these experiences and submitting this informative article. Gary is a, Mexico IGFA representative, publishes a column in Western Outdoor news and is a well published author in many other publications as well as the former President of the Vagabundos del Mar Travel Club
As I read Gary graham’s article on kayak fishing I recall many years ago when the sit-on-top kayaks were first created. We had tried SCUBA diving with them as one of the original companies had even molded a tank well to hold the dive gear while kayaking.
Unfortunately dive gear made the kayak very unstable and it never seem to work well. They were still great to get out long distances from shore for snorkeling as they are easy to remount in open water but not with SCUBA equipment. However these kayaks did take off for many other reasons such as their safety for novice kayakers that don’t need know the Eskimo roll and their increased stability as you can see you can even stand up in these newer models.
These new models made for fishing have really come a long way and a great advantage of the Hobbie style as Gary points out, is their bicycle style peddles to drive long blade under the kayak so as to create a hands free propulsion system that is very handy for fishing for example. You can always use the other styles of sit-on-top kayaks for fishing but be sure to have a leash on your paddle for when you are fishing so as not to lose your paddle while you’re busy with your hands fighting that big one.
The sit-on-top kayaks are here to stay and are used by many in everything from lakes and rivers to the open ocean. One of the greatest advantages is when kayaking in rough waters and you do get dismounted is the ease to jump back on as long as you don’t have too much equipment in the way.
Overall kayak fishing has for good reason been booming all over Baja and other places because of their ease to carry customize set up, accessories, versatility of use and relatively low costs. These kayaks are not for the real kayaker as Gary points out but they do make for a fantastic fishing platform.
So if you are looking for your own personal fishing craft, take a look at the many new models offered of sit-on-top kayaks and fish on.
By Gary Graham