Winter 2002 Forward to a Friend

By Jennifer Fischer

When Hobart Manns walks into a room, people can’t help but notice. It’s not just his imposing, 6-foot-4-inch stature – but also the rare energy and elegance he carries with him. Those qualities, combined with a knack for hooking both people and fish, make this Portland, Oregon, “retiree” a popular television and radio personality, a columnist for Freshwater News and the first Subaru Outback Angler.

Hobart Manns, the Outback Angler“The Outback Angler sponsorship helps us develop a brand presence in all levels of the fishing industry,” said John Hubach, regional fixed operations manager at Subaru of America, Inc. “Hobart is a respected member of the fishing community. In fact, he was recently elected to the Steelheaders Hall of Fame.”

Drive magazine caught up with Hobart and asked him a few questions.

How did you become the Outback Angler?

“You might say that it was love at first sight. When the Outback was introduced to the automotive writers here in the Northwest, I was really taken by what the Outback offered in cargo space, driver room and headroom for a person my size. Conversations with Subaru public relations personnel developed into a program that would allow me to expose the features of the Outback to the fishing community.”

What does the Outback Angler do?

“I visit Subaru dealers throughout the Northwest, sharing outdoor cooking tips, new ideas and locations for fishing and camping trips. Sometimes I present a traveling antique road show where I appraise the value and explain the age and use of old fishing tackle. Sometimes I’m a guest speaker at a club or outdoor event. On the radio, the Outback Angler hosts a weekly, one-hour program on fishing and the outdoors.”

You describe your vehicle as an “outdoor recreational tool.” Please elaborate.

“Perhaps the best comparison of the Outback to tools might be that the Outback is the crescent wrench of SUVs, as one size can fit almost every job. One day it tows my boat and gear of about 1,200 pounds into every nook and cranny from northern British Columbia to southern Oregon. The next day it gets loaded with all the gear I need to travel to a sport show and cook. Then I pick up three fishing companions and all their stuff and we’re off to some high desert lake to fish.”

Have you learned anything as the Outback Angler?

“One day the fish taught me how to fish. We hiked into a lake and spent the better part of the day with not one bite. In boredom, I changed baits and threw the used bait into the lake. It took about a minute for the bait to drift down almost out of sight. Then there was a flash and the fish took my discarded bait. The flash went off in my mind and I removed all the weight from my gear. It was limit in just minutes. From that day on I have learned to pay attention to what the fish can tell you.”

Who is your hero?

“I have many, all of whom have blazed trails in writing and outdoor adventures. As a child, I read every magazine about the outdoors available. Those writers were the heroes of my youth. They went to places of wonder and caught the great fishes of the world.”

Tell the Outback Angler to have a great day and he’s likely to respond, “There are no bad days, only greater challenges.” We wish Hobart many more great challenges down the road.

Jennifer Fischer is the former editor of Drive and is a frequent contributor to the magazine.

At the crack of dawn, Hobart climbs behind the wheel of his Subaru Outback and travels from Portland to the Ekone Oyster Company in Washington’s Willapa Bay. There he begins taping a segment on oyster harvesting, processing and preparation for “Northwest Outdoors,” a program sponsored by a public television station in Yakima, Washington.

Working quickly before the tide returns, Ekone Oyster Company owner Nick Jambor pulls oysters from the bountiful beds as Rick Spencer, the show’s producer and photographer, keeps the camera rolling. Inside, Nick demonstrates how microscopic oyster larvae are cultivated and later transferred to the outdoor beds for good eating down the road.

There is still much work to be done. Back in the Subaru Outback, Hobart and his crew navigate mountains of oyster shells as they travel to Ekone Oyster’s processing site a few miles away.

Subaru and Camera
Workers steam and shuck heaps of plump, delicious oysters for worldwide distribution to restaurants and shops. Filming continues as Hobart displays a handful of pearls extracted from the day’s bounty of oysters.

oysters and camera
Next stop is a 10-minute drive to Willapa Bay’s Goose Point Oysters for an interview with owner David Nisbet. The company uses cutting-edge packaging technology in its unique, high-pressure processing method. The result? Fresh, shucked oysters anytime, anywhere.

Stacks of freshly harvested oysters are shoveled into boxes and brought to Goose Point Oysters for packaging. Inside, Hobart watches as David Nisbet explains the special packing process.

Proprietor Sherry Lyster updates Hobart on the local outdoor news and fishing hot spots.

The cultivation, harvesting and processing segments are complete – now it’s time to cook. Hobart climbs back in his Subaru Outback for a 90-minute trip to The Seafood School in Astoria, Oregon. Eric Jenkins, The Seafood School’s head chef, is well known for finding new and delicious ways to prepare seafood. In fact, many of his recipes are printed on cards and distributed at Subaru dealership events.

Nearly a half-dozen seafood dishes later, filming is complete. All leave the session satisfied and tired – but well fed.

Eric Jenkins prepares a delectable recipe with a batch of fresh oysters for a taped outdoor segment with Hobart.


Hobart gathers much of the information for his column and broadcasts by shooting the breeze with outdoor and fishing enthusiasts in the region. A one-hour drive to Rockaway Beach takes Hobart to Lyster’s, a favorite stop for bait, tackle and good conversation.

Time for another ride in the Subaru Outback. Returning to The Seafood School, Hobart tapes several bonus segments for future programs on seafood preparation with Chef Eric – this time indoors.

Throughout his busy week, Hobart still manages to research and write “A Cast Away,” his monthly fishing and outdoors column for Freshwater News.

Dangerously inclement weather forces Hobart to cancel today’s plans to participate in the opening day of salmon fishing on the Columbia River.

The whirlwind trip with Hobart winds down with a stop at KOTK (1080 AM) studios for a live broadcast of the Outback Angler’s weekly, one-hour commercial radio program on fishing and the outdoors.

On the air, Hobart and his co-host, Jack Glass, discuss the hot fishing spots of the week.