Tarpon 130X from Wilderness Systems

by • June 27, 2016 • Kayak Reviews, Product ReviewsComments (1)5450

Wilderness Systems Pro Staffer and avid kayak angler, Thomas Philippi, shares with us his thoughts on the new Tarpon 130X from Wilderness Systems Kayaks.

Tarpon 130x

Tarpon 130x slimed

The Wilderness Systems Tarpon series of kayaks has always been known as fast, reliable SOT kayaks that are perfect platforms to fish from. I cut my kayak fishing teeth paddling a Tarpon 140. This kayak was old school, before padded or elevated seats became the rage. I was sitting on the deck in a molded seat. I had a gel cushion but it didn’t help ease my butt pain. I would get a numb right leg after sitting in it for 2-3 hours. My Tarpon 140 was also a very wet ride. I would have all of it’s scuppers plugged and still have an inch of water on deck. I always had a wet behind. I was able to ignore these shortcomings because this kayak paddled so well and handled any conditions thrown my way with ease. Current or windy conditions never scared me off of an area with this Tarpon.

Tarpon 130x

side by side comparison with old Tarpon

I am now far from a young man and when the opportunity came for me to get a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 130x I jumped at it. I was very interested in seeing how the Tarpon 130x would paddle compared to an old school Tarpon 140. After spending the past 2 weeks paddling the 130x in tidal and windy conditions, I am happy to report that it is truly a Tarpon! This new member of the family has lived up to it’s name and has a lot to offer kayak anglers looking for speed and paddle-ability.

Tarpon 130x

Cockpit comparisons of the Tarpon

The Tarpon 130x comes equipped with an AirPro LITE seat that is basicly the same as the AirPro Max seat found in the Ride and ATAK but with only the lower level. It is still off the deck and this prevents wet butt syndrome. I am also pleased to see that the deck remains dry as well.

The 130x comes with Wilderness System’s Flex Pod OS for electronics. This self contained unit will hold your fishfinder battery with the screen mounted top side and your transducer underneath. There is a large scupper hole under the Flex Pod OS so your transducer is in the water but with protection from the hull. This scupper is now standard in ATAK’s, Threshers and the Tarpon 130x. The new Helix MD Motor Drive by Torqeedo is compatible with all of the above kayaks.

Tarpon 130x

Tankwells of the Tarpon

The 130x has a large tankwell for a BlackPak or other storage systems. The tankwell has bungee cords for holding things stable as well. There are also SlideTrax along both sides of the kayak to easily add accessories without drilling more holes. It has two Orbix hatches for extra storage; one mid-ship with easy access and one at the bow. There are two gear storage pockets on deck. I really like the new paddle holder across the bow. It has a small roller that makes sliding your paddle blade under the bungee cord a cinch.

When I compare the 130x to the old 140, I do think it is a touch slower, but it is a foot shorter and slightly wider to provide stability for the higher seat height. I’ll take the extra comfort any day! At 72 pounds it is easy to load onto my Jeep Patriot and easy to maneuver even in tight creeks. I installed a flushmount rod holder on both sides just behind the seat and I felt ready to go!

Tarpon 130x

Tarpon 130x on the water

I have been a Wilderness Systems Tarpon fan for over 15 years. I loved my Tarpon 140 and put many miles and hours on it chasing fish. I am more than happy to say that the new Tarpon 130x is a true member of the family! I will never own another kayak that does not have an AirPro Max seat. I am looking forward to fishing from this kayak for the next 15 years!

Tarpon 130X

Tarpon 130x

  • Length: 13″
  • Width: 32″
  • Weight: 72lbs
  • Capacity: 375lbs
  • MSRP: $1469.00


  • Gear Storage Pockets
  • FlexPod OS – Helix Motor Drive Capable
  • Flex Pod OS; Larger & More Versatile Electronics Mounting & Storage
  • SlideTrax™ Accessory System
  • Skid Plate
  • Rudder Ready
  • Keepers XL Foot Brace System
  • Orbix Bow and Midship Hatches
  • Tankwell with Adjustable Bungee
  • Rigid Carry Handles
  • Side Carry Handles with Paddle Holder
  • Self-Bailing Scupper Holes


About the Author


Tom Philippi hails from New Jersey, and many know him as “SIC Yakker”. Tom has been kayak fishing both fresh and salt water for over 15 years. Tom is also a member of the South Jersey Kayak Bass Fishing Club, and is also a pro staff member for Wilderness Systems Kayaks and Adventure Technology Paddles.


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One Response to Tarpon 130X from Wilderness Systems

  1. ack-yak says:

    Atta Boy Tommy!! Now you are earning your Wilderness Sticker!! Ya made me proud and you certainly gave a detailed review….Thanks!!


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