Pedaling across South Florida with Hobie Kayaks and the Power-Pole MicroFeatured Stories . Products
Florida is known for its great fishing. What makes it special, however, is just how diverse those great fishing environments can be.
The Atlantic Ocean side of the peninsula offers some of the best open water big game fishing in the nation. On the Gulf of Mexico side is hundreds of miles of shallow water flats and mangrove shorelines. In between is an array of freshwater lakes and rivers.
Nowhere is that diversity more pronounced than at the southernmost tip of the state which made it the ideal opportunity to test out the upgraded Power-Pole Micro Spike Driver Anchor on a variety of different Hobie kayaks in a mix of different shallow water environments.
The first stop in the journey was Everglades City in Southwest Florida to explore the coast known as the 10,000 Islands. This stretch of coast, which is part of the Everglades watershed, is known for its mazes of mangrove-lined barrier islands that serve as both an estuary to a variety of species and a feeding ground for Florida’s favorite gamefish.
The big snook in this region follow the tides here. During high tide they can be found in the shallow lagoons and mangrove mazes of the islands. As the tides recess, they move into the deeper channels and pockets waiting to ambush the schools of greenbacks as they are swept out of the shallows.
The Hobie Mirage Drive propulsion made crossing the open water of the bay to get to the barrier islands a breeze, even pushing into a stiff current and a brisk wind. Once inside the maze of mangroves, the Micro made parking up on the edge of the channels leading into the alcoves, or even along an exposed sandbar to get off the vessel to walk along the shallows, just a button press away.
From there, it was just a matter of working the mangrove line and oyster bed shelves with medium spinning tackle and a underspin jig with a soft bait that mimics the foraging greenbacks that make up the gamefish’s primary prey.
The next stop on this journey, took us further down to the end of the peninsula to Flamingo in the Florida Everglades — the southernmost point of the state that isn’t part of the Florida Keys. As the final destination for the Everglades watershed, this area is known for it nutrient-rich water that flows off the giant river of grass to create an estuary for a wide variety of fish species as it flows out into Florida Bay.
The shallow water flats, with its murky, tannic-colored water, stretches for miles in each direction, rarely reaching depths over three or four feet. These grass flats hold schools of red drum that can number into the hundreds, if not thousands.
Once the giant schools were finally located, the Hobie’s Mirage drive system made keeping up with them easy while freeing up our hands to keep making constant casts toward the rolling reds. An assortment of jerkbaits that reflected and glimmered through the cloudy water pulled just over the bottom of the grassy flats proved to be the formula that resulted in red after red being pulled.
As an added bonus, pods of the resident tarpon could be found boiling in the channels that led out to the Snake Bight flats. Unlike, the migratory schools which travel annually between the Bahamian basin and the Gulf of Mexico and are silver with an olive green hue along their backs, these tarpon can be found in this area year round, which is evident by their deep, rosy coloration. After experiencing the aerial acrobatics of a 80-pounder on light tackle, the “poon fever” took hold. The latter portion of the day was spent deploying the Micro anchor on the shallow edge of the channel in front of the pods as they made their way along the deeper water, a process that was repeated for several miles.
THE BIG O
With several days of fishing in South Florida’s saltwater under our belts, it was time to test our rigs in a slightly different environment. Due north of the Glades is the crown jewel of Florida freshwater fishing, Lake Okeechobee. The 720 square mile lake has an average depth of just nine feet, making the Micro an essential tool in this environment.
An assortment of rubber worms, whether wacky rigged or senko-style, were cast around the heavy vegetation cover that grows in the alcoves on the northern side of the lake. The 360-degree capability of the Hobie Mirage Drive came in handy when maneuvering through the thick vegetation or when trying to back out of pockets once a fish was hooked to keep it from becoming entangled in the heavy grasses. The bite through the day was steady but as the wind started to pick up over the lake, it was time to bring this adventure to a close.
The upgraded Micro proved to be able to handle all of the different conditions the team was able to throw at it, whether it was wind or heavy currents, saltwater or fresh, hard bottom or thick muck. By pairing it with the various Hobie Kayaks, it was clear that the combination gave anglers the ultimate advantage when fishing South Florida.
With the latest C-Monster 2.0 hardware and software upgrade to the Micro, you can now use the Power-Pole app on your iOS or Android compatible smartphone or tablet to connect, customize and control the anchor, including adjusting the anchor force or using the auto Up/Down feature. This upgrade also allows the Micro to operate with any existing CM2 remote like the Power-Pole Foot Switch, Key Fob and Dash Switch.
The updated Micro housing also has improved topside controls and a fresh new look that is easier to read and operate and also provides IP-69 waterproof standards to give you the durability and high performance you’ve come to expect from Power-Pole.
Hobie, along with several other major kayak manufacturers, offers customized mounting plates that directly integrate the Micro anchor that are built specifically for their vessels. For a complete list of kayak partners that offer this direct integration, click here.
Photos by William Bean and Palmer Holmes
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