Friday, August 5, 2011

2012 Wilderness Systems Ride 135 Review


The redesigned 2012 Wilderness Systems Ride 135 delivers a remarkable fishing platform in a well thought out package.  Mine came in on Tuesday from Austin Canoe & Kayak and I spent the afternoon rigging it up for fishing.  I added a few basic items like an anchor trolley, Scotty mount rod holders, fish finder, custom transducer arm and some homemade Slidetrax accessory plates.  Rigging a new kayak from the ground up is one of my favorite hobbies and each time I seem to find a better way to do a few things. 


The center hatch was damaged during shipping, but Austin Canoe & Kayak took care of it immediately.  Thirty minutes after the call, I had a FedEx tracking number and the new hatch was on its way.  The sense of urgency that that the ACK customer service reps took with this issue was impeccable.  Accidents happen - it’s all about how a company responds to a problem.  I’ll be the first to say that ACK embodies true customer service.                     

Other companies/industries in our weak economy should definitely take note.  In the meantime, I “borrowed” the center hatch from my girlfriend’s Tarpon 140 and replaced my broken unit with it until the new one is delivered.  



On Wednesday I loaded up the Ride and took it out to a local pond for the first test paddle.  I was amazed - literally amazed by how well this kayak performed.  I’m 6’8”, 240lbs and not only is the 2012 Ride 135 incredibly comfortable, there is room to spare.  It is dry, gets up to speed quite easily and tracks well.  For its large stature, it is surprisingly easy to paddle and control.  So well in fact, that I don’t think it should be categorized as just another “big guy’s kayak”.  I have no doubt that my much smaller girlfriend could paddle this yak with ease.  In addition, the fly fishing crowd is probably going to appreciate a lot of the styling cues that this yak has to offer.



Granted, the new Ride 135 is a little on the heavy side but so are the majority of other fishing kayaks in this class.   When loading the kayak on the roof rack or carting it down to the water using my Bulletproof DIY Cart, I don’t notice any significant weight difference from that of my previous big man’s fishing kayak that the Ride 135 is replacing.  



The seating system coupled with the floor layout is genius.  In other kayaks I have owned, I run into a common problem - there never seems to be enough leg room for me from the seat to the foot pegs.  I have historically had to modify the design of the foot pegs to make my legs more comfortable, but the Ride’s configuration worked perfectly right out of the box.  




The amount of flat floor space on the deck of the new Ride 135 just begs the kayak angler to stand up and fish.   Combine this feature with the super stable pontoon-style hull design and a whole new standard in fishing kayaks is born.  Even with the wind blowing at a good clip, I wasn’t even remotely concerned about stability while standing for the first time.  Transitioning from a standing position back into the seat – a topic that is rarely discussed yet is equally as important- was effortless.


 














Another nice touch is the sliding seat system.  The robust seat is very comfortable and has multiple adjustment points that allow for a tailored fit.  Back support is also more than sufficient.  Changing the position of the seat works much like a manually adjustable seat in a car and is surprisingly smooth.  This arrangement allows the paddler to adjust his weight over the deck of the kayak, giving the user control over how the yak sits in the water.  I tend to carry quite a bit of gear in my kayak crate so having this option will be a welcomed change when I am out fishing.   It is also worthy to note that the seat can be removed completely which opens up a lot of doors for custom configurations.  Given the stability of this kayak, an aftermarket “high seat” would be very feasible. 



So in a nutshell, I couldn’t be more pleased with the new 2012 Ride 135.  A lot more details and how-to rigging ideas coming soon!  - Paul


          Thanks for reading and be sure to visit our online store at www.PalmettoKayakFishing.com



                                              2012 Wilderness Systems Ride 135 Pictures
                                                             2012 Ride 135 Rigged



















My custom built transducer mounting system - more on this later!

My custom built transducer mounting system - more on this later!

My custom built transducer mounting system - more on this later!

My custom built transducer mounting system - more on this later!


34 comments:

  1. Would love more details on the ducer mount! Awesome rigging job!

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  2. That is the best rigged kayak I have ever seen. Great job. Curious about your fish finder mount. What did you use to make it fit the Scotty? Jeff.

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  3. Thanks Jeff! I plan to publish full DIY posts on how to fabricate the transducer setup as well as one for the Scotty FF mounting assembly. The FF mount takes about 10 minutes to construct and costs less than $5. I'll post the links back here once I get each of them up.

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  4. Here's the transducer setup post - http://palmettokayakfishing.blogspot.com/2011/08/diy-kayak-transducer-arm-for-2012.html I'll get the FF mount up in a day or so. - Paul

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  5. Looks awesome! Keep up the good work!

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  6. Seems like you used to be big on the the big game from ocean kayaks. I'm just curious, why did this replace that one? You did a great job tricking it out as usual.

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  7. Thanks, I enjoy rigging them up. I am still a fan of the Big Game and own one that stays in Va. at my family's house. It is a great kayak as well, but has different strengths and weaknesses. The bottom line is that I wanted to try out other offerings that are built for tall/big people like myself. At 6'8", 240lbs there are not too many kayaks that fit my size and needs. When WS announced it was redesigning the 2012 Ride 135, I was really impressed by some of the features and decided to take the plunge and purchase one. I am glad I did. I focus my reviews on products that I enjoy and give credit to companies that are doing things right. Since I don't work for or get paid by any of these companies, I have the luxury of trying out new things w/o having to be "brand loyal". Bottom line is that there are a handful of manufacturers that make exceptional kayaks that fit a wide variety of different needs. The 2012 Ride 135 fits the bill for me quite nicely and offers some features not found on some of the other kayaks that I have owned/paddled.

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    1. Where id you find that black crate. Looks like it fits perfectly in the 2012 ride (Same Yak I just purchased). If you could give me any info on that I would be much appriciative. Thankls in advance. Charlie

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  8. Can you supply more details on the rigging for the Anchor System. The attachment method looks very interesting, what parts did you use to attach the Swivel and the Anchor Ring?

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  9. Thanks. The anchor trolley is comprised of 550 Paracord. The tan and black portions are just braided paracord similar to the bracelets we sell here http://palmettokayakfishing.com/thickbracelet.html

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  10. very nice! I almost want to trade in my 2010...but not quite yet...still lots of good floating left in it.

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  11. How does the new ride compare to the 2009 and up tarpon 140?

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  12. I own a 2010 Tarpon 140 as well as the new Ride 135. The Tarpon is a little faster, but the stability and capacity of the Ride trumps that speed advantage for what I use it for. The new Ride is by no means "slow", but comparing the two is like comparing a Toyota Camry to a Toyota Tacoma - they are just different. If you are a big guy like me or tend to carry a bit of gear with you, I would suggest the Ride. As soon as I load down the Tarpon with gear, plus my 240lbs, the speed advantage dwindles. Both are really nice yaks and you really can't go wrong with either one of them. If you value superior stability, go with the Ride. If you pack light and value speed over stability, the Tarpon is a nice choice.

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  13. My problem is I am looking for a kayak that can do it all. I am in Oregon and we have some big waters.I am wanting to out in the ocean. I have tried surf launching a Tarpon 140. It's not the right boat for me. I have a Pungo 140 that I have been fishing out of for 7 years.
    You have a great site.

    Bryan Will

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  14. Thanks for the compliment on the website. I know what you mean about the perfect kayak...it's hard to find but the Ride is close. If the Pungo 140 works for you, I wouldn't change it.

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  15. I love fishing in my Pungo....The issue with the Pungo is if I fall out I can not get back in it! No problem on lakes.Big issue in 35 to 60 degree water on the Columbia river or out in Ocean.

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  16. What made you choose the Ride 135 over the Ride 115? That seems to be my dilemma. We like to kayaks small meandering, and sometimes fast, streams. We also like small ponds and lakes. Thought the Ride 115 might give excellent maneuverability without sacrificing too much speed. Did you ever consider the Ride 115? Why or why not? Thanks!

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  17. Hey Greg - the Ride 115 wasn't a consideration for me because I often paddle 4+ miles on flat waters like Lake Murray and the Chesapeake Bay. The 135's two feet of length and 2" narrow width make it more efficient than the 115 for longer distance paddling on flat water. I still regularly use it in a handful of local rivers and it works fine for me.

    With that being said, for the places that you described - small, fast streams/rivers and small ponds/lakes - maneuverability and responsiveness seem to high on the list. I think the Ride 115 might be a better fit for you. Juan Veruete, a friend of mine and owner of a river kayak fishing guide service in PA., wrote a great review on the 115 here - http://kayakfishpa.com/?p=605 Have a good one man and good luck with your decision! No matter which one you choose, you will end up with a stable, well built fishing kayak...even after 4 months I am just as pleased with mine as I was when I wrote this review. - Paul

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  18. I have the 2010 Ride and use it on rivers for 2 to 4 day excursions. Although i dont do any fishing i do love doing rapids, sometimes grade 4 and 5 if we have floods.

    Is the handling about the same with the two yaks and what other differences are there that would be worthwhile if i were to decide to upgrade to the 2012 version? How is the seating, in the old ride when water spilled over the side it would not drain?

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    1. I wouldn't upgrade from an old ride to a new ride. All the old & new WS SOT Kayak's are high quality. No need in blowing money on a new ride unless you just want to add to the fleet or have plenty money you want to blow on a new toy. The Jackson Coosa is a nice River Kayak also that has large scupper holes that may drain faster than your old ride but not allot faster. The comfort of the seat is to die for, It's probably the best SOT River yak I've seen although many SOT yaks are great for rivers & most will handle class 1&2 no problem. JMO

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  19. I've only paddled a buddy's pre-2012 Ride 135 once so I don't think I can shed very much light on the differences in handling between the old model and mine. As far as the seating goes, I do own and paddle a 2010 Tarpon 140 which has the same seat as your Ride. I personally like the new seat in the 2012 Ride much better than the old style. As far as scupper draining goes, it isn't an issue. Water drains out just fine and I weigh 245lbs and usually have about 30 or so more lbs of gear with me when I go out. I would suggest trying to test paddle one to see if the differences are beneficial to you. I am very pleased with mine.

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  20. What kind of plastic crate/box is that in the back of your kayak? It looks handy and cool...

    Thanks

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  21. The one in the picture is this build - http://palmettokayakfishing.blogspot.com/2011/02/build-large-kayak-fishing-crate.html I designed another smaller crate that I now use almost exclusively...instructions -> http://palmettokayakfishing.blogspot.com/2011/09/ultimate-diy-kayak-crate.html

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  22. I just want to thank you for this awesome review/setup you have here, I am 6'5" at 310 pounds and have been looking for "big guy reviews" and this sold it for me, I just ordered a Mango Ride 135 from Ack last night. Tonight I'm ordering a Garmin Echo 300c for it and your transducer setup looks great!

    thanks again!
    Joseph Dale

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  23. Awesome Joseph, glad you enjoyed the review and congratulations on your new Ride. I really like that Mango color as well...you are going to love this kayak. Good luck with the FF install - rigging these things up is half the fun! - Paul

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  24. I couldn't agree more, to tinker is to be man... haha

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  25. FYI.... after looking at a yoga mat i had left over from an ex i have found that with a thin layer of marine goop or silicone you can make your own "silent traction pads" and you'll have a ton more material to use, just cut to the shapes you like, and glue on, i think a 24" by 68" yoga mat runs 15 bucks compared to the silent traction system at 45 bucks.... enjoy

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  26. What a great site and the 2012 model looks just perfect!

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  27. Hi there, just got my ride 135 2012. Is there any way of making he front oval hatch waterproof?

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  28. Tommy, the owner of KAYAKFISHSC.com and a Wilderness Systems Pro Staffer has fixed this issue on a couple of WS kayaks...I believe he uses some sort of weather stripping. His email address is on the kayakfishsc.com site - he'll be happy to point you in the right direction and has hands on experience with this.

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  29. Thanks for this AWSOME review. I am completely new to the sport and you have helped me make a solid decision. Thanks again so much. At 250lbs and 6 foot 2inches i could not figure out what to buy. I do not have a local store to try different kayaks out but i now feel confident after your overview that the Ride 135 is for me. You sir are GREAT!

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    1. @whokilledhiphop - I appreciate the props. I still love the 2012 Ride 135 and it will probably be a perfect fit for you as well. I had to buy mine w/o paddling it first and I couldn't be happier!

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  30. Really great writeup. Thank you for taking the time.

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  31. Better Sport Fishing
    http://betterforfishing.blogspot.com/

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