Team HWS Angler Byron Hill, recently returned home from the Australian Championships, where he got to test out the
New MirageDrive 180!   Here is what he had to say-

After a year that saw the wife and I fish from the Gold Coast to Tasmania, I was really looking forward to the opportunity to not only take part in the Australian Hobie Fishing Championships, but to also test out the new 2017 Pro Angler 14’s. Specifically I was excited about Hobie’s new MirageDrive180 (MD-180) which comes as stock.
Verdict: It’s a game changer.
First, how does it work? Pull one tab it goes forward, pull one tab it goes backward.  Easy.
For those of you who have fished pontoons, poles, racks or heavy structure you know the importance of position. A good position allows you to cast up against a target area with the wind and tide working for you and can often be the difference between a fish or no fish. For me this is where the MD-180 came into its own.  It was much easier to be precise with the kayak position and it allowed me to get my A-game on when casting.


So I had it out for 3 days and this is what I found.

  • Problem: Drifting ever so slowly onto your target pontoon. Solution: Couple of quick pumps in reverse and the kayak is back where I wanted it to be.
  • Problem: Approaching an area fast because I have Usain Bolts legs 😉 or I’m trying to beat someone to my spot. Solution: Flick it into reverse and use the peddles to brake the forward motion.
  • Problem: Marina fishing, putting myself between 3 boats under and between the mooring ropes, to be honest we could always do that, but now I peddled in forward, fished around the back of the boats, got into those gnarly areas then simply reversed out.
  • If you get stuck, do a 3 point turn as opposed to a wide 180/270/360 turn. It is now a small manoeuvre to get back to open water.
  • When I got a snag and the yak was moving away with the current. I reversed back onto where the lure was and dealt with the snag next to the boat. No need for the planned 360 turn or the added stress on how I was going to get the lure back.
  • Launches backward and forward are easier.


But will it catch you more fish? Yes. How? Easy, more time fishing, less time moving, better casts, but I’ll let you in on a trick. I found I could quietly nose in slowly next to a pontoon or boat, cast across or behind it, let the line and lure sink, put it in reverse, and sneakily reverse back out to the open water, then retrieve the lure back under the pontoon or boat. Hellloooo fish.
I did get myself into trouble a couple of times when I was trying to peddle and change the gear from forward to reverse at the same time. I think I was putting a little too much pressure on the mechanism and it didn’t quite engage. I put that down to trying to do two things at once. Once I slowed it down and stopped before changing gears I had no problems.
Efficiency: How does it go faster when the fins are smaller? The guys at Hobie were telling me they have got a fluid dynamics guy in from Europe to make the fin more efficient. It made sense to me, I know aerodynamics but not so much fluid dynamics (conceptually fluid and air behave somewhat similar though). The new fins resemble something very similar to a high performance airplane wing (not an airliner) – specifically a symmetrical aerofoil, I’ll leave that chat for another time but I noticed some subtle changes which mean you’re now going to comfortably cruise at around 7.5-8kph instead of 6.5kph. And tou will be able to accelerate from this. I know a guy who hit >10kph (wind/hatch/tide assisted though 😉 ). Blah blah blah blah so what? You’re going to go faster and further for less effort.
The fin material is also an upgrade from that rubber we used to always scuff on structure and poles. I understand them to be Nylon instead of rubber and the drive masts are now thicker so they are more durable. If you have an older kayak model though, no problems, they fit the current ones too.
I really do think it’s a game changer. But don’t take my word for it, there’s a reason the current second hand kayak market is flooded with old comp models – All the guys are upgrading. It is definitely time for me to upgrade -Ill be down to see James at Hunter Water Sports when the wife isn’t looking.
For more information or to get your hands on a all new MirageDrive 180,  give us a call or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page!

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