Read reviews for the Tarpon 140 by Wilderness Systems as submitted by your fellow paddlers. All of the reviews are created and written by paddlers like you, so be sure to submit your own review and be part of the community!
I routinely carry about seventy pounds of gear and find the Tarpon 140 carries the combined 300 lbs adequately. I have factory installed scupper plugs under the seat which stays dry but do get about 1/4 inch of water in the foot wells. This may be because of a 18ah battery stored in the forward hatch. I wear neoprene boots and have never been the slightest concerned by the small amount of water.
I rarely open the center hatch on the water, never open the front hatch and as of yet have seen any sign of water entering the hull. There may on occasion be a few drops from condensation but nothing to be concerned about.
The cup holder and netting covered side pockets are handy until they fill with water and then they are the worse design feature of this kayak. These areas need drains badly because they are practically useless full of water.
The Tarpon 140 is laid out well and it is a simple task to sit side saddle to access my gear in the tank well. The track system is a blessing and each person will find there own way to utilize it. The center console is nice for mounting a fish finder GPS combo but quite a reach from the seat so I have mine installed on a ram ball extension.
The Tarpon 140 tracks well and I don't have a rudder or ever felt like I needed to have one. I've been kayaking for over thirty years and as yet have never had a rudder. Without wind I can manage seven kilometre per hour and the Tarpon 140 glides almost effortlessly through the water. In waves the Tarpon 140 can't seem to decide if it wants to ride over them or crash through but always comes out the other side in one piece.
Loaded with gear I have no choice but to move the Tarpon 140 with a set of wheels. Loading it on top of my van is achieved by strapping the inverted wheels to the hood and easily rolling the kayak onto the roof rack.
Overall I am happy with the Tarpon 140 but no drains on the cup holder and side pockets deserves at least one point demerit.
The big things for me is the comfort, safety and versatility of the kayak. I have a hard time staying in my sea kayak for more that 30 mins. I am 6'4" with a hip replacement so comfort of the SOT Tarpon is great. I can stay on it for 3hrs no problem. I feel safe on the Kayak. I have taken it in the open ocean, bays, rivers and lakes. I have not tipped or come close at all. I also have practiced tipping over and it is a piece of cake to turn back over and reenter. I often will go for a paddle, drop anchor, go for a swim and hop back in. The speed of the boat is decent.
The only negatives for me is that it is heavy so I got a small cart that works great to move boat and to help slide up on the car top.
The stability is great and allows me to go out into more open waters of the Chesapeake Bay with full confidence in the Tarpon's ability to handle it. Tons of storage space inside and out for multiday trips and lots of room for attachments topside. My butt stays dry even on choppy days.
Now why I gave it a 9 instead of a ten...she's a heavy kayak and can be a pain to load on a car top but not so bad in a truck bed. I carry it but at 56 I'm not as spry as I used to be so a cart is in the near future. Surprisingly, I think this 14ft, 76lb kayak is pretty nimble on the water. Some have truthfully stated that a rudder makes it easier to turn but I haven't found that to be much of an issue even while fishing.
I am very happy with my Tarpon 14 and don't plan on changing makes/models. I'll be paddling this one for years to come over here on the beautiful Eastern Shore of Virginia!
This kayak just glides thru the water like a missile at 4 knots. I have added a rudder to aid in turning and I would highly recommend the rudder for anyone who is planning on fishing. It just makes it easier to steer especially when the current or wind is moving you and you are trying to fish.
I started out kayak fishing in one of the cheaper model boats and if I were to do it over again I would try to find a way to start with a better made boat. The Tarpon just makes it easier and more pleasurable to fish and fishing is why I have a Kayak.
Mine were bought 6 or so years ago. I don't know if they corrected the hull and seat location to provide better drift after paddle stroke. Seat was adequate, foot stops adequate, storage o.k. Cockpit did not fit anyone over 6'1" very well without noticeable nose dip. The boat was significantly slower than the 16.
Overall fit and finish were very good. I still have the three 16 footers for self and guests. To see a cockpit with proper balance today try out a Necky Vector 14. I found two for friends and tried them out. Great cockpit for tall people, excellent hull balance front to back. The old Heritage Sea Dart II also has excellent pitch control [fore/aft balance]. It can be done.
Cheers all. Happy paddles!
The seat is very nice with all the different adjustments. Loading on top of my Explorer is not too bad. It tracks really well. I have only flipped once and that was when I was at Gulf Shores on a calm water day when I was not paying attention and I got sideways on a wave. Also that is the only time I have ever gotten water in my hatch. All my other trips the hatch stayed very dry.
There are only 2 things that I would recommend changing on the Tarpon 140 design. There are these little L shaped catches that hold the bungee cord for holding the paddle. For someone my size they dig into my leg. So what I did is loosen the screw and turned them sideways. This fixed the problem but now I cannot use the paddle holders. But no more pain from the L shaped catch.
The other thing that I think I have gotten adjusted to are the kayak handles on the left and right. At first my knuckles were hitting the plastic handles. Not sure what could be done about this but every now and then I bump the plastic handles.
Over all I love this kayak. It was the first time I ever purchased a kayak and I do not regret the big purchase. I plan to keep it a long time.
I have never rolled or flipped in it so it is stable. It needs to become more fish friendly with additional adapters for poles and bait buckets. The weight is hard to tow by yourself so get a wagon cart. The seat is terrible, so buy a cushion.
This kayak is fast, easy to paddle, and tracks well due to its length. The Tarpon has good stability. The seat is comfortable and has plenty of adjustment. The plastic feels more rigid than that of cheaper boats. The boat is not light, but I am able to lift the boat onto the rack of an F150 fairly easily. The track system allows for limitless outfitting. There is a nice size hatch for storing things in the front and a very convenient center hatch just in front of the seat. Both hatches have loops inside to attach gear and keep things in place.
The only negative on the kayak is that the cup holder extends so far down into the inside cavity that I am prevented from storing paddles inside the kayak.
This is a great kayak!
I'm 6'4" 215 pounds and this boat handles me well. I have to take the foot controls out but am fine with that. The only complaint I have with this boat is the ability to turn. It tracks extremely well which is great until you need to maneuver some whitewater. Other than that, I'd not hesitate to buy another. I do feel that Wilderness boats are a bit overpriced which is why I decided to buy a used boat.
As for quality and design the Tarpon fell short. Upon pickup I found 1/3 of the screws were not tight and I'm not talking 1/4 turn, most were half way out. The front hatch is a useless design, the hatch is in a depression which catches water and when you open the cover the water has only one place to go.... IN! The water on top of the cover runs down the back side and directly into the opening. The Tsunami has a 1-2inch lip that even with the rubber cover off any water trapped in the depression of the hatch doesn't go into the opening. The back side of the smaller hatch is sharp and I sliced my finger on it. A file took it down to a safe point but manufacturing details such as these are important to me as a consumer.
Fishing: I bought the kayak for this purpose and it has done nothing less than excel in this category! I first used it at St George with my dad and brother who both bought a Ride 135. There boats are nice and comfy however if we go a long distance I always end up front due to there slower pace. The Tarpon has all the room of the ride and even more ability to cover long distances! The only advantage of the Ride is the ability to stand. I have caught 3 red fish and a load of other fish off my Tarpon with no fear of tipping over (biggest was a 6 pound red fish)!
Excess water: I have no idea what people are doing that cause them to have this problem but I have almost no water at my feet and absolutely none in my seat and I have 2-3 rods, a 24 quart cooler with ice in it, a tackle box, a 5 pound anchor, and sometimes a gulp box! So unless they like to put their Great Dane in the front hatch then I don't get it!
I love this kayak and recommend it to all!
I would give this boat a lower rating had I not enjoyed them so much. Also, they seem to be priced several hundred higher than a comparable kayak with a higher weight capacity. I would've tried the new Ride, but WS I feel now is over priced after looking around and shopping around.
So they get a 7 (wet cockpit, low weight capacity, overpriced)
The 140 is not as fast as its' big brother the 160 but is a great boat nonetheless. Even after several submersions the forward hatch did not leak. As we were putting in, a guide for Coastal expeditions said, "that T140 is a great boat, especially with thigh straps." I had added them the day before and would not paddle bumpy water without them.
P.S. this boat is an unruly beast out of the water. Heavy as a brick and like handling a wet log.
My only negative is the hatches leak. Since I like to store cargo on trips this causes a minor problem.
I would suggest the Tarpon 140 to anyone for lake and gulf travel.
I use it primarily for a 115 surface-acre lake in NY, and it a few jaunts for stripes in the LI Sound and Hudson. The boat is stable, fast, and spacious. I could put my 3.5 year old son in the rear tankwell (PFDs for everyone of course).
Now I want a 120, maybe a Ride 115. WS Tarpons rock!
When loaded up with 3 days worth of camping equipment I did need to have the scupper plugs in as I was sitting a little lower than water line but I also weigh 100 kgs. This trip was also in the middle of the winter so I didn't want to get too wet.
Going out for a days fishing trip is fine as less gear results in sitting higher than water line so I would leave the plugs out and let any paddle splash drain out.
I use the slide trax system to mount a rod holder on one side and a GPS on the other side. Having the rudder and a running anchor line also makes all the difference of making this kayak one of the best.
Other than the hatch, I really like the 140, tracks well and it has a big cargo area. Big enough to be a problem, for me. I over packed on two paddle-in camping trips. Looked like I was paddling a barge, but it handled it well and still paddled great.
This boat is a fantastic performer in the ocean, which is the only place I paddle being in Washington state, it is very stable for a 28" width, even with gear, tracks very well with the rudder up and exceptional with the rudder down. I highly recommend anyone looking into getting a SOT kayak, to go rent one of the Tarpons and try them out for yourself, I am sure you would be impressed...
Extremely happy. I can even stand on it if need be. I don't fish and tend to paddle into tight locations so I skipped the rudder but if one had to be installed it is pretty simple.
Echoing the last reviewer,the boat is a much drier ride. It is really nice not to sit in a puddle for hours. To achieve that, the paddler is further off the water with an attendant decrease in stability, but so little it is hardly noticeable. I got caught in a couple of sudden side currents that were momentarily exciting. I'll take that loss for the dry butt.
The phase 3 seat is great. Lumbar support in a SOT!
Continuing the trend, the boat is heavy as a brick. It comes with tracks for adding accessories, but that does not include attachment points for thigh straps. I was disappointed that I have to add them. Paddling a SOT in rough water without thigh straps is not fun. Still, I am pleased with the boat for my intended use - small rivers and salt water bays and creeks.
I'm 6'1", 245lbs, and I find the Tarpon 140 to be fast, stable, and dry. All SOT's will let in a little water without the scupper plugs in place when you first get on the boat or when dealing with non-flat water such as breakers, wakes, etc. This boat is no exception, but you are no longer sitting in 1.5 inches of water. The water coming in is usually confined to the front of the "cockpit" area around your feet, and drains back out.
The Phase 3 seating is elevated above the deck so even if water reaches the seat area (hasn't happened to me yet), it will go up under the seat and you won't be sitting in it.
Of course part of the charm of a SOT is that you can pull fish up onto the deck with you when fishing, dive from it, or just go for an occasional swim then climb back on, so if you're too dry on your outing, you are probably missing out on some other fun SOT kayaking related activities.
It took quite a bit of effort getting it on the water though. It's quite heavy to carry or car top, in spite of excellent carrying handles. You will need a kayak trolley if on your own, and either be quite strong or have a loading aid to get it on top of the car.
Now the good stuff:
As said, once on the water all changed. Tracking was excellent and in spite of the weight of the kayak out of the water, it was very nimble and light to paddle, relative to its length.
I also tried out the Prowler 13. Comparing the two, the Tarpon feels much more sturdy and well kitted out. I was really impressed with the hatches, although I don't know how watertight they are. Compared to the day hatch on the Prowler, the Tarpon one is far more easily accessible as it doesn't need to be unscrewed. It seems to access the main storage area (I could be wrong) and any small items may get lost in the hull as a result. However, this could be easily resolved. There are also two small compartments covered with rubber matting, where additional items can be stored. Although, these need to be secured as they may fall overboard if the kayak tips over in surf. The seat is really good as well, although, I haven't been able to try it on a long journey. I'm not sure how adjustable it is either, and this may need to be checked.
Handling: Again, in spite of the kayak's weight out of the water, it handles really well once in the water. I couldn't feel much difference in getting up to cruising speed with the Prowler 13. As a 14 footer, I didn't expect it to turn as easily as a shorter kayak, and of course I was right, but again, I didn't feel there was much difference than the Prowler. The Tarpon feels/lies slightly lower in the water than the Prowler 13 and may therefore not be as susceptible to wind. In spite of being lower in the water, I didn't see any water in the boat, other than what you would expect from paddle dripping etc.
I must admit, I tried it on the river, but the problem of water gushing in through the scupper holes seems to have been resolved in this new model. All in all, very pleasantly surprised, and I think this will be my next kayak. I'm paddling a Scrambler 11 now.
I'm writing largely to respond to reports that the 140 offers a wet ride. I don't understand what folks who write that are talking about. I'm 6'4, (unfortunately) I weigh around 260. This weekend I rented the Tarpon 140 for two days. The first day I kept the scupper plugs in all day; I'd read this forum and thought that if I pulled them out I'd be virtually swimming!
The second day I decided to see what I was really in for if I bought this yak, so about an hour into my 4-hour ride I pulled the plugs out. Sure enough, water squirted up through the holes. But just as quickly as it came up it ran back out again. I ended up having about 1/4 inch of water near my feet, none further up toward my seat. And it was often virtually dry.
For a guy my size in a boat with a 375 lb rating, I think 1/4 of water is nothing to complain about.
I liked this kayak. I'm an inexperienced paddler, and it wasn't hard for me to go pretty much straight most of the time. I think it is a nice combination of speed and stability. My GPS said I was able to cruise along at 3.5 - 4 mph without much trouble; even in a river with a moderate current I was able to go around 2.5 - 3 mph upstream. And after an hour or so I was dangling my feet over either side of the boat, and even turned around and put my legs over one side without much trouble.
I can't say that I have a lot of experience with any kayak. But so far I like the Tarpon 140 enough to buy it!
I also found that besides the bow hatch, the rest of the hatches were nearly useless. The little hatch in front of the seat isn't waterproof and will soak up any water that makes its way into the hull, and while the rear dry storage compartment is quite large, it has a tiny opening, making it next to worthless.
I'm a big guy so with the scupper plugs removed the boat quickly fills with about 2 inches of water that never fully drains out. With the plugs in place I get less water inside the cockpit, but it also has no place to go, and of course removing the plugs doesn't work. ;-/
Bottom line: I'll be selling this boat ASAP
Pros: Stable, fast, dry (other than the scuppers issue that other large guys have mentioned - solved with foam golf balls) and comfortable for long paddles. The T140 has good maneuverability for a large SOT; I paddled the Little Econ River in May with a group of friends and had no problems steering with paddle only.
Cons: if you are planning to paddle in exposed waters in winds > 10kt, get the rudder kit. The T140 does tend to windvane downwind even in small following seas. Other annoyances include oilcanning forward of the front bulkhead while cartopping (self-corrects within 30 minutes after I take it down). Fortunately I haven't experienced any pinhole leaks and the general fit and finish is good.
Overall I would recommend the T140 to anyone who wants to take up kayak fishing. BTW I was also very pleased with my buying experience at Travel Country - they made a clerical mistake while outfitting my rig but completely honored the terms of the purchase.
My first Wilderness Systems SOT was the 15' Freedom that was sold prior to my 1,200 mile move. It was a great design that fit me extremely well. After test paddling a Tarpon 160 prior to leaving Florida, though, I felt that it would definitely be my next purchase. Two months ago, however, I found a Tarpon 140 for $550 at a dive shop in Steven's Point, Wisconsin. It had about an 1/8" of dust on it as it had probably been there for quite some time. I never realized there was so much of a mark up! For the money I decided to settle for it instead of the 160 model. I figured that the smaller size would be more suitable for my wife anyway when I eventually did get my 16 footer.
After a couple of camping trips in beautiful northern Wisconsin, as well as paddling my local Fox River, I have found that this model is just fine for me as well. From the reviews on this site, I was already prepared to take on some water (being that I am 6'3" and 270 pounds). About an inch of water stays in the foot wells. As I mentioned earlier, though, I do not mind getting a little wet. Being on the bigger side with a higher center of gravity, I have found that I am much more stable on SOT's than in cockpit kayaks or solo and tandem canoes. I cannot imagine dumping this boat unless you are either very careless, or do it intentionally. If you do go in the drink, though, being able to get back in your boat in the middle of a 640-acre lake is an invaluable asset. After a little practice with a moderate amount of upper body strength, most people could probably be back in the boat and paddling again in less than a minute. I love the freedom to do this when I feel like taking a swim.
The 140 seems fast and tracks pretty well (although the 160 seems slightly better in both departments). As I did mention in my first sentence, this model is a great all-around boat... it is smaller and a little lighter than its bigger brother, but maybe a tad slower with a few more corrective strokes required. All-in-all, not a significant amount of difference.
I recommend this boat without hesitation. Although I still may purchase a 160 for myself, I will probably wait until I find another that has collected some dust (and a bargain-style price tag). And why not, until my wife get upset with me for using "her" boat, I am completely satisfied with it!
Back support combined with an inset seat make for a very comfortable ride.
Takes on water that does not drain for paddlers of 200pds. In addition larger paddlers will also notice that this water causes the bow to ride to low resulting in eradic handling. Plugs for the 4 cockpit scuppers resolve both of these problems.
My wife complained of the height of the gunwales inhibiting her paddle stroke.
Overall, however, it is a solid versatile boat with enough speed to cover 10 or more miles comfortably.
We have had them everywhere from swift rivers in PA to the flat brackish rivers of MD's eastern shore.
The only bad thing I can say about them is how much water the boat holds when the footwell is not plugged.
After a second demo on the WS Tarpon 140 and a comparison demo on the Tarpon 120, I went ahead and purchased the 140. The 120 was great but I felt the 140 was just a little more stable and a little bit faster.
I went with the new color for this year, Ice (blue with streaks of white) and put it in the water at home for the first time this week. As with my initial demo, it tracked well on the lake despite a steady breeze. Once off the lake, it rode smoothly and quietly up some of the adjacent creeks allowing for some great up close nature watching.
I had heard from one Tarpon owner in person (and a few others via the internet) that they had experienced problems with pin-hole leaks in and around the scuppers. Mine was dry as a bone after the take out and I examined even closer once I got it home.
I'm very happy with my purchase.
The Tarpon 140 is slightly heavier than some of the other models I tried but it gets moving quickly and tracks very well. I was paddling with a 230 cm composite paddle, around 24 ounces as I recall. A WS rudder kit can be added for roughly $200. I tested it near a marina in a commercial area where there was quite a bit of traffic. It was extremely stable and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it handled the wake from a large passing cabin cruiser and a tug boat. The floor of the cockpit is flat and roomy and any water that I took on quickly drained off. The standard molded seat and seat-back were comfortable even without any sort of padding. The front hatch was roomy and easy to access and the oversized rear well could handle multiple crates or a large cooler.
After testing it, I happened to run into another customer that was trading his old 140 in for a 160i. He had nothing but good comments on his old 140...he was only trading up to the 160i as he does quite a bit of fishing off shore and wanted the additional speed, stability and security that he felt the 16 foot model offered on the open sea. A great boat...I think my search may be over!
You can get this kayak moving within the first 3 strokes, and from there on it is almost effortless. It tracks well and most of your directional corrections can be handled within the stroke movement. When paddling in a cross wind, I did use an occasional double stroke on one side, but it was rare. With the kids, my 12 year old daughter was paddling with ease with minimal instruction, and my 7 year old sits easily in the rear tank well for easy cruises.
I am 6 ft and 210 lbs and the 140 cruises with very little effort. It was obviously designed to go in a straight line, but it will turn when you want it to. With good technique, it will pivot.
Very seldom do you find a product that will cover a range of uses, and do all of them well. The Tarpon 140 is a very versatile boat. I was specifically looking for a kayak that could stay on the shore during the day, as to be available for the entire family, durable so that I didn't go crazy when anyone even looked at it, and enough performance for a long morning cruise and some fishing. This boat fills all of these with a very strong performance. Also, check around with your local dealers to see if they have any demo boats. Mine had ordered two that had cosmetic blemishes that I couldn't even find, but I saved over $200.
The difference between the 120 and 140 is small but noticeable in all the obvious ways except wind sensitivity. 10 mph breeze, the 120 was significantly less affected. This was also the impression of my buddy that was demoing them as well. When I asked him for his impressions he volunteered it so I didn't color his perception, 2 independent observations.
The difference in glide was surprisingly small but present. Ditto on maneuverability.
Another interesting observation, while the forward scuppers spouted like a fountain on the 140 with a leaning stroke, the 120 didn't seem to. This could be handled by plugs of course.
I won't bother to compare it to the Prowler here. Apples and oranges. One thing I will mention here, however, the WS boats cut better and more quietly, no water slap on the hull. Major advantage if stalking birds, game or fish is your thing. Prowler would alert them way before the Tarpons would.