I don’t know about you guys, but my excitement level hits a whole new level when provided the opportunity to test out and play with new fishing gear. Yes, I know it’s maybe a little adolescent, but I can’t help but get excited as a child on Christmas morning. We’re all gear heads to a certain extent, and it’s human nature to want to “play” with the new kayak fishing gear that comes out on the market.
When I was contacted by the folks at Wilderness Systems to test and review the Ride 115X, I was excited to say the least. As I’ve grown in the sport of kayak fishing, I’m finding I prefer to fish out of kayaks in the 11-12′ range. When I’m looking for a new kayak, there are several factors I take into consideration. I want to be able to accessorize the kayak to my personal needs, tracking has to be on point, and stability is a must. I also want some “fancy” features on my kayak as well, including a super comfortable seat, as I plan on being in the kayak for long periods of time. The Ride 115X hits the mark on everything on my wish list. The kayak tracks well, I can easily stand on the deck, and there’s all kinds of features for adding all the goodies I take on a fishing excursion.
Stability and Seating
The seat on the Ride 115X has the angler sitting higher than your typical standard kayak seat. The Phase 3 Air Pro Advance seat sits inside tracks, thus giving the angler an elevated seating position. Initially, I was a little worried about how that would affect paddling and fishing, but quickly learned it presents no ill effect whatsoever. Sitting higher in the kayak offers easier paddling, and gives the kayak angler a better line of sight when fishing. With the elevated seat, standing up in the Ride 115X is quick and easy, and a stand up assist strap is definitely not needed. Other cool features of the seat are a cubby to store a tackle tray with bungee to ensure it being held in place as well as small storage compartments around the back of the seat for storing bags of your favorite lures, pliers, a camera, etc. There’s a very small wobble to the kayak, but after a moment it quickly becomes an afterthought, and you’re poling around the flats with ease. At a stout 33″ wide, the Ride 115X offers plenty of stability for both the seasoned veteran angler and the newcomer to the sport.
The Ride 115X tracks extremely well. I was able to test the kayak in multiple conditions – from calm and smooth waters to somewhat rougher conditions – and the kayak performed admirably. Even paddling into a headwind, the kayak tracked straight and the rear of the kayak did not try to cut or turn any at all. Paddling the kayak was very easy, and the kayak cut through the water with ease. The kayak tracks on a straight line, eliminating the need to use extra corrective paddle strokes while motoring back to your favorite fishing hole.
Features are becoming more and more important to today’s kayak angler, and the Ride 115X doesn’t skimp at all in this department. At the bow of the kayak above the front hatch is a bungee for easily securing your paddle when stopping to fishing an area. In the main area of the kayak (cockpit) there are 24″ slide tracks on the top of each gunnel allowing for multiple accessories such as rod holders, camera mounts, etc. There are also 8″ slide tracks in the rear of the storage tankwell toward the stern of the kayak providing a mounting point for extra accessories as well, including the tankwell bungees. The most intriguing feature of the Ride 115X is the removable console that consolidates fish/depth finder components (including battery), simplifies installation of electronics, and provides added storage. This gives the kayak angler the ability to easily set up a fish finder/depth finder to their kayak, and easily remove the entire apparatus when in storage or transportation. The Ride 115X also comes with a YakAttack angler package which includes a Zooka Tube rod holder and a VISICarbon Pro light with a Wilderness Systems flag. There is also a YakAttack Mighty Mount on each side of the kayak behind the seat for a light, camera mount, or rod holders. Ultimately, this kayak comes ready to fish with some great features, but also leaves the angler plenty of room to accessorize the kayak to fit his/her fishing needs.
Overall, I have been very impressed with this kayak. Whether on a short quick trip or a full day’s worth of paddling and fishing, this kayak handles everything I’ve thrown at it, and keeps on impressing me. Very easy to turn in small backwater creeks, easy to paddle, good speed, and tons of features make the Ride 115X kayak from Wilderness Systems a definite keeper.
- Phase 3 AirPro Advanced Seating System
- Rigid Aluminum Handles
- Paddle Groove w/ Bungee
- Keepers Foot Brace System
- Orbix Bow, Midship, and Stern Hatches
- Tankwell w/ Security Bars and Bungee
- YakAttack Angler Package
- Rudder Ready
- Self-Bailing Scupper Holes
- Removable “Flex Pod” Console
- SlideTrax on Bow, Stern, and Under Console
- Bungee Deck Rigging
- Performance Control w/ Sliding Seat
- Length: 11’6″
- Width: 33″
- Capacity: 500lbs
- Weight: 84lbs
- MSRP: $1299