Wilderness System Radar and Perception Pilot: Pedals and Motors on the Water

Dean Campbell
Wilderness System Radar takes motor, pedal or paddle power with great performance and fishy features.

Confluence, parent company of Wilderness Systems and Perception, hit the ground running with a quiver of new and redesigned kayaks at OR Demo Day. In addition to a lighter, more compact ATAK 120, they added pedal and motor power to new and existing boats. Most notably, the brand new Wilderness System Radar takes both the Helix PD pedal drive and the Helix MD motor drive. The Radar comes in 115 (11.5 feet) and 135 (13.5 feet) models with the biggest difference being a larger bow hatch in the longer boat. A flat and stable hull tracks well and stays upright. The boat has all the fishing features expected of Wildy boats and uses the comfortable and adjustable, two-level AirMax seat that can be adjusted fore and aft to help balance the ride.

On the water, the RADAR performed well under the Helix PD pedals. Use both hands to ram the motor unit through the hull scupper then pedal away with little effort. When the boat reaches shallow water, press a foot pedal and the pedal unit pops up to reduce draft. The HelixMD motor system is one of the best on the market. A light and compact Torqueedo lithium battery powers the propeller. The angler controls speed and direction with a wired-throttle control that displays battery power, range, speed and even position. Wilderness cooked up a new rudder system to control the RADAR. Using a vertical lever, push forward to go right and pull back to go left. Then, the controller can be locked to keep the rudder in one position or folded out of the way to reduce snags. Right now, the pedal system is only offered on the Radar, but we expect it to expand to other models. The HelixMD motor is compatible with any boat that has a FlexDrive. 

 Not to be outdone, sister company Perception offers an updated Pescador 120 with Pilot pedal drive. We fell in love with the Pescador 120 earlier this year favoring good looks and just enough fishing gadgets to make it a great value. Now, Perception has added the new Pilot pedal drive to the Pescador 120 Pilot for a great price. A no-nonsense pedal drive powers a propeller that pushes the boat at a respectable speed. Handling and performance were comparable to other pedal boats at half the price.

Pescador pilot sm

Watch video of the Radar on the water at OR Demo Day. 



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“Thank God my dad wasn’t a podiatrist,” jokes Ric about following in the footsteps of a famous outdoor writer. After graduating from Radford University and serving two years in Russia with the Peace Corps, Ric returned to Virginia Beach and started writing for The Fisherman magazine, where his dad was editor. When the kayak fishing scene exploded, Ric was among the first to get onboard. His 2007 book, The Complete Kayak Fisherman is one of the first tomes to introduce anglers to paddle fishing and hundreds of articles and seminars have brought countless anglers into the fold. When he’s not chasing every fish that swims, Ric teaches English at a school for at-risk teens.


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