Hobie Cat kayaks expands to Gig Harbor
Kayak fishing is exploding in popularity across the country and the Pacific Northwest is no exception. Though a few years behind in development compared to other kayak fishing locations, such as southern California, the Gulf Coast, and southeast coast, Puget Sound is gaining a lot of momentum and advocates in kayak fishing.
One of the region’s leaders spearheading the growth of this movement is the Gig Harbor Fly Shop. Opened in 2009, the Gig Harbor Fly Shop had humble beginnings in a small upstairs location in downtown Gig Harbor. With strong local support, the Gig Harbor Fly Shop expanded to its current location at 3115 Harborview Drive in 2011. Kayaks were not a part of the product mix at that time but joined the rods, reels, and flies soon after.
“We have been fishing from the beach in Puget Sound for years, and it is still an enjoyable way to experience local fishing opportunities. But fishing-specific kayaks, like from Hobie and Native Watercraft, give an incredible advantage” said fly shop owner, Blake Merwin.
Merwin continues explaining the benefits of the fishing kayaks, “Fishing kayaks open up stretches of beach that are inaccessible on foot due to terrain, private property, or seclusion. Also, many of the models we stock are foot-powered; you don’t use a paddle. In the Hobie kayaks, when you push the pedals forward it pushes a fin under the boat that propels the boat forward. And it does so very efficiently and quickly. In fact, they are much quicker than kayaks you paddle, and since you are just using leg muscles you can pedal with your feet a lot longer than you can paddle with your arms. The biggest advantage though is that they are hands free. You don’t even have to put your fishing rod down to navigate the kayak.”
In addition to retail sales and rentals of Hobie and other fishing kayaks, the Gig Harbor Fly Shop also does guided fishing trips from their fleet of fishing kayaks for sea run cutthroat and salmon. Most of these day trips are in the Puget Sound region but some are offered as far away as the Hood Canal. Trips are typically run from April through November.
Hobie Cat is the industry leader in fishing kayaks, made famous by its Mirage Drive, a pedal-powered drive that resembles the fins on a penguin. Hobie Cat is known also for its strong commitment to speciality retail, wanting only specialists who know and use their products to sell them. Hobie dealerships are exclusive, limited by distance within a region and Hobie’s high dealership standards. The Gig Harbor Fly Shop announced earlier this year that they were a new Hobie Cat dealer for the south Puget Sound area.
“So far it has been a great partnership and we have been selling Hobie kayaks left and right. They are a great company to work with and have an incredible product. I appreciate their commitment to speciality retail and to excellence. They fit perfectly alongside the fly fishing industry and I really look forward to our future together.”
If you are interested in trying out a Hobie Mirage Drive kayak, the Gig Harbor Fly Shop, in partnership with their local Hobie representative, is hosting a demonstration day at the Olalla beach by Al’s Market in Olalla, WA on Saturday, July 11, 12pm-4pm.
Blake Merwin-Gig Harbor Fly Shop