The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100

8.9
8.9 score
[Editors rating (8.9) + Users rating (10.0)] / 2 = GearWeAre.com score (8.9)/10


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Editor rating: 8.9 / 10
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Pros
  • Due to its short length The Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Angler is a highly maneuverable kayak and, due to its relatively narrow width, it is a reasonably fast kayak for its length.
  • The kayak is well designed overall and the outfitting is superb. In addition, the combination of a very comfortable seat, adjustable foot braces, and the well designed cockpit makes this a pleasant kayak to fish from for extended periods of time and, it also helps to keep your fishing accessories both handy and organized.
  • It makes custom mounting of your electronics a breeze since you can position them anywhere along the Slide Trax rails you would like or, you can mount them on the center console.
  • The day hatch and bow hatch provide plenty of dry storage and, the tank well in the stern is very hand for carrying a cooler or a live bait well.
Cons
  • At only 10 feet in length this kayak is somewhat slow compared to some of the longer fishing kayaks on the market today.
  • With a beam of only 30.5”, it is somewhat less stable than fishing kayaks with wider hulls in the 33” to 36” range. Therefore, I see this kayak as somewhat of a compromise between maneuverability and speed which tends to compromise the tradition of slow but highly stable kayaks versus fast but tippy kayaks.
  • Lack of foot room when standing and thus, I would prefer to see the center console end where the cup holder starts.
Comfort

Comfort

However, since the cockpit is where a kayak angler spends most of his time, I always try to start with the seat and the seat of the Tarpon 100 Angler definitely exceeds my expectations! Featuring Wilderness Systems Phase 3 AirPro sit-on-top seat which has a contoured seat cushion and backrest that has been specially designed using multiple sized holes in the special foam padding to produce varying densities that provide extra cushioning along the spine and under the legs while comfortably supporting the buttocks, the seat of this kayak is very comfortable. In fact, not only does the seat comfortably cushion your buttocks and thighs, it also does an excellent job of supporting your lower back. In addition, Wilderness Systems has paired the Phase 3 AirPro seat with adjustable Keepers foot braces to comfortably accommodate paddlers with different inseam lengths.
Additional Features

Additional Features

Also, there is a day hatch mounted amidships which is handy for keeping small items dry and yet, close to hand and, there is a pair of mesh side pockets on either side of the day hatch which are also handy for storing items you are not concerned about keeping dry. However, this means that the space immediately in front of the seat is not available as a standing platform and with a console that extends from the day hatch to the bow hatch, the Tarpon 100 Angler is not particularly conducive to stand-up casting or fishing. On the other hand, with Slide Trax rails mounted on either gunwale both fore and aft of the seat as well as Yak Attack 1” and 1.5” Screwball mounts and a Yak Attack Zooka Tube rod holder combined with molded spaces specifically meant for mounting a GPS and/or fishfinder, the cockpit of the Tarpon 100 Anger is well appointed for seated fishing.
Storage

Storage

In addition, there are Orbix dry storage hatches both amidships and in the bow and a tank well in the stern which is perfect for carrying a small cooler or a live bait well. In fact, the only two features missing from this kayak that I would like to see incorporated are a paddle keeper and anchor trolley.
Stability

Stability

Last, at 10’ in length with a beam of 30 ½”, the Tarpon 100 Angler is both stable and highly maneuverable and thus, it is a good choice for fishing on ponds, small lakes, or class 1 and class two streams and rivers.
Bottom Line

Bottom Line

When I take into consideration Wilderness Systems reputation for producing high quality kayaks and combine that with both the specifications and the design of this kayak, then I would have to say “yes” I would purchase one.

However, having said that, I also have to say that this kayak is a bit too short for my taste but, I also have to admit that I have been back into some coves and creeks where this kayak would excel.

Thus, all things considered, I would have to say that this is a well-designed and well-built kayak but, it is best suited for fishing on ponds, small lakes, and mild streams and rivers.