Factory-ready for serious fishing. Photo: Courtesy Wilderness Systems
Factory-ready for serious fishing.

The Tidewater Kayak Angler Association’s Fish for Charity tournament is famous for two things: good fishing and bad weather. So, when Wilderness Systems’ new Ride 115X arrived two days before the event, I was anxious to put it to the test. 

The 115X is the latest in a line of Ride boats that feature the proven performance of a pontoon-style hull and wide-open cockpit. The latest incarnation adds bold new ideas to make the Ride 115X a serious fishing machine right off the showroom floor. 

As expected, on the day of the tournament the wind was blowing northwest at 20 knots. I found a sheltered launch and dumped the 115X into the water. Even with the added profile of the elevated Phase 3 Air-Pro seat, the boat’s short waterline allowed me to cut through the wind and escape into a small cove. 

Since the kayak is outfitted with Slide Trax and Might Mounts, it only took a few minutes to add accessories like rod holders and camera mounts. The most notable feature on the 115X is the removable fishfinder pod that houses the fishfinder display, battery and transducer in a self-contained unit that can be removed from the boat in less than three seconds. 

The Ride really shines when it is time to stand up and fish. Using the stand-assist strap, I pulled myself up and grabbed my rod out of the pre-molded rod holder. The hull is perfectly suited for the sheltered waters I was fishing. I could fish from the bow or the stern, but I was most comfortable standing on the broad, padded foot wells just in front of the center hatch. Wilderness Systems even added two scuppers to make the floor more solid. This boat is built for sight casting, but switch out the elevated Air Pro seat for a low-profile model and the 115X will handle open water and choppy seas. 

According to Hans Nutz, a product designer at Wilderness Systems, the 115X is a continuation of the proven features of the original. “Kayak angling enthusiasts loved the stability, maneuverability and outfitting of the Ride, but had suggestions for how we could better serve the specific needs of a serious angler,” explains Nutz. 

The new layout went through a long and tedious process of trial and redesign. Nutz says, “For the Ride 115X we relied heavily on the Wilderness Systems pro staff and other serious anglers for ideas and testing.” 

Wilderness also worked closely with RAM, Lowrance and YakAttack to ensure that the deck layout would accept the widest range of accessories. “We wanted to maximize every inch of the boat for serious fishing,” Nutz says. 

After seven hours dodging the wind and catching small fish, I packed the 115X back on my trailer and headed to the tournament party. I am impressed with the boat’s high-quality construction and smart layout. The pontoon hull is rock-solid, and the short waterline makes it easy to maneuver while standing or seated. Even if I didn’t catch the biggest fish in the tournament, Wilderness Systems’ Ride 115X is a winner in my book.

RIDE 115X SPECS 

Length………………11’6” 

Width……………….33” 

Max Capacity…….500 lbs 

Deck Height………16.5” 

Weight……………..76 lbs 

Cockpit Length…..67” 

Cockpit Width……21.5” 

Ride 115X………….$1,029 

Ride 115X Advanced………….$1,059 

Ride 115X Advanced Angler………………$1,229

 

WILDERNESS 115X FISH-FRIENDLY FEATURES

» Rigid aluminum handles last a lifetime. 

» Additional scuppers for added floor support. 

» Security bars offer solid tie-downs. 

» Removable console holds fishfinder display, battery and transducer. 

» Eight-inch slide tracks on tankwell and console. 

» Wide bulkhead for flush-mounted rodholders and other accessories. 

» Elevated Phase 3 Air-Pro seat is comfortable with convenient cubbies for storage. 

» Orbix bow and mid-ship hatches.

This article originally appeared on page 40 of the Winter 2013 issue of Kayak Angler magazine. To read this article in our digital issue, click here. Read the rest of the Winter 2013 issue in our digital editions. 

 

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