A live bait tank for your Hobie kayak!
I was a little apprehensive on splashing out on the Livewell but upon opening the box i could see that it was a quality and well designed piece of kit designed specifically to work with Hobie kayaks.
An intake tube inserts into one of the cargo area scupper holes on a Hobie Kayak. An Attwood Tsunami pump then fills the live well with fresh sea water and a height-adjustable outlet tube drains water out through the other tank-well scupper hole! This flow-through system is perfect for keeping bait-fish in prime condition with a continuous supply of cold oxygenated seawater, holding upto 7-8 gallons if needed. The pump is powered by a 6V battery providing a flow rate of 250 gallons per hour, but can be ramped up to 500 gallons per hour with a 12V battery! It has 3 rod holders built-in too which is handy, with the option to add a further two if required.
The Hobie Livewell is just the tool for keeping bait fish such as Mackerel and Sandeels alive, along with crustaceans such as crabs and prawns/shrimps. Fresh and lively live bait is a very effective bait to use for some species, including Bass, Pollack, Tope, big Rays and other predatory fish.
Hobie Livewell Features Overview
Lets take a closer look at the Livewell and it's features...
At the rear of the livewell there are 3 vertical rod holders, with wide flared tops. The rod tubes feature a reel notch/slot although i've never found a rod with short enough butt to position the reel within the notch. The tubes also feature leash points and drainage holes at their base. There is the option to install an extra 2 rod holders beside these for those wanting to carry more rods! The livewell has a soft touch carry handle at the front end, for easy handling off the water.
Access to the livewell is via an 8in Twist and Seal hatch. This provides a large opening to throw bait fish into, or grab them from!
Looking inside we find the main livewell, which has a completely smooth finish with rounded corners. This minimises fish getting caught up with there noses in a corners and promotes them to swim/move to ensure water flow across the gills.
At the front end of the livewell we find an Attwood Tsunami pump that is self priming with the forwards motion of the kayak. This pump will provide a flow rate of 250 gallons per hour with a 6V battery, but can be ramped up to 500 gallons per hour with a 12V battery!
On the opposite side of the tank we find a hole, which takes the outlet pipe.
The outlet pipe is effectively just a short length of PVC pipe with some holes drilled in one end to act as an overflow point.
The pipe can be slid up and down to adjust the height of water held within the livewell. In it's highest position the livewell will hold around 8 gallons (36 litres) of water!
The wiring for the pump runs up to a switch and the battery, and a section of tubing over the wires stops any bait fish getting trapped between the wires.
The pump does not have a one-way valve which is a shame. This means if the pump is turned off the water in the tank well will drain away. The pump does however come with a black cap to place over the pump outlet to prevent water draining back through it if you want to hold water in the tank without flow. This will be handy for carrying crabs or prawns, which don't necessarily require a constant flow of water, or small delicate baitfish that may be harmed by flow. It would be nice to see a place to store the black cap within the livewell as i have a feeling it may get lost! I think i'll make a little leash for it to attach to the wiring running up from the pump.
The livewell is supplied with a DiaMec 6V 10Ah sealed Gel battery. This is a quality battery and because it is sealed it can be placed at any angle during use and the battery is maintenance-free. This will power the pump for approx. 10 hours of constant use when fully charged. The battery terminals are covered and wiring sealed in place.
Note the Battery Care Information:
The battery is stored beneath a black splash cover at the back of the livewell. The cover is held on with some bungee.
The battery sits within a recess and connects to the wiring circuit via a high quality two-way waterproof connector.
An On-Off switch on the side of the live well turns the pump on and off. Pull the switch out to turn the pump on, and push the switch in to turn the pump off.
The Livewell also has a drain plug for easy emptying of the last few drops of water that don't find their way out through the pump or outlet hole.
Setting up the Hobie Livewell
The livewell and components fresh from the box....
The Livewell is very easy to set up. The only part that needs to be altered for installation on your kayak is the length of the pump intake tube. You are supplied with a length of intake tube that you can cut to size for a custom fit to your model of Hobie. My Revolution 16 has a fairly shallow hull so i needed to cut the tube down. The tube is a push fit over the livewell intake adapter and a cable tie is supplied to lock the tubing in place. NOTE: make sure you orientate the intake filter so that it is pointing forwards to the bow (against the direction of travel) when the intake tube is attached to the livewell.
You need to cut the tube so that the black intake end filter just protrudes from the scupper hole for clear unrestricted water flow to the intake.
The livewell is now set up and can be attached to the kayak! First attach the intake tube by twisting it into place...
Then line up and insert the intake tube into the scupper hole.
The livewell can then be secured in position using the attached straps. The straps simply clip to the front pad eyes on the cargo area and tighten down using the integrated strap buckles.
The livewell is now installed and ready to use! The whole unit (empty) including the battery weighs in at 12.7lb / 5.76kg, and with the potential to hold up to 8 gallons / 36 litres of water (approx. 37kg of seawater) you can easily add 40+kg to your kayak when the livewell is in use. Be sure to take this into account if you are loading your kayak near it's upper capacity limits.
Hobie Livewell in Use
I have used the Hobie Livewell on my Revolution 16 a few times now and it really is a great piece of kit. Operation is easy, simply turn the pump on and pedal forwards - this primes the pump and begins filling the livewell with water. I managed to keep 10 average sized (8-12oz) Mackerel alive comfortably for 8 hour sessions. I had the livewell filled around 1/2 to 2/3 full with water. I can see this working great for Sandeels and even Prawns and Crabs too. Having top quality fresh live baits really does help when targeting some species so I can see some very exciting sessions coming this year with the Livewell on the back of the Revo 16!
A note for users outside of the USA....
The Hobie Livewell battery charger is supplied with a 2 pin USA power plug. If you live outside of the USA then you will require the relevant adapter plug to be able to use the charger in your country. In my case i had to buy the USA to UK plug adapter, which was fairly inexpensive from a local pharmacy.
Where to Buy?
Cornwall Canoes are an authorised Hobie retailer and stock a wide range of Hobie Kayaks and Accessories. The Hobie Livewell can be purchased on there website - see the following link: Hobie Livewell.
I will be the first to say that they are bloody expensive but having now used several Hobie products and accessories i can be fully confident that i am buying a product that is high quality and has been proven and tested to do the job that it is designed for well. I was a little apprehensive on splashing out on the Livewell but it really is a quality piece of kit and i am positive that it will be a game changer when fishing for some species.... Time to liven up the fishing with the Hobie Livewell!
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