Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100

2019 Review Update

Still as popular as ever which it rightly deserves.

Low Pressure - Irish Fishing Trip on a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100

Weather permitting (and it has been very poor so far) I am taking the Tarpon 100 on a Pollock bash. Shallow water stuff so all the fish can be returned. Up at 0600hrs and the wind had dropped a bit– we're off on a Pollock hunt. I head west keeping an eye on the wind – it’s only 16km from the house to my Pollock mark but this is the South West tip of Ireland. It looks do-able but there is a big swell running. I get set up and head part way out to my mark. It’s not good, the low is a 1000mb but the eejit is sat 90 miles west of my Pollock mark.

About turn - throw the kit in the van and go looking for shelter.

Tarpon 100 in more sheltered conditions

The boat I am using is the standard Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100. I have fitted two Scotty Rod Master 2 to the rear sliders. This took a minute and did not involve drilling holes in the kayak.

Fitting Scotty Rodmaster rod holders to the Tarpon 100

That’s all I’m doing – today I fish a standard boat with no front rod holders. There is no anchor trolley system so I tie off a cord loop to the bow handle and that will do for me. Tackle box secured with lanyard, camera in BA pocket along with a bar of chocolate and a drink and we are off on our review.

Spacious front hatch with simple, wide straps and catches

Fishing set up on a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100

The launch is 8/12ths on the ebb so there is no need to rush. Will use the time to paddle around and see what the baby Tarpon feels like and hopefully find one or two mackerel for bait. Wind is in the east 3-4 and the ground swell is pushing well up between the islands, and the day is very wet and overcast.

Overcast day on a Tarpon 100 in Ireland

 The ride is wet but in line with the conditions - you would need a 16ft kayak to stay dry today. I threw the Tarpon 100 into the chop, over the chop, across the chop and rode the swells with ease. True to form and for shorter trips “Billy No Mates” likes the Tarpon 100 more than he liked the Tarpon 120. Apart from my sea kayak I simply like shorter kayaks, they are more alive. Part of the fun is the paddle and the Tarpon 100 is fun to paddle.

Targeting Dabs and Ray’s again!

The tide is very slack to start with but the wind makes drifting a pain. The mark is small so I will anchor and see how it sets. To get the kayak lying just right I tied the anchor off to a side handle. The anchor line can be jettisoned in a flash if needed.

Someone has a problem and the lifeboat throws up a decent wake for me to ride over’

The wake of a lifeboat giving the Tarpon a stability test

 The shout was a crabber with a dead diesel in a place he'd rather not be without an engine.

If Carlsberg made kayak seats...

I'm sat at anchor and I find the paddle park is not as happy with bent shaft paddles.

I use mod crank paddles because my old wrists prefer that but a straight shaft paddle sits better in the paddle park.

I am sitting as comfortably as I was on the Tarpon 120 in the Wilderness Systems Carlsberg Seat and it’s chucking it down again.

Today will be another wet day for sure. The bait arrived and I had 2 mackerel in the kayak in no time. Then followed two and a half hours without a bite, apart from the chocolate. Gannets, Terns, Black Guillemots, and Shags are all around so there is food in the water. A host of jelly fish are drifting by far too slowly. The tide started to push and the jelly fish passed quicker. I had the first dab and it was a beauty, then another and so on.

First Dab caught from the Tarpon 100

Second Dab caught from the Tarpon 100

These were the biggest Dab’s I have seen in years – nothing this size in the English Channel with my name on them.
What happened next can only be described as a “Ray Fest” with a few more dab’s for good measure: 6 Spotted Ray, 8 Thornback Ray and 3 smaller Dabs – brilliant. The patterns on the ray are fascinating and Thornback number 6 was tagged

"JAangles and The Sparrow" were anglers long before they became charter skippers and they tag rays for fun (see www.irelandseaangling.com for more info). Most tagged rays never get caught/seen again – well, the commercial guys don’t return the tags!

Two rays threw the hook as they came alongside the Tarpon so they don’t count. True to form I had an hour's excitement followed by a quiet hour, then it picked up again; the tidal push is weird around here.

Spotted Ray caught while fishing from the Tarpon 100

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Angling Kayak

Irish Spotted Ray on the Tarpon 100

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100

Wilderness Sytems Tarpon 100 Fishing Sit on Top Kayaks

Catching Spotted Ray on the Tarpon 100 sit on top

*Above: Spotted Ray caught from the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 is ideal for fishing

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 catching fish

Tarpon 100 can be easily customised for fishing

Fishing for Rays on the Tarpon 100 off the Irish coast

Paddling the Tarpon 100 of the coast of the British Isles

Catching a tagged Thornback Ray in Ireland on the Tarpon 100

Fishing on the Tarpon 100

Tarpon 100 - Angling kayaks for sale

*Above: Thornback Ray caught from the Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100

The paddle back was into a freshening wind and had to be ground out. The Tarpon 100 can be pushed through the water against the wind and tide but it takes more effort than the larger Tarpon 120. The kayak is as solid as a rock and I fished it quite easily without front rod holders. This little kayak is a kayak for all uses, and easy to paddle for anyone. Leave the rods at home and it’s just a kayak; take the rods and it’s an angler.

Like the Tarpon 120 I give the Tarpon 100 top marks, then a few more for good measure. The extra marks come from it being easier to load and unload to/from a roofrack, it’s ability to play in the chop, its simplicity to convert from Standard to Angler (this also applies to the T120).I will happily paddle and fish a Tarpon anytime. Tarpon 100 and Tarpon 120 are included in my “like a lot list”. Weather permitting maybe tomorrow I can teach the T100 to Pollock.

The Weather is Pollocks

Grizzle grizzle grizzle – the weather is pants again with winds 38-45 kph. The Low sat over Shannon is 992mb, did no-one tell the weather it’s the 16th of July? I think there is enough shelter to get part way out to my Pollock mark. I rig 2 rods with sidewinders I get mailorder from Veal's online (www.veals.co.uk). The weather is marginal so that's all I'm taking.

Tarpon 100 is stable to paddle on lumpy seas

Lumpy seas in Ireland

Sidewinder lure from Veal's mailorder

Sidewinder lure from www.veals.co.uk

The Tarpon is much happier than I am having just buried the front end into a trough and popped out the other side. I turn the tarpon around and paddle briskly back to shelter gripping tightly with my buttocks as I go. I fish for ten minutes in the lee of some rocks and nab a few small Pollock.

Canoe Shops Group Tarpon 100 Review - Pollock

The paddle was in my lap all the time (not the paddle park) just in case it was called for in a hurry. Tarpon 100 great, weather an absolute pain, Pollock small, pub that way.

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 Review by:
Old Duffer
for the Canoe Shops (Group) Ltd.


Main Features:

Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100:

  • Self-Bailing Scupper Holes
  • Gear Storage Pockets
  • Keepers Foot Rest System
  • SlideTrax Accessory System - No need to drill holes in your new kayak
  • Side Carry Handles with Paddle Holder
  • Comfort Carry Handles
  • Tankwell w/ Bungee
  • Centre Hatch
  • Bow Hatch
  • AirPro Seating System


Length:10' (305 CM)
Width: 30.5" (77 CM)
Weight: 55Lbs (25 KG)
Capacity: 325 lbs (147 KG)