We at Bestkayakreviews.net understand the frustration of having to comprehend and identify what is the perfect kayak for you the user. As such we pride ourselves on our in-depth reviews for all different kayak categories and brands. Thus, please feel free to read below and see how the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 stack up in our eyes compared to its market competitors!
Specifications Of The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
- Length 12ft 3in
- Width: 30in
- Weight Of Kayak: 29kg
- Maximum Weight Capacity: 159kg
- Depth of Hull: 13.75in
- Type of Kayak: Sit-on-top
- User/s: Single
Sit-on-top Angler Kayak
The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 is designed as a sit-on-top fishing kayak. This is different from regular kayaks which are usually sit-in. They are usually preferred due to the fact that they are unsinkable with a wide and short depth of cockpit. This also allows for a more comfortable seat as rather than using the cockpit as back support a chair can be attached to improve the posture of the user. Finally, Sit-on-tops are renowned for having more storage space comparatively making a better option for those who are purchasing with angling in mind.
Design Of The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
The Tarpon 120 from Wilderness Systems is made using the industry standard of polyethylene which is due to the malleability and durability of the material. Thus, the kayak should, in theory, last longer and have an increased life span as when collisions do occur, they are less likely to cause cracks to hull due to the use of polyethylene.
The kayak itself is purposely wide, 30 inches to be exact, to increase the stability providing the user with balance when adjusting their position within the Tarpon 120. Whether that be when casting or fetching something from stern storage.
Both the width of the kayak combined with the length also means the user is capable of standing with it providing further comfort to user as it can be quite draining staying in the same position all day.
Storage Options For The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120
Bow Waterproof Hatch
Starting at the bow of the kayak there is a waterproof front storage hatch. This is suitable for most day bags or a small amount of fishing gear. The storage space is secured via two lever which disengage the lock and allow you to swing it open via a hinge. The seal on the hatch is also rubberized to further prevent from water getting into the hold. However, we would recommend still using dry bags just in case the seal on the hatch is not perfect.
Central Waterproof Hatch
A second storage hatch can be found just in front of the seat. Similarly to the one at the front of the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120, it is also waterproofed by means of a rubber gasket seal to prevent water leaks inside. However, this area is smaller and will accommodate less gear as a result. I would suggest using this for more valuable items due to both its convenient and easy to access placement. Items such as mobile phones or fishing license are just perfect for this area.
Rubberized Mesh Pockets
Either side of the central hatch is two rubberized mesh storage pockets. This is ideally placed for items which you will use frequently out on the water. Although it is worth mentioning that the rubberized does do a good job of securing most items. If the kayak was to capsize, they would most likely fall out. We would, therefore, say these spaces are perfect for tackle trays, flasks of tea or a water bottle.
Stern Waterproof Hatch
At the rear of the kayak, you will find the stern tank well which is a really nice size. It will accommodate most items you throw at it. Items that you do wish to store within the tank well are secured by means of bungee mesh cord tie downs which are partially attached to pre-installed gear mounting rails.
On longer trips the tank well can be partial to filling up with water and as such Wilderness Systems have a solution in mind. At the front of the well, you can find two scupper holes in order to drain the tank quickly and easily.
Positives Of The Kayak
- Ample storage space
- Fast on the water
- Lightweight which aids the transportation of the kayak
- Comes with Gear Track Mounting System
- Solid Stability
- Tight turning circle due to great maneuverability and design
- Adjustable seating system
- Adjustable foot braces to increase comfort and posture
Negatives Of The Kayak
- Seat could benefit from increased cushioning
- Value for money
- Storage options provided are not all waterproofed
- Stern Storage hull is difficult to access on the water
- Cupholder is not in an easy to access position
The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 120 is relatively lightweight compared to other 12ft fishing kayaks. Thus, it is a benefit when transporting it to and from the launching site. The addition of scupper holes makes the process of transport easy as you can drain the kayak quickly. Furthermore, having dedicated carry handles at both the front and rear of Tarpon 120 allow you to easily lift the kayak when placing it on top of a truck or car.
The kayak does have built in fishing features, but these are relatively basic as there are four gear mounting tracks, two on each side of the boat. Obviously this enough but we do feel it could benefit from practical rod holder holes.
The Seat is comfortable and provides plenty of back support while out on the water. It is adjustable similar to most sit-on-top seats but is fully benefitted by the adjustable foot braces which slide back and forth providing the user with increased comfort and purchase while in the kayak.
Lastly, there is a dedicated cupholder on the kayak but this is in a relatively obscure location. It can be found towards the front of the cockpit but reaching it from the seat can be a little awkward we prefer to use the side pockets but if you are having a cold can of beer this is less than ideal.