Review Detail

 
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Angler
 
Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 Angler 2009-11-27 13:06:39 Admin
Overall Rating of this Kayak For Fishing. 
 
4.0
Admin Reviewed by Admin    November 27, 2009 View all my reviews

2009 Tarpon 120 Angler

I bought the Tarpon 120 Angler addition (without the rudder) and figured I'd review it for anyone interested. The 140 in general has way more space than I'd need unless I was going on a week long trip or something, so the 120 is perfect.

When I was looking for a yak my important criteria was that I could get it on top of my Scion XB by myself and that it had space for at least a few days of camping gear. After reading up on many yaks I went for the Tarpon 120.

I'll review it based on my weekend on the Chesepeake (Susquehanna flats) camping on a battery island and fishing in the bay.

SPACE: The 120 has plenty of room underneath and on the stern. I have no problem getting my Crate and a good sized cooler in there with plenty of room to sneak something else in if I needed. I just use the extra space as my beer can catcher in the back. In the hatch I had 5 1.5 liter bottles, my personal item dry bag, extra beer..and plenty of room left for more fluids. I put that in the middle to balance weight. I used a large netlike bag to keep things from rolling too far back. Up front I had my solo camping gear (solo tent/food/sleeping bag/and lots of camping supplies in a dry bag all tucked in with no problems. In summary...I'm confident I could easily fit 3 days of supplies (more if creative) using the minimalist solo approach. Lot's of space. Looking at some of the Ocean Kayaks in the store...it was obvious that the space behind the seat on my tarpon was much wider than the yaks I saw.

COMFORT: I have nothing to compare it to...but after 2 days of sitting on it I had no problems. I'm 5'10 and 165lbs. Plenty of leg room, and can sit cross legged, or sidways with my legs hanging off...or stretch out. I think the seat is comfortable enough, but I have read some complaints that for heavier taller people, the backrest can get a bit uncomfortable. I've also read the opposite...so I guess it's personal preference.

PERFORMANCE: No GPS, so I don't know for sure...but I felt really good about the speed I was getting and the ease of paddling. I'm not a kayaker and I know I paddled a good 12-15 miles with little effort that weekend. Lot's of fishing breaks of course. Feels very stable sitting down...a bit wobbly (for me anyway) trying to stand. I've read some people have done ok...but not me. I can stand sort of on the seat...but I get wobbley if I change my balance at all. I need to see how far I can push it before I get wet someday. Waves will splash over the bow if you hit them wrong and an anchor attached at the side is a guaranteed wet butt (but I guess all SOT's are like that). It tracks great most of the time, but if I'm pushing it hard I can feel a bit of side to side. Also if weight is not balanced or 1 line out trolling I do end up making a lot of corrections. I guess the rudder'd edition would fix that (extra $200 bucks though )

TO FISH FROM: That's why we buy these right...Well I can't compare it to anything but I love it. I don't trust the flush rod holders behind the seat for trolling (I'll need to get leashes) and the Scotty Rod holder they install up front is too far to reach without physically moving forward. I find myself leaving the rods in the cockpit area. I need to work something else out, but the Slide Trax they installed might have potential without drilling more holes. Casting, fishing, and (the best thing about a sit on top) landing the fish using the leg scoop was all very easy. Brought some really nice Channel Cats on it with no problem and the side pockets are great places to toss extra lures and tools so I'm not reaching into my crate all the time. Beer holder takes a bit of a lean forward to get too...so I keep it closer to my out of the holder if I'm not moving (until I get a bite).

OVERALL: I love it and I'm glad I bought it as my first kayak (though if I could have afforded a Hobie I probably would have). I take it out all the time now and I'm getting a bit obsessive about going kayak fishing. I can't wait to get my anchor trolley and some better placed rod holders. I have no regrets and my search is over (until I can afford that Hobie with the flippers and spot for the sail someday)

I'll let you know if I change my mind when I get it out on the shore...Love to hear other peoples thoughts on this one.
Reviewer: Bonefish from Phily

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