Hobie Compass Buyers Guide

Information on Hobie Compass Fishing Kayaks

The Hobie Compass has been our best selling fishing kayak since it launched back in 2018 and this is largely due to how many boxes it ticks and how well suited it is for fishing our local waterways. It’s ability to hold it’s own in a variety of conditions makes it a great fit for kayak fishing ventures into Port Phillip and Western Port bays and it’s equally good in any one of the myriad of creeks, rivers, lakes and dams Victoria has to offer. Boasting great all-round performance, the Compass delivers a finely tuned balance of speed, stability, maneuverability, fishability, comfort and ease of use.

Of course it helps that the Compass is relatively light weight and a sensible size that makes it easy to handle off the water. Last but not least it’s also one of the least expensive fishing kayaks available from Hobie. The Compass is often compared to the Hobie Outback and Pro Angler models and is by far the cheaper option. It would be wrong to call it a downgrade though, because it’s not. While it doesn’t have some of the bells and whistles found on those models, it’s got enough storage and mounting utility to accommodate most kayak anglers with ease.

It’s also worth pointing out that although the Compass is lacking a few features found on the more expensive options, it’s extremely easy to customize and accessories. This suits anglers who want to fit out their kayak with exactly what the need (and only what they need) in order to keep it lean and mean.

Put simply, for a lot of our customers the Compass is a no-brainer. What may require a bit more thought, however, is exactly which way to go with it. At the time of writing there is numerous options available which we’re going to decipher below.

Hobie Compass 2021 vs 2022 Models

Currently there are both 2021 and 2022 models available and while identical in most ways there are a few notable differences worth pointing out, the most obvious being the price disparity. 2021 models are $300 cheaper than their 2022 counterparts, so there’s that. The seat has also been changed in 2022 models and we are finding that some people prefer the older style seat found in the 2021 model, some prefer the newer version and some people find them equally comfortable.

There have been exceptions to trends we are seeing, but generally speaking larger and or taller people seem to gravitate towards to original seat design, whereas smaller framed people seem more inclined to prefer the newer one. This may be due to the slight difference in the seat position, which is marginally further forward on the newer model, meaning that the 2021 model does have a bit more leg room. The original seat can also be raised (using BerleyPro Compass Seat Risers) whereas this isn’t possible on the 2022 model.

So with both 2021 and 2022 models available, that’s the first decision to make. Once you’ve decided which way you want to roll with year models, then we need to discuss MirageDrive options. While Hobie Compass kayaks are supplied by the factory with specific MirageDrive specifications, we offer our customers the choice to “upgrade” or “downgrade” the drive based on budget and requirements.

Hobie Kick-Up MirageDrives 2021

As a standard plain coloured Compasses are supplied with MD180 Kick-Up Drives fitted with standard length fins, whereas the camouflage colour models come with MD180 KU turbo fins. We offer our customers the ability to swap the MD180 drive for a Glide Tech Kick-Up drive on 2022 models which does amount to a pretty significant saving. While this particular drive option doesn’t pedal backwards, it is a simpler design that offers excellent performance (they call it the Glide-Tech drive for a reason).

We also offer the 2021 models with the original Glide Tech drive, which amounts to an even greater saving. Although this drive option doesn’t feature fins that kick up or the ability to pedal in reverse, they are built tough and perform really well.

So once you’ve determined exactly which model and MirageDrive option you’re going with then it’s just a matter of figuring out how to go about customizing it to suit your own needs. The best advice we can offer here – and this is especially true if you are new to kayak fishing – is that you don’t need to go crazy accessorizing a Compass kayak to get it out and start using it. In fact you could easily slide it out onto the water and go fishing without adding any extras at all and many people do.

Reaching the paragon of fishing kayak customization is a journey, not an entry point. What we mean by that if you’re new to it all, sometimes the best way to figure out exactly what you need and where to install it is to get your kayak onto the water first. There is no single customization configuration silver bullet that suits everyone – kayak fishing is a very individual sport and it can take a bit of trial and error to figure out what your needs are and what works best for you. That all said, providing we know what your intended usage scenarios are we can certainly help guide you on what kinds of accessories you might want to consider. And of course there are a number of optional extras available for Compasses that are highly popular that we find ourselves recommending to a lot of customers.

In the interests of “safety first” it goes without saying (but we’re saying it anyway) that a Personal Floatation Device vest of some description is the first thing you’re going to need. So if you don’t already have one, start looking into PFDs.

Hobie Compass Package Camo 2021

You’re also probably going to need a kayak wheel cart to wheel it around so consider your options there. The vast majority of our customers will opt for the Trax 2 beach sand wheel cart but a lot of the guys fishing inland waterways will go for the Heavy Duty cart instead. And if you intend to car-topping the kayak you might also want to look into the Compass Kayak Loader, which helps protect the stern and rudder of the kayak when loading onto roof racks. Whether you are car-topping or transporting it on a kayak trailer, you might also want to consider the protective kayak cover we designed for the Compass.

Hobie Compass Fishing Kayak Fitout

There are loads of storage options available for the Compass. Among Hobie’s most popular add-ons for the Compass are the rectangular hatches, which a lot of customers will use to replace the round hatch in front of the seat, and then relocate the round hatch to the bow, which provides extra storage utility in the hull. 2021 model Compasses can be fitted with both vertical and horizontal orientated rectangular hatches, whereas 2022 models can only be fitted with horizontal ones.

In order to add convenient storage pockets on each side of the deck a lot of kayak anglers will add Hobie’s rubber mesh pockets, and or BerleyPro SideBro and Jig Buckets. These are super easy to install later, so if you’re not sure if you need them wait until you’re sure you do.

Most anglers will add a fishing rod holder or two (there are numerous options available), typically installed into the gear tracks that are built into the gunwales. Our most popular rod holder (and it isn’t even close) is Railblaza’s Rod Holder 2, but almost of the rod holders found on our fishing rod holder page can be installed onto the Compass. Hobie’s rod extender tubes are often added to the flush rod holders behind the seat in order to raise the position of the rods. And if you were so inclined to add a H-crate or Livewell into the rear storage well, you could also add extra rod holder tubes onto either of those. Suffice to say your fishing rods won’t be lacking holders if you need them.

You’re probably thinking of adding a fish finder as well and everything we have available can be fitted to a Compass kayak. Most anglers will opt for a smaller, lighter and less obtrusive sounder such as the Lowrance Hook2 4, Hook Reveal 5 or Garmin Striker 4 or Striker 5. If you insist on side-scan functionality we recommend looking closely at the Garmin Striker 7sv or otherwise a Lorwance Hook Reveal 7. Keep in mind that because sidescan transducers need to protrude beneath the base of the hull to work properly, you’ll need to add a Berleypro transducer adapter. Its also worth remembering that larger units (7″+) that have more features will drain a battery faster, so in some ways less is more.

Bixpy J2 Mounted on Hobie Compass Kayak

As impressive as the MirageDrive pedal propulsion system is, we are also finding electric motors to be more and more popular with Hobie kayaks lately and the Compass is no exception. The most popular option we have available for the Compass is the Bixpy J2 motor, which can be fitted to the stern or otherwise used to replace the pedals with a thru hull adapter. Our Haswing Electrolyte motor has also been a popular option for replacing the pedal drive.

There are also numerous customization you can add to personalize your Compass, from deck pad kits, keel protectors, steering handles, gear tracks and more. None of them are necessary to go forth and catch fish from a Compass, but it’s nice to know there’s no shortage of extras available when and if you want to take advantage of them. We have a Compass Parts page dedicated for products developed for the Compass, but there are also a lot of generic Hobie kayak parts that can be used on a Compass, not to mention the myriad of kayaking accessories and kayak fishing gear that can be utilized.

Hobie Compass Fishing Kayaks 2021 Models