On The Fly Gear
By Polly Dean
Photos by Jimmy Jacobs
Known for their easily fishable and maneuverable kayaks, due to their MirageDrive pedal propulsion system, Hobie recently released their lightest and fastest kayak yet.
Sampling this newest addition to their fly-fishing-friendly fleet while chasing snook and redfish at Matlacha in southwest Florida, I found the iTrek9 Ultralight Inflatable was a pleasure and like Hobie’s other kayaks was comfortable and efficient for fly anglers. I was able to have my hands free to cast and fish while my legs did the work in maneuvering the vessel. The comfortable raised seat is easy to cast from and the sturdiness of the vessel adds confidence for making casts in any direction. The clean and well-designed boat has minimal surfaces that interfere or get in the way of fly-lines while fishing.
The new iTrek 9 Ultralight Inflatable packs easily into a convenient rolling backpack bag allowing for transport and storage in smaller spaces. It can be loaded into cars, RVs or boat, and can even be checked onto a plane for traveling to your favorite fishing destination. The iTrek 9 Ultralight is designed to help you reach remote waters with minimal hassle.
The kayak’s diagonal drop-stitch construction inflates to 10 pound per square inch, delivering the same rugged rigidity and nimble performance as Hobie’s other vessels, but in an extremely lightweight package. It features their famous MirageDrive pedal-system with Kick-Up Fins and rudder control. The iTrek 9 Ultralight can turn on a dime and navigate tight waterways with ease. The adjustable elevated seat is lined with breathable nano-mesh fabric, so anglers stay comfortable and cool no matter how long they’re on the water.
It’s versatile, too. Simply remove the MirageDrive and grab the three-piece SUP paddle and the iTrek 9 is ready to be used as a stand-up platform. It comes with a high-pressure hand pump, a high-volume electric pump and three-piece paddle. The steering handle mounts on the left or right side of the seat according to one’s preference. When inflated its length is 9 foot, 5 inches with a width of 40 inches. Fully rigged it is still lightweight at 36 pounds, but boasts a capacity of up to 350 pounds. The MSRP for the iTrek 9 is $2,199 MSRP. For more details visit the Hobie Kayak website.