There is good reason that the Hobie Mirage Outback has always been one of the top choices for serious kayak anglers. A stable, yet speedy hull combined with the reliability of the MirageDrive make this boat ideal for fishing everything from lakes and ponds, tidal rivers, or coastal oceanic waters. With the release of the 2019 Outback, Hobie has taken this proven kayak fishing platform and has given it some great upgrades.

2019 Hobie Outback MirageDrive 180
The MD180 pedal drive switches from forward to reverse by simply pulling the red or green tabs.

Fins to Win

The Hobie MirageDrive pioneered the pedal-propelled kayak revolution when it was introduced over 20 years ago. Today, you’d be hard pressed to find a major kayak manufacturer that does not offer a pedal-powered model. In fact several companies are now offering kayaks fitted with clones of the original Hobie fin-style drives, although without the option for reverse.

The 2019 Outback comes standard with the latest MD180 drive with ST Turbo Fins, which are stiffer than standard fins allowing for quicker acceleration. Pulling tabs on the front of the drive enable you to flip the fins 180 degrees to engage either forward or reverse. 

When in shallow water, the MirageDrive fins can be held up flush against the hull by fully extending the cranks. A hook and bungee under the seat allow you to secure the drive in that position. The drive is fairly lightweight and can be installed or uninstalled on the kayak in seconds.

Fish in Comfort

The Vantage seat is made of a breathable fabric and allows four-way adjustability to keep you comfortable on the water. The front and rear seat height is quickly adjusted by pull tabs on the front of the seat and the back rest angle is quickly corrected by a lever on the seat back. It also has built-in legs which fold out to allow it to double as a beach chair.

The new pedal ARC cranks are adjustable with the push of a button to adjust to all sizes of anglers, from children to adults.

Fishing Features

The Outback comes with four recessed rod holders. Many anglers customize their kayaks by creating PVC rod holder extensions to fit these holes.
Also, new for Hobie is the built-in H-track mounting system. A total of six tracks in front and behind the seat allow for plenty of options for add-ons like rod holders, electronics and camera mounts, flag poles, and more.

The front bow hatch offers plenty of storage inside the hull, and a center dry box in front of the seat allows adequate space for items that need to be readily accessible. The rear deck area is large enough to house a fishing crate while also leaving room for additional items such as a cooler or bait bucket.

Built into the gear track are tool holders with retractable cords, rubber storage pockets, and bungees to secure your tackle boxes into place. 
Straps on the either side of the kayak allow you to secure your paddle out of the way but with the option to access it instantly if needed. 

Rudder Controls

Another new feature on the Outback is a re-designed rudder and control system. The new Kick-Up rudder is similar to the design on the Pro Angler. It is deployed by releasing a cable from a cleat on the front starboard side of the cockpit. If the rudder makes contact with an object while moving forward, it will swing back up to avoid damage. This longer rudder drops deeper below the kayak enabling more responsive turning. Now that there are steering handles on both sides of the kayak, you can control the boat with either your right or left hand, whichever one is not holding your fishing rod.

Additional Features

Hobie Outbacks now come with the Guardian Transducer Shield which is a built-in retractable unit designed for tool-free installation of side scan electronics. Pre-installed thru-hull cable plugs enable you to run cables up to gear track area without the need for drilling. The Guardian is spring loaded and will recess up into the hull to protect your transducer if contact is made with the bottom.

The Outback has solid carrying handles for transport, including the new mid-boat handles inside the cockpit. The stern of the boat comes with power-pole threaded mounting inserts. This also makes for convenient installation of an electric motor.

I hope this overview has given you some insight on the features of the newly re-designed Hobie Outback. If you are looking for a pedal-powered kayak that is loaded with cool fishing features, this might be one to consider.

2019 Hobie Mirage Outback Camo
Image courtesy of Backyard Boats

Quick Facts: 

Length: 12’ 9”
Width: 34”
Capacity: 425 lbs.
Vantage CTW Seat Capacity: 275 lbs.
Fitted Hull Weight: 85 lbs.
Fully Rigged
Weight: 103 lbs.
MSRP: $2949 ($3099 - Camo)
Area Dealer: Backyard Boats, Annapolis, MD, Shady Side, MD, Woodbridge, VA, (703) 491-3188,

~ By Zach Ditmars