Canadian Kayak Anglers

CKA's Gear Spot => Fishing Kayak Reviews => Topic started by: BUGGER on November 01, 2011, 01:25:08 pm


Title: 2011 WS Tarpon 120 Anlger
Post by: BUGGER on November 01, 2011, 01:25:08 pm
Owned and fished from several brands of SOT kayaks now, including but not limited to Ocean Kayak Malibu, Ocean Kayak Scupper Pro, Hobie Maui,and NuCanoe, and the Tarpon 120 is a great mix of everything, and a superior boat to all of them in my opinion.

I am a minimalist by nature, and althought I have all the gadgets and then some, I ended up removing most mods from my kayak and all I typically run is a scotty rod holder, a small handful of tackle, a few small tools, a net,  a water bottle, and my fishfinder (I don't even bring a crate most of the time, or a tackle box). All this being said, I write this review as I use the boat, and other reviews might paint a different picture depending on how they use their boat.

After paddling a fast but tippy scupper pro, and a very very slow but stable NuCanoe, I feel that the Tarpon 120 Angler is a great combination of speed and stability, and it does not sacrifice any comfort to achieve this. I have no issues spending 4-8+ hours in this kayak, and have no back fatigue as of yet. The seat is AMAZING! The hatches are dry, the factory rod holders couldn't be in a better place and the amount of storage room in this little boat is staggering. I have done several multi-day trips and realistically....I think you could store upwards of 5 days worth of camping kit and food in this kayak (if you weren't carrying water) without having to sacrifice the low centre of gravity. I fish this yak in the chuck, some big chuck at that, in freshwater lakes and rivers and it has always remained a dry ride, and tracks very well for a 12' boat. I have not tried any whitewater yet, but that will likely change when I move back to Ottawa in 2012. Great primary and secondary stability, and for a relatively novice paddler, I feel at ease in this boat even in big chop.

To be fair, and not only critique the good, the one thing I would say is a negative to this boat (and many other SOT's) is that for a shorter person, it's hard to reach the front section of the kayak where they have placed the little spots to mount Scotty accessories, but this isn't really a problem because the factory rod holders work so damn good. I will also say that the boat is a tad bit on the heavy side....I have no issues handling and lifting the boat, but if I was out of shape or a small guy, I might have some issues lifting this boat.

All in all, I would give this kayak a 10 out of 10, simply because no other kayak has come as close to perfect for me as this one has.


Title: Re: 2011 WS Tarpon 120 Anlger
Post by: stroover on November 02, 2011, 09:50:46 am
Good review. I have a 2009, and I agree on all accounts (even the slight nuisance for being a shrot person and reaching out to the bow area for the rod holder or whatever). I find mine a little slow compared to SIK's which is a bit of a pain in tournaments when you're racing off for the best spots, however later on in the day I'm quite comfortable in my yak compared to some of those guys.

One thing I don't like about the Wilderness System company is that they are not good supporters of our events. (I hope some of them are reading this and smarten up a little. But even if they don't, it's fine because Ocean Kayaks have been extremely good to us!).
Title: Re: 2011 WS Tarpon 120 Anlger
Post by: BUGGER on November 02, 2011, 10:33:58 am
I don't have any tournament experience so I don't know about their support on that end, that's unfortunate and surprising...especially since WS has so many angling kayaks that are available, you'd think they would be more involved!

The Fishing kayaks from the various companies are all so similar anyway, the differences are generally pretty minimal between the models, and it really all comes down to individual preference. I'm a firm believer in a good seat, and everything else is built around that. If the kayak has a poor seat, and you can't sit it in for long periods of time, it makes no difference if it's fast, nimble, stable and stylish. That's why I ended up with a Tarpon, I tested several models and traveled some great distances to do so, but in the end it was between the Tarpon and the Native Ultimate 12 (both have great seats). Comparatively, the OK Trident, the OK Scrambler and the Emotion kayaks didn't even come close, they are all great kayaks....and full of features, but the seats and "rump angles" of the boats were very poorly thought out and overall just cheaply made.

Once again, this isn't to take away from the other brands, but just to say that the Tarpon worked for me, and in my opinion, the WS seats (2010 and newer) are generally better designed than most of the other brands.

Hopefully WS gets involved in the tournaments around here and starts making themselves known. I do believe greatly in their product and I couldn't be happier with my choice.
Title: Re: 2011 WS Tarpon 120 Anlger
Post by: Fishnhound on November 02, 2011, 04:23:40 pm
I agree with you on the seat issue.It's one of the reasons I'm using the Jackson Coosa and the reason why I've chosen the Jackson Cuda for my big water fishing.Never had confort issue in the seat after 6 - 8 hrs on the water on a few occasions and it was great for some overnighters as it can be removed.You need to be comfortable or it makes longer days less enjoyable.
Title: Re: 2011 WS Tarpon 120 Anlger
Post by: BUGGER on November 02, 2011, 04:31:58 pm
I never had a chance to ride any of the Jackson models, by the looks of the Coosa it seems to have a pretty big comfy seat for sure. It looks like it rides pretty high up though.....how is the centre of gravity on your boat. I would think that it must be a stable boat to have a seat to high above the waterline. When I get back to Ontario I will have to test ride some Jackson boats, they look really cool.....and I have to say, they seem to have a little bit of a different approach to their models and styling than most of the other companies.
Title: Re: 2011 WS Tarpon 120 Anlger
Post by: Fishnhound on November 02, 2011, 05:08:35 pm
It's super stable.I sepnd at least half my time standing in it even when floating rivers.Standing and sitting high is great for sight fishing but a little hard in the wind.That said the seat has a lower position but I almost never use it.