Wilderness Tarpon 130 X
A tried-and-true classic of a fishing kayak has been upgraded to serve your paddling and casting needs all the more fully. Wilderness Systems is debuting its Tarpon 130X in the spring of 2016, exciting news for fans of the original Tarpon series—and, heck, any angler who appreciates a well-made fishing ‘yak.
You’ll see much that’s familiar on the Tarpon 130X: It’s got, generally, the same best-of-all-worlds design that makes the Tarpon such a popular go-to sit-on-top boat for paddlers of all shapes, sizes, and inclinations. At 13 feet and 72 pounds, the 130X—solidly built of roto-molded plastic—is larger than the Tarpon 100 and 120, but it shares with those predecessors a nice marriage of speed, agility, and stability. It’s a kayak that’s a pleasure to paddle along lakeshores, riverbanks, marsh channels, and swampy backwaters, and one that’ll brace you comfortably as you try to reel in the big one.
To this admirably scrappy foundation Wilderness Systems has integrated some of its most cutting-edge technology to customize the Tarpon 130X all the more acutely for anglers. The company has said the basic idea was to preserve the basic features that made the first-generation Tarpon (which landed on the market in the early 2000s) such a hit while also modernizing it with some fine-focus design tweaks.
The Flex Pod OS and Motor Drive
Most significantly, the kayak now accommodates the Wilderness Systems’ powerful Flex Pod OS Console, a self-contained unit for your electronics that can be swapped without hassle between the reborn Tarpon and several other Wilderness Systems ‘yaks (the A.T.A.K. 140 and the Thresher 140 and 155, specifically). You can also easily drop in the company’s new Motor Drive propulsion system into the Flex Pod scupper, which gives you the option of easily controlled motorized cruising while you cast or take a paddling breather. The 15-lb. electric Torqeedo motor comes powered by a rechargeable lithium battery (floatable, mind you) that’s good for some eight hours of use, and can power the kayak at up to some six miles per hour; the pod includes a display showing the motor’s battery life and your speed. The Motor Drive pod can be turned and locked in a low-draft angle whenever necessary. Still want your electronics onboard while using the Motor Drive? No problem: Wilderness Systems has added an extra console as a secondary transducer scupper.
The Flex Pod/Motor Drive capability will certainly be the innovation that initially grabs a fishing fanatic’s attention, but there’s more to the Tarpon’s 130X transformation. Some subtle but important structural changes have been made to enhance the boat’s stability and increase space for electronics and storage while preserving the Tarpon’s overall fleetness and maneuverability. Among the modifications to that end are the broader beam (32 inches), the narrower hull, and the flared sidewalls of the 130X.
When you’ve got the 130X motorized, or whenever you need your hands for casting, you can efficiently stow your paddle with the bow’s Paddle Park cord.
Then there’s the seat. The Tarpon 130x includes the super-comfortable AirPro MAX Lite seat, which can be easily slid forward and backward for trimming purposes. The adjustable fore/aft position of the seat is another reflection of the kayak’s versatile gear-loading options. (The AirPro MAX Lite seat isn’t height-adjustable, by the way.)
The Tarpon 130X’s SlideTrax rails mean you can load up on rod holders, GPS units, and other handy-dandy gizmos to make your kayak-fishing that much easier. And the boat boasts a nice-sized tank well for bait and other supplies.
Wilderness Systems, like the other industry-leading kayak manufacturers, has its eye on the littlest details, and the Tarpon 130X shows the small-scale adjustments the company’s always making to improve each and every facet of its vessels. That dedication’s plain in the 130X’s handles, which claim a standout ergonomic injection-molded design: Their sturdy but comfortable grip means even an extended carry doesn’t strain you.
Color-wise, the Tarpon 130X comes in Desert Camo, Flint, Dusk, Midnight, Sonar, and Mango hues.
Whether you’re a dyed-in-the-wool Tarpon devotee or just a fish-obsessed paddler always on the lookout for top-quality SOT ‘yaks, the release of the Wilderness Tarpon 130X is a cause for celebration. It’s kayak innovation at its best: not monkeying too much with a proven system, but bringing that system up to date with thoughtful changes here and there. Having the ability to use the self-contained electronics of the Flex Pod OS or the hands-free propulsion of the Motor Drive makes this Tarpon an even more formidable fishing machine.