The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Angler Review
The Tarpon an excellent kayak that not only tracks well but rides through the water at a fast pace. This kayak also provides fishermen and fisherwomen with the ability to maneuver at a high speed, for those who are experienced kayakers. With unmatched speed capability and extreme stability with accessible rigging options suitable for serious kayak paddlers, the Tarpon is becoming a very popular choice for anglers across the world.
Wilderness is one of the superior brands on the market and consistently make great kayaks, with the Tarpon in our opinion, being one of the best yet. This model will not win any awards for design, but it will win over fans of classic kayaks.
What to Consider when Buying a Fishing Kayak
Before you make any investment in any kayak you should familiarize yourself with these main factors that you should consider. Of course there are many other concerns when you are shopping for a kayak but these main considerations should take priority. Consider these main factors to help you make an informed choice about the kayak you purchase:
- Skill level
- Sit-on-top vs. Sit-in kayaks
- Type of construction
- Stability vs. Speed
- Intended use
|Type||Sit on top|
|Rigged for fishing||Yes|
- Very maneuverable due to its short length
- Very good outfitting
- Comfortable seating
- Adjustable foot braces
- Well though out cockpit
- Custom mounting (for fish finders)
- Good dry storage
- At 10ft long this is slow compared to the average kayak
This great sit-on-top kayak offers great drainage and ventilation, so is perfect for a day of fishing. There is a comfortable seat that allows for good access and the material is very durable. The stern tank well with bungee will accommodate a large dry bag full of gear, a cooler, or the fish that didn’t get away.
Size and Weight
The Tarpon kayak has an overall capacity of 325 pounds and is great for anglers on the smaller end of the scales or who do not take a lot of equipment on their fishing trips.
If you are used to going on long expeditions and taking a lot of equipment then the capacity may be an issue for you. For us, the balance between stability and maneuverability is really good due to the shorter length.
Coming in at 61 pounds it is relatively light compared to some other fishing kayaks and those who are not very strong will love the fact that it can be moved by one person.
We like the fact that there is a free space in front of the seat that gives anglers standing room to move about and get into the action without worrying about tripping over a protrusion. Did we say we liked this feature? In fact, we LOVE this feature.
The “AirPro Freedom Elite” technology allows anglers to fish for long periods without becoming uncomfortable or risking getting a bad back. We have to say the back support was far superior to that we have seen on some models within this price range.
The cushioning on the seat is some of best we have tried and you will be forgiven for taking a power nap in between catches, it is that comfortable.
This seating is something that we did not think we would like as much, but is something that we have not been able to stop talking about, it is that comfortable.
Like we have said, this kayak is not all about what it looks and feels like, it has many innovative features, such as foot braces that you can adjust and adjustable seating. These features may seem trivial but when you think of the varying sizes of anglers, you can think about how a few inches of extra room can be beneficial.
Larger anglers often go for Wilderness kayaks due to this extra room and it is one of the main reasons people choose the Tarpon model. If there is room to stand up and get as close to the fishing action as possible, it is a massive tick in the box from us.
One aspect of the Tarpon kayak that we really like is the Orbix day hatch that can be found in front of the seat and gives anglers a good amount of storage space to keep your essentials dry. Unlike some other Wilderness models, there is plenty of standing room in this kayak, due to the lack of some other features.
This is where personal preferences come in, as all anglers want different things. If modern trends and fancy design features are your thing, then this may not be the model for you, but if you like your kayaks simple, then you cannot go wrong with this kayak.
As we mentioned earlier, the center console is placed in such a way that it does not protrude, the way some consoles can, so it gives great space in front of the seating area. It is the little things like this that make a big difference to anglers, especially if you are going to be out in the water all day and need to feel as free as possible.
On the downside, for us at least, is the speed that this kayak can reach. As it is only 10ft long, it is very slow compared to a lot of kayaks. Anglers who travel long distances or who like to go fast are best passing on this kayak as it will disappoint. If, however, you want to feel safe and plan on paddling to areas in which maneuverability is key, then it is definitely worth considering the Tarpon.
Quite honestly, the speed is the only issue that we have with this kayak, which says a lot for the designers of this model. When the only issue is something that ultimately comes down to personal preference, you know that the product is very good.
The stability and maneuverability makes this kayak great for fishing in ponds and rivers, as well as other calmer water where you have to get around a lot of greenery and debris. We have talked enough about the appearance and speed of the Tarpon, now we want to get to the nitty gritty of what other features makes this kayak stand out from other fishing kayaks.
The Tarpon features a very large cockpit opening that has a rim so that you can add a spray skirt and an area where you can attach a console for extra storage and places to put your paddle, electronic equipment and camera attachments.
There is room for most sizes of cool box and with the speed of this kayak you will be darting about the waters picking up plenty of fish, so make sure your cooler is not too small!
The Tarpon stability is due to the pontoon-type hull design, which is becoming popular in the new generation of stand-up kayaks. The Tarpon is definitely not flimsy! The weight of the kayak is pretty average and while you may need help getting the kayak onto the rod of your car, it should be easy to launch and move about small distances without the help of a friend. If you are not very strong and cannot always get help, then a trailer is a consideration.
There is plenty of dry storage space, as we mentioned earlier and there will be no problem finding room for your cool box. You often need to compromise on storage and standing room when you are preparing for an expedition, but the Tarpon takes away this problem in a very effective way.
A lot of the features of this kayak are great, some very unique even, so we think that this would be a wise investment for a novice angler or experienced anglers who like a slower pace of fishing.
Critics have said that this kayak is a little old fashioned, without as many modern features as some kayaks of the same price, but there is nothing wrong with liking classic features, in our opinion. Whilst this isn’t a kayak we would shout out about, we do think that it is a great kayak for those who like an easy to maneuver and stable kayak, rather than one that will build up a good speed.
We have to confess to liking longer kayaks, but we are experienced in kayak fishing and recognize that all anglers will have different needs. If you are looking for a lower priced kayak that is ideal to paddle on lakes, estuaries and other calm waters, the Tarpon would be a great choice for you.