Submitted: 06-24-2009 by wlmbusiness
Purchased the '09 edition of the Tarpon 120 with the new adjustable seat, adjustable rigging, and new hatches. Spend a couple hours switching between the Tarpon 120 and the Ocean Kayak Prowler 13 during a demo event by EMS on a lake. Paddled each of them twice for good deal of time. Fished from both of them.
IMHO you can't go wrong with either one. However, I chose the Tarpon 120, because I felt it tracked a bit better and I knew I would want that when paddling to distant locations on my local lakes and during windy days (purchased the non-rudder version).
When testing I actually felt the Prowler seat was more comfortable (read on) and liked the fact that it was about 12lbs lighter than the Tarpon, however the Tarpon just felt better to me - more like a sit in kayak. The installed rod holders (holes) behind the seat on the Prowler position your rods about 35-40 degrees out to the sides, presumably for trolling (?); however on the Tarpon they are almost straight back, which I preferred because I like to fish all waters, including where trees over hang, and with the rods positioned more behind you, it's easier to paddle close or straight in to the bank to undo hang ups.
OK...have had the Tarpon 120 out numerous times and am glad about my decision.
1st - fished for six hours first time and was worried that my butt and lower back would be sore the next day. They were not. Which was a huge concern. The seat's backrest is very adjustable, which is very good, but what a lot of people commented on, and I do think is a great feature, is the thigh support (underneath your thighs) on the Tarpon seat.
2nd - had to get into shore, under trees, to get hang ups undone. Having the rods angled back, instead of out to the sides like the Prowler, was very nice. If I had been in the Prowler, the rods in the holders would have gotten tangled in the overhangs.
3rd - Tracking. After my six hours the first time out I had to paddle into 15ph head winds to get to the ramp, for about 1/2 mile and it tracked very well. Very steady.
Have been out a few times now. Really like it. The seat really surprised me. It's comfortable and adjusts well. I have found myself adjusting throughout the day to suit the way my body feels as he day goes on - basically for my back.
Gave it an 8 because I am sure they could even improve it more. But of you're looking for a fishing kayak in the 12-13ft range, check this one out for sure.