Wilder­ness Sys­tems Ride 135

While on a me­an­der through a lo­cal boat shop on a quiet day, I stum­bled onto a cou­ple of lost look­ing kayaks. Be­ing a pad­dler, I called over a bored look­ing salesman and struck up a con­ver­sa­tion over the cou­ple of ocean go­ing kayaks.

SA Bass - - Kayak - >> De­wald Viljoen*

It turns out the shop owner wanted a few kayaks on the floor be­cause cus­tomers have been ask­ing about kayak fish­ing. Only af­ter or­der­ing and pay­ing for the boats did he re­al­ize that they were not re­ally suit­able for fresh­wa­ter fish­ing and com­pletely un­suit­able for bass fish­ing. This got me think­ing about my awe­some kayak and fig­ured that this would be a great op­por­tu­nity to do a re­view on my cur­rent boat.

When re­view­ing any prod­uct it is al­ways help­ful to have a some­thing of a bench­mark to com­pare against and while I have fished of sev­eral kayaks and small boats in my life, the com­par­i­son be­tween Wilder­ness Sys­tem Ride 135 and other plat­forms I have used is dif­fi­cult. Wilder­ness Sys­tems launched the Ride 135 a few years ago and in my opin­ion set the bench­mark for fish­ing and es­pe­cially bassing kayaks.

Let us start with the ba­sics. At 13.5 foot in length the Ride is the kayak world’s equiv­a­lent of a 20 foot glit­ter boat. The hull is just un­der three foot wide and uses an in­cred­i­bly sta­ble triple hull, mak­ing the kayak very ma­noeu­vrable while still al­low­ing for a de­cent rate of speed on longer pad­dles. The Ride is so sta­ble in fact that an an­gler can eas­ily stand and fish!

It also got a great seat! It may not sound like much but when it comes to spend­ing a day sit­ting in the sun on a small boat a com­fort­able seat is of crit­i­cal im­por­tance. In ad­di­tion to com­fort the seat also pro­vide the an­gler with a bunch of lit­tle cubby holes and stor­age pock­ets for easy ac­cess to tools and tackle. While most kayaks will al­low the pad­dler to ad­just the foot

rests, the Ride’s seat is also ad­justable to shift the cen­tre of bal­ance on the boat, which is very handy when the kayak is loaded to its full 230kg ca­pac­ity. It is this huge weight car­ry­ing abil­ity that al­lows me to carry a 105 Amp hour bat­tery and trolling mo­tor for those re­ally long dis­tance days on the wa­ter. Another handy fea­ture of the Ride is the dual equip­ment rails in the cock­pit. These make it easy to at­tach fish fin­ders, rod hold­ers or what­ever else an an­gler feels is needed with­out un­nec­es­sary drilling.

Fish­ing of the Ride 135 is an ab­so­lute plea­sure! The boat is sta­ble and the high seat­ing po­si­tion makes for not only com­fort­able row­ing but also give re­mark­able vis­i­bil­ity when sight fish­ing. The hull is also very sta­ble when fight­ing fish and al­lows for quite a bit of move­ment with­out rolling or pitch­ing. The kayak turns eas­ily and an­chors’ safely with only a 0.7kg an­chor.

In the past, one of my pet hates re­gard­ing kayaks was al­ways how lim­ited I was in fish­ing tech­niques be­cause of the amount of tackle and specif­i­cally rods I could carry. On the Wildy how­ever I can eas­ily load 8 to 10 big tackle boxes of lures in the tackle bas­ket be­hind the seat. There is a small hatch in front of the seat that is per­fect for a small ter­mi­nal tackle pack that holds all my hooks and weights. The real treat though is the for­ward hatch. I can eas­ily fit 18 fully rigged rods into the hull of the kayak! And while it can­not be ac­cessed while on the wa­ter it al­lows me to se­lect what I need for my im­me­di­ate needs in my rod hold­ers on deck and keep a lot of other op­tions in re­serve.

For my money the Wilder­ness Sys­tems Ride se­ries is one of the best fish­ing kayaks avail­able in South Africa. It is com­fort­able, sta­ble and safe and comes from one of the lead­ing kayak brands in the world!

IF you are in­ter­ested in kayak fish­ing then this is one kayak that should be on your short list!

*De­wald Viljoen is spon­sored by Ca­noe & Kayak Cen­tre, the owner of Hot Reels Ser­vice Cen­tre, part­ner and de­signer at AfriBaits.

Top view of the Wilder­ness Sys­tems

Ride 135

Side view of the Wilder­ness Sys­tems

Ride 135

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