By Jerry McBride
As Americans have literally gotten bigger and demanded more toys, kayak dimensions have generally expanded to match their appetites. The Hobie Compass accommodates those realities, yet takes a step back toward the original concept behind kayak fishing—simplicity.
Simplicity with a really nice seat and MirageDrive.
The new Hobie Mirage Compass matches the standup capabilities of much bulkier boats but is far more athletic. At first glance, her sharp entry, low gunwales and angular lines disguise a 34-inch width, and the no-nonsense kayak hull weighs in at a svelte 70 pounds.
That kind of width typically condemns a paddle kayak to the slow lane. However, I had no problem hitting 5.5 mph despite the added weight of an H-Crate, four fishing rods, drink cooler, electronics battery and a typical load of fishing gear. Even more impressive, I managed 4.95 with a paddle. The lightweight boat has very impressive acceleration, right up to the point when the wide stern suddenly digs in around five knots.
For anglers, the speed and stability don’t come at the expense of stealth. Pedaling into a moderate 10-knot chop, the Compass hull generated little cockpit spray; fishing the flats, hull slap was virtually nonexistent, even with the significant stern weight of a Pole-Pole Micro Anchor and loaded H-Crate lifting the bow slightly.
It is offered with the MirageDrive with Glide Technology. Standard amenities consist of two molded-in rod holders behind the seat, a molded deck cupholder, two recessed H-Track gear tracks and a single 8-inch Twist-and-Seal hatch forward of the seat.
Hobie’s designers settled on an optimal midlevel seat position. The mounting setup is interesting in its simplicity—two bungee cords lock the seat onto a raised pedestal, while two adjustable straps determine the seatback position.
The Compass will be a welcome addition to the Hobie fleet. Quiet, lightweight, stable, fast—there’s always room in my garage for a kayak with those qualities.