It’s amazing what a bunch of fishing writers can cram into a few days. In just 72 hours I made some cool new friends, pumped out a bunch of blog posts, went fishing five times, caught six species of fish (redfish, red snapper, speckled trout, flounder, grouper and mackerel), and talked about fishing A LOT. And in between fishing tales there was plenty of chatter about kayaks. I mean, Hobie was footing the bill for lodging, fishing, food and drink, so it was the least we could do.I actually jumped at the chance to fish from a yak I’ve been seriously coveting for a while. I tested both of Hobie’s Pro Angler’s – the 12 and 14 and logged 20 or so hours on the water, and I only came close to falling out once. I did throw a rod completely out of my hand into three feet of clear water, but that was human error. I quickly retrieved the rod and reel before anyone noticed.

When I was roadGang of Writers headiong out for a day of angling testing the 14 we had gusty winds around 15 knots, so having bulkimus maximus under my feet was comforting.

I’d fished the PA 12 hard the previous day and was already impressed. The 14 is bigger so it’s more stable by design, but I thought the 12 was rock solid too.

What I did like was having more square footage to jump around in than I had in my first college dorm room. Plus the lean bar made standing up worry free, although one writer named Dave (whose last name rhymes with beer) managed to fall out of the 14. I think he had a good excuse but we were all laughing too hard to hear it.

Both of the PA’s are fishing vehicles of the highest order. The engineers have obviously listened to the users because every detail favors the fisherman, from the side netting for lures, sunscreen, pliers, etc. to in-hull tackle tray perfectly positioned for easy access.

Both boats are molded at the factory with inset transducer mounts and a flush cover to protect the transducer and create zero drag. The anchoring system functions well, the chair is dreamy comfy and the peddle propulsion with pinpoint rudder control is Hobie’s coup de gras. Being able to maneuver into position while using both hands to fish is smiley face. The only enhancement on my wish list would be to integrate reverse into the peddle system for stopping or backing up. I’m told the engineers are working on that, too.

In the final analysis, my love affair with the PA 12 and 14 has gotten more profound, and I anticipate many more rendezvous in the future.

Hobie’s Writers Conference in Port St Joe FL – Evening April 17 2013

Editor Fred Garth heading out for sunset kayak fishing from WindMark Village at Port St. Joe FL

Editor Fred Garth heading out for sunset kayak fishing from WindMark Village at Port St. Joe FL

My legs were sunburned and my muscles had a pretty good burn going too from peddling all day (Hobie kayaks use a peddle-drive system rather than a paddle – it frees the hands for fishing). Nonetheless, I still wanted a little more fishing so I loaded the hand cart and dragged a boat down the boardwalk to the beach.
It rolled along nicely and I hit the water for the last hour of daylight. I ended up taking more pictures than casting my rod so I didn’t hook up but what a great way to end the day.
Back at the homestead the writer’s and photographers were gathered and cooking up some mean tacos. A few cold beers went down smoothly and many lies were told, mostly about fishing. But to be completely honest, there are endless subjects writers mix effortlessly with bullshit

Hobie’s Writers Conference in Port St Joe FL – Afternoon April 17 2013

Hobie's Fishing Product Manager, Morgan Promnitz, anchored up in the Revolution 13 using the handy Stake Out Pole

Hobie’s Fishing Product Manager, Morgan Promnitz, anchored up in the Revolution 13 using the handy Stake Out Pole

We headed out early under light winds and partial clouds with plenty of blue sky. The specks were biting early and we released some nice fish in the 2- to 5-pound range. Morgan Promnitz, Hobie’s Fishing Product Manager, hooked into a beast which we quickly determined was neither a speckled trout nor a redfish.

We hoped it was a giant bull red but the fish turned out to be a seven-foot shark that dragged him around for 30 minutes before he was able to bring it to the surface so we could ID the hoss. Morgan had no choice but to cut the shark loose. Th
e Hobie kayaks are pretty incredible but fitting a six-foot-tall man and a seven-foot shark into one 13-foot kayak is a formula even Einstein couldn’t solve.

I was sampling the Pro Angler 12, a fishing machine with a chair so comfortable I’m considering putting a row of them in my home theater. Truth be told, it’s really a boat disguised as a kayak. I could stand up, turn around 180 degrees and practically walk around the thing even in light to heavy chop. It was so stable I consider testing out a few gymnastic moves but with all of the pro writer’s and photographers around, I envisioned Facebook blowing up with image of my dumb ass falling in the water. The idea left my feeble mind quickly.

As the sun climbed midway into the sky we followed our intrepid local guide, Nate Chennaux, to the sand flats to sight fish for some big specks. We caught a few nice ones and I bagged a legal flounder for the grill.

As they say, five hours of fishing is better than, well, just about anything else that does not involve sex or alcohol or both. Let’s just say we had a good, clean fun day of catching fish in Port St. Joe. Thanks to the Hobie and the gaggle of eclectic writers

Hobie’s Writers Conference in Port St Joe FL – Evening April 16 2013

Editor of Guy Harvey Magazine along with guide extraordinaire, Nathan, with a couple of the night's catch

Editor of Guy Harvey Magazine along with guide extraordinaire, Nathan, with a sample of the night’s catch.

Arrived to Port St. Joe along Florida’s stunning Panhandle beaches to a killer fish fry. The fried speckled trout, of course, was bagged by some of my fellow writers here at the Hobie Writer’s Conference. We only kept what we could eat and tossed back many more.

Ingrid Niehaus of HobieThe food (including a divine corn casserole by our hostess with the mostest, Ingrid Niehaus, from Hobie) was just a prelude to going for the big bull reds under the Panama City Bridge.

 “We floated on an outgoing tide and maneuvered the Hobie Kayaks into position therefore nailing numerous monster reds in the 20 pound range.”

Much more to come, but the water is waiting and the call of the wily speckle trout is in the air.

Leave a Reply