Not yet named PA14 vs BoHobien Rhapsody (PA12)

The question keeps coming up since I moved to the Hobie PA14 – is it better than the PA12?

Comparing an awesome kayak to its big brother doesn’t seem fair, there is no loser with either of the kayaks. But for those who have asked, I am going to give my view – or why I would choose the 14 over the 12.

Now, I am not going to compare them by drive differences; I did not have the 180 Mirage Drive on my PA12 – and never saw the need for it. I carry the Bending Branches Angler Pro Carbon Paddle, so there was never an issue turning or backing out of tight spots; so in my head, the drive was overrated. My head was completely wrong….upgrade! The first time I was out, I didn’t use it at all. The second trip, I found myself under a tree and thought “let’s give it a try”; it was freaking awesome.

The benefits of the Mirage Drive design allowed me to move backwards with the same speed as moving forward. As I tested it more, I found I could “feather” backwards too. The steering is not quite as responsive in reverse, but it still functions well; and I will always carry my Bending Branches paddle for the tighter spots and to help with quicker turns in forward and reverse.

About Stability…

The PA12 is stable – more stable than other boats I have tested. I thought the Jackson Big Tuna was pretty solid, but when I switched to the Hobie, I found that I could stand with ease.

The PA14, with the extra width allows me to almost walk around on the deck. I am not a skinny guy, so I was a bit leery in the smaller Hobie; that is gone now. I have actually stood and made casts while drifting with the wind.

About Speed…

Maybe the drive plays a part, but the 14 seems much faster with less effort. I could out run other pedal yaks in the PA12 (not the Torqeedo guys), but the PA14 makes it easier to maintain the faster pace with less effort. Now I know why I couldn’t outrun Jay Wallen to a spot on Kentucky Lake!

About Maneuverability…

It is very counterintuitive (big word of the day) to me that the PA14 handles better than the PA12; but it does. It like thinking that my Nissan Titan will turn in the same space as my Joy’s old Sentra…then finding that it can (not true of the truck/car scenario by the way).

I fished in a small creek for my first adventure and was surprised by the turning ability of the larger PA. I spent the day thinking of the hull differences, the draft; the physics of it all. Not really…fish were biting, but I have thought about it since.

About “Getting where I like to go”…

I fish shallow when given the opportunity.   Often too shallow for the Mirage Drive (another reason I carry a full paddle), so I was afraid I would lose some of that ability with the larger boat. Not true. I have found that the Hobies will go as shallow as most kayaks on the market, and I cannot tell a real difference between the two. I will say that the PA 14 seems to track better when paddling; and doesn’t seem to require more effort than the 12.

I did have some trouble fitting the PA14 on the bunks of the Tennessee Trailer. It took me a few tries to find the correct spacing to keep it in place as I rounded corners, or backed down ramps (see post about broken Bending Branches Angler Pro Carbon – still crying about it- paddle; new one on the way). But now it stays solidly in place; the kayak rides well on their trailer.

About Weight…

The PA12 is easier to manhandle and fits in the bed of a Titan much easier without a bed extender. I hope I never have to carry either kayak, I will pick Joy’s Compass if I am going walkabout with a kayak under my arm; the 14 loses this battle. But since I have a trailer (and the length actually makes it easier to load on a truck rack)…and since I am too old to wrestle a kayak anyway…the PA14!

About Storage…

The deck is simply more comfortable on the PA14. I really didn’t think the slight difference in width would matter, but it just feels less crowded. For a guy that carries 7-8 rods and drops them beside me to grab another after a bass short strikes a topwater bait, it is great! Maybe when I perform that “drop and cast” signature awesomely awesome move…I will not have to spend the next twenty minutes fishing for a rod…not that I have done that four times this year or anything.

Although I couldn’t possibly carry more stuff on the 14 than I did on my 12 (cause I don’t own anything I didn’t already carry!), there is room under the front hatch and on the back deck to allow it…maybe one more tackle bag full of spinner baits? Hmmm…??

——–

So…those are the reasons I would pick the Hobie PA14 over the PA12. Again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with the PA12, I loved my BoHobien Rhapsody and all of the adventures we shared. I am keeping it because I still love the boat – and want to share with family and those just wondering what it is like to be in one of the best kayaks on the market. I was just fortunate enough tournament fishing this year to be able to upgrade.

And since you asked, thought I would share what I see as benefits to me.

Author: Mike Cheatham

Me…Mike Cheatham email…mikecheathamfishing@gmail.com something to know……….fished my whole life; now from a kayak….

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