My first love was a Wilderness Systems Tarpon. During my early days in kayak fishing, the Tarpon was one of the first fishing-specific kayaks that could handle wind and waves on open water.
I was not alone. Many anglers were smitten by the Tarpon’s sporty, utilitarian design. For 2016, Wilderness has completely redesigned the topside to turn this old favorite into a modern marvel.
Fans of the Tarpon should not worry, favorite features like the locking bow and cockpit hatches are still there. And the hull retains the soft chines that improve handling in rough seas.
The cockpit is updated to include Wilderness’ most popular inventions. First, the FlexPodOS, which offers more options for storage or an easy way to install and remove electronics. Exchange the FlexPod OS for Wilderness’ new Helix motor for reliable, compact power.
Of all the motor-boater kayaks we’ve tested, the Helix is the most efficient and easy to use. The lower unit and Torqueedo battery fit together for a non-obtrusive motor that is shaved for size and weight without cutting power. The motor connects to a remote throttle through a single cable. A single lever controls speed and direction; this boat has reverse! At full speed, we were able to zip along faster than...