Best Wilderness Systems Kayak?

Currently down to 279lbs. I am in the process of losing 100 pounds. As a reward at 50 pounds lost I am going to buy a fishing Kayak. I’ll still be a big guy at -50 lbs so I am sold on the Wilderness System Kayaks. Only question is the Ride 135 or Tarpon better. They are about the same price (expensive) but I only want to make this purchase once. I plan to fish the inland waters of Louisiana and a few lakes. Also would like to be able to stand up fishing after losing more pounds. Which is better and what’s the difference between the two?

Even the Tarpon 140 will have
a lot of water in it with 280 lbs. At 220lbs I had a couple of inches in the footwells. The Manta Ray 14 rides higher and can handle 300 lbs with less water than the Tarpon. Don’t know about the Ride.


Is there a local store that will let you demo a couple of them. Last weekend I purchased my 1st kayak, a Tarpon 140. I LOVE IT!

Before I made the purchase, I was able to try out the Tarpon, Manta Ray 140, Ultimate 14.5, Magic 12, & Magic 14 Tandem.

Overall the Tarpon was the easiest for me to paddle followed by the Manta Ray. One major feature I like in my Tarpon is the dry hatch right between your legs. I store many things in it and it is easy to access while sitting in the water.

I am 5’-11" 195lbs and I really do not get much water in the boat at all. I plan on plugging the back to holes next time I go out. I live in Louisiana and paddle in the local lakes which have alot of vegitation. The holes in the front actually help get the small vegitation that gets into the boat out.

ride sally ride
My fishing buddy is kinda big at 225 lbs and he uses a ride kayak. At his weight he stays pretty dry as that kayak can handle quite a bit of weight. Its extremely stable - probably more stable than the tarpon but a bit slower. Although he dosen’t have much trouble keeping up with me in my sleeker sit in kayak.

I think the Ride and Tarpon series is pretty average price as far as fishing yaks go. You’ll also need to factor in a PFD, paddle, and a few accessories as well.

I would probably look elsewhere than the Tarpon. I had a Tarpon 140 and at 220# it held over 1.5" of water at all times. The Ride is a little drier but bigger as well. Without a rudder, and in a stiff wind, the Tarpon is a 15 strokes on the left to every 1 on the right type boat as well.

I’m using the Trident 13 and it’s done dry at all times and plenty stable for me to pole around the flats for redfish. I’ve also owned a Manta Ray 14 which was a much better kayak than the Tarponn 140.

As far as the fishability between the bunch, the Trident 13 is the best from the factory. Rod storage, fish finder ready, large tankwell, huge capacity (425#), etc…

My .01
I demo’d the Tarpon 120 ultralight weighing around 215 and it did not seem to have a lot of water. But that was a fairly short calm day demo.

If you check the fishing message board on this forum you might find some Louisiana fisherpeople who might let you demo their boats.

I have a T160 which if ine for my 240

– Last Updated: Aug-06-09 12:22 PM EST –

lbs, but the Manta Ray is a much drier ride and isn't affected much by the wind.I used one for a week in the Keys and thought it was a good boat.

I am not sure what part of Louisiana you are from but I live just outside of Lafayette. I just bought my boat at Pack and Paddle in Lafayette. Pretty much everyone there has a kayak and goes on fishing trips frequently. They will give you great advise and can answer any question you have.

Demos there are free. They will let you pick out up to 3 boats to try out at a time. They take them out to Lake Martin and let you paddle around. I went on 2 different demos and tried out Tarpon 140, Manta Ray 14, Ultimate 14.5, Magic 12 & Magic Tandem 14 all at no cost to me.

I think I’ll try the Ride. Now I just gotta find some lessons.

Where do you live?
What part of Louisiana do you live in? Pack and Paddle in Lafayette also has kayaking seminars quite often.

There next one is setup on Sep 22nd.

more info

fishing kayak
For a fishing kayak, you should surely consider the Ultimate 12 or Ultimate 14 by Native Watercraft. It has a nonconvential hull design that is intended for fishing. You can stand up in it also. I just returned from Northern New Hampshire and spent 16 days paddling my Ultimate 12. It is fabulous and no kayak has a seat to compare to the comfort of the Ultimate. This boat is as stable as they come for a recreational kayak. ( I’ve paddled several)

Get the Ride
If you must get a WS boat because that is the only brand you like then the ride makes the most sense. It is 32 inches wide so you will be able to learn to stand up and fish some in calm water. Hard hook-sets will be a hoot for others to watch most of the time.

New Orleans
I am in New Orleans. Will be fishing along inland coast and rivers