Hobie Outback

2016 Review Update

Everything has been changed and upgraded including seat, drive and fittings but thankfully the hull shape has been left as it was because it is perfect.

Hobie Outback - SUV and Fishing Machine

Duffer waxes lyrical about his Hobie Outback!

This is my favourite fishing kayak of all time (so far). I like just about all the fishing kayaks we stock but if I had to choose just one boat then without doubt it would be a Hobie Outback.

Nothing looks, feels or works as well as an Outback smelling of fish! I am a salt water angler and fish from the shore, kayak and boat. I started fishing as a child in the fifties, kayak fished from a PBK in the sixties, had fishing boats and still fish today.

Old Duffer on his first outback in 2006

Kayak fishing is getting harder now that I am in the “other sixties” but the buzz is still as good. Kayak fishing with Chris (my son, heir and competitor) adds that extra dimension.

This Review is not biased in any way it is simply how I feel about my Outback and has nothing to do with my day job as Managing Director The Canoe Shops (Group) Limited.

My Hobie Outback

Looking at my Outback it’s obviously not the prettiest thing on the planet then neither am I. Her lines are different to that of other solo Hobies, in fact she’s not too long and has a nice bean on her. She is just what is needed to allow an old man concentrate on the real business of the day – the fishing.

You may have deduced from other reviews that I have written that I wet my kayaks off Cornwall and South West Ireland. Grand places to fish but with not a lot between the USA and my fishing marks other than the Atlantic it can get a tad choppy at times.

Speed is not an overriding requirement for me even though the Outback can lick along nicely. The mirage drive is powerful in standard form and after tuning with turbo fins is incredibly efficient. I need tackle space, bait space, rod space and on occasions fish space.

I prefer to peddle when trolling or free lining and have a rod in my hands. I want to be able to hold my station without anchoring whilst fishing in current. I want to be able to anchor in stronger current safely. I want all this and a seating position that allows to me walk again after a six hour session (even if that walk is a bit of a struggle).

I get to paddle mostly anything and there are times when a paddle kayak is all I want. However, when Chris throws down the fishing challenge then it’s peddle power on my Hobie Outback every time.

Chris has a Hobie Revolution with Huminbird fishfinder/plotter, turbo fins, hot and cold running water and a drinks cabinet.

I have an Outback with an old admiralty chart and a thimble full of local knowledge.

The lad is learning but still “weighing in” a close second (for the moment anyway).

Chris in his Hobie Rev

Post Review update by Erk

Duffer is worried! He has fitted a Humminbird fishfinder/plotter to his Outback. The very plotter Dronski gave him 18 months back to put on the fishing boat he still hasn’t bought! Said something about his Admiralty Charts being “well out of date”, he will get a mobile phone next!!!

Humminbird Fishfinder/Plotter

The old charts I used to use

My new mobile phone

Pedalling – paddling and fishing the Outback

The pedalling position is quite comfortable with both seat position and pedal stroke length being fully adjustable. The seat is fixed with two pegs and the seat pad stays put!

For those vertically challenged there are two positions to fix the seat and 7 position to adjust the Mirage Drive. Apart from Snow Whites seven friends you can set up an outback to sit comfortable.

Holes to adjust the seat

Seat oins to fit into kayak

Hobie Mirrage Drive System

The other thing that is not apparent from looking at the boat is with one hand resting on the rudder control the other hand can hold the side handle and you have a grip on the kayak. Use this position during transit to your fishing mark (FAOP). For trolling and free lining at slower speeds then there is no need to hold the side handle so replace that with your rod. Fishing on the move whilst pedalling is simply superb. Put a slight angle on the rudder and you can troll over ground you have not pedalled over – the Bass will love you for it.

Rudder on the Hobie Outback

Rudder control on the Outback

Stow the rudder up using this handle

Paddling is just like paddling a wider sit on top. Stow the rudder and paddle as usual. I often pedal and paddle during a trip as this helps me stay warm and stops my joints seizing up.

My trips are usually 6-8 hours long and right side sciatica is a problem – staying mobile and pedalling does help.

This video clip shows Codger putting the outback through its paces

Handle & storage space on the right handside

Storage sidewell on the left

The fishing position is perfect and I have since dispensed with my forward rod holders in preference to slipping the rod butts (2) under my legs. Front left Scotty mount takes my C Light mast and right side “now takes” my electronic Admiralty Chart!

Progress with me is slow but the addition of the plotter has sped things up. I chose a plotter only and it’s very good.
I chose not to have a fish finder as I see that part as my job!

Hobie Outback rigged up with Humminbird Plotter/Fishfinder

Tackle box in centre hatch between my legs, bait in moulded drinks bottle holders on both side decks and its sorted.

Outback's centre storage with takle box

I Have fitted an anchor trolley system which works for me and when anchored I use the rudder so that the Outback swings slowly from left to right and back again. An old trick the charter skippers out of Plymouth use – when you have caught a few fish off a wreck they put the helm over and the boat drifts away from the wreck and bingo a few fish for tomorrow’s anglers as well but no more for you today. I like these slow anchored transits left and right as it moves the bait and encourages plaice, dabs and ray to take your bait.

Old Duffer basking in his glory

Hobie Outback all set up ready to go

The Outback will fit on a Thule roofrack

The rear tank well is huge, the bow hatch is huge but I rarely use them as I am species specific and have tackled up for that which minimises the clobber I need.

Hobie Outback fron storage

Rear storage hatch on the Outback

Lots of space in the rear tank well on the Hobie Outback

I removed the right side paddle park to clear space for my anchor trolley system. Bent shaft paddles sit OK in the paddle park. My paddles take 12 degrees angle off my wrist and significantly reduce discomfort – white water and surf paddling have made it very easy to collect another repetitive strain injury.

The River Tamar is the border between Cornwall and England. Where it flows between Devils Point, King Billy and Cremyll the current can be ferocious. You can fish this from a Hobie right up to the point the Mod Police move you on and there are some nice codling there over the winter.

This video clip shows Duffer cruising up on the Erk as they head back to port

My new friend the starfish - the plotter is back

Reviewed By
Duffer, Duffer’s nurse – Post Script by the erk.
For The Canoe Shops (Group) Ltd.   
2006 – 2012 and still Outbacking strong.

Main Features:

Hobie Outback:

  • Four Molded-In Rod Holders
  • Large Covered Bow Hatch
  • Lowrance® Ready
  • Mesh-Covered Stowage Pocket
  • MirageDrive
  • Rear Cargo Area with Bungee®Tie Downs
  • Sail Mount
  • Twist and Stow Rudder
  • Two 8” Twist and Seal Hatches with Gear Bucket
  • Two-Piece Paddle with On-Hull Storage Vantage CT Seating


Length: 3.68 m / 12' 1"
Width: 0.84 m / 33"
Height: 0.38 m / 15"
Capacity: 181 kg / 400 lbs
Fitted Hull Weight: 37.19 kg / 82 lbs
Fully Rigged Weight: 43.09 kg / 95 lbs