With modern kayaking, new innovations just keep coming
As my wife, Rae, and I cruised through the tiny village of Matlacha on the southwest coast of Florida we both commented on the quaintness of the surroundings. It was there, during a recent gathering of Hobie representatives and outdoor communicators, that we checked out the new inflatables that Hobie is launching.
Rae loves tiny communities like Matlacha because they are intriguing to explore. You can discover all the hidden gems in a couple of days and quickly get a good feel for the personality of the community. She believes every town has its own distinct identity and Matlacha, to her, was laid-back and easy-going. It would be the perfect base camp for those days we were sampling the new kayaks. It is the perfect base camp for anyone wishing to explore the Fort Myers, Sanibel, Captiva, and the Pine Island region on the Gulf of Mexico.
The fishing is incredible in this part of Florida. Snook and redfish cruise the edges of the big swaths of mangrove forest. Mangroves are the only species of trees in the world that can tolerate salt water. Their strategy for dealing with otherwise toxic levels of salt is to excrete it through their waxy leaves. Mangroves, specifically the underwater habitat their roots provide, offer critical environments for thousands of fish species. I soon discovered that a kayak is the ultimate fishing machine when attacking the mangroves.
Spotted sea trout are another plentiful species where we were fishing. They roam the vegetation in the channels between the mangroves and are aggressive biters. All of the fish I caught were fooled by a jig tipped with a plastic paddle-tail or a plastic shrimp body. This is a great presentation when flipping lures to the edges of vegetation from a kayak.
The new kayaks were amazing. The new model I was most impressed with was the Mirage iTrek 9 Ultralight inflatable. The hull barely tips the scales at 20 pounds but it has a carrying capacity of 350 pounds and is extremely stable. It is Hobie’s lightest, most transportable and most maneuverable pedal kayak. Here’s the kicker. Simply remove the MirageDrive and it’s ready to use as a stand-up platform. I don’t know why stand-up paddling is so popular, but if you want a premier dual-option watercraft, this one works.
Both kayaks were outstanding fishing options and the perfect choice for those who wish to access remote areas in a portable watercraft. They also make perfect sense for the angler who doesn’t have the vehicle to tow a boat. Just toss the inflatable in the back seat and go.
When it comes to kayak fishing the innovations just keep coming. Add another couple of new options to the class of 2021.