By Paul Lebowitz
Did you see this one coming? I didn’t. Wow.
Hobie is kicking out the two-person Mirage Pro Angler 17T, and it plays several neat tricks. If the PA 14 is a battleship, this one’s a Nimitz class super carrier. The feature list reads like a novel, so settle in.
Get this: The excellent Vantage seats (two!) can be set up in the old-school look-at-the-back-of-the-front-person’s head style, or face-to-face. Hobie’s press release calls it social style. It will be ideal for fishing with small fry. Then there’s solo, just me, myself and I and acres of deck space.
Mirage Drive motivation is a given (you know, the company’s elegant pedal drive, with Turbo Fins naturally). There’s a battery platform for a crate, cooler or optional trolling motor. Why not? The PA 17T is bigger than some powerboats. That motor can mount on the bow where it rightly belongs on this eco-friendly bass boat. Stern is another option. Why not have two?
"We challenged ourselves to expand our Pro Angler collection with a fully decked-out guide-style tandem where the aft passenger could provide MirageDrive power and put the front angler on the fish. We also wanted it to have the ability to hold an optional trolling motor for use as a bass boat. Our new Pro Angler 17T meets that challenge," Doug Skidmore, president of Hobie Cat Company, said via a press release.
With so much space for rigging, it would be easy for Hobie to leave it to the deck to get things done, but they’ve introduced a new H-Rail System for all those gizmos we love to mount on our fishing platforms. Sturdy 12-sided (!) rails run the length of each side. A pair each of Hobie’s new 17T accessories come with the boat to get the individualized rigging started. These are: H-Rail Mounting Plates, Rod Racks, and Cup Holders; all H-Rail accessories are compatible with the round mounting bars on the Pro Angler 12 and 14. There’s room for 10 rods in the horizontal holders. Ten!
What else, you’re asking? There has to be more. There is: A large rudder with a new drop-down tracking skeg to help the PA 17T hold its course in rough conditions. An optional anchor trolley kit fastens to the boat via a line of brass inserts that run along each side. It can be used with an anchor, drift chute or stakeout pole – and that’s not counting the Power-Pole Micro that can be attached on the stern using a custom Hobie mount.
There’s in-hull storage too, tons of it. A large bow hatch with a liner is up front in the accustomed location. There are three (!) rectangular deck hatches, each equipped with the Hobie Tackle Management System. And a built-in Lowrance ready transducer plate with pre-installed wire plugs. Additional optional accessories built specifically for the 17T include a new Livewell XL, Adjustable H-Bar, the H-Rail Tackle Bin, and a trailer. I’m sure I’m forgetting something else. Unreal. It’s almost too much to process.
With so much boat, you know this is no lightweight. The hull weighs in at 185 pounds; 230 pounds when fully outfitted. Capacity is a hundy short of a half-ton. Hobie expects to ship the first of these beauties in fall 2014. The Pro Angler 17T will retail for $5,299. For comparison’s sake, a Hobie Pro Angler 14 weighs 138 pounds rigged and ready and costs $3,000. In a way, the 17T comes at a bulk discount.
It’s Hobie being Hobie, turning heads again.