Submitted: 05-07-2003 by joossens
I've had my Tarpon 120 for about a month now and already I've used it about twice as many times as I used my Cape Horn 17 after having it for about 6 months. I LOVE this kayak! I get this kayak out on the water every chance I can. I've done a few more minor modifications so I decided to do a "brief" follow-up review. One thing I did was insert one of those foam practice golf balls in each of the scupper holes on the bottom side. When I paddle at a sprint I can hear water churning in the front holes and I know that drag is slowing me down no matter how slightly. I've estimated that I can do about 4.5 to 5 mph on this kayak. Not bad...but any loss of speed is a problem for me. That's the one and only thing I miss about the Cape Horn.
I mentioned that I placed brass screw type plugs in the scupper holes. The two that are located at the foot well area were getting pushed down from me moving my feet around so took a hack saw and cut off the screw ends that stood up above the surface. I then ground the remaining metal smooth on a grinder. They stay right in place now. The other 6 plugs still have the ends remaining as I've had no problem with them.
Like I said in my previous review I have back problems and I'm not completely comfortable sitting for long periods. I can say I'm far more comfortable on the Tarpon 120 than I ever was on any other kayak I've used. With the Cape Horn I could only sit in it for maybe an hour tops before I HAD to get out and stretch. With the Tarpon 120 I can sit on it practically indefinitely. But still I felt the Tarpon could use some "tweaking." I got the idea of buying a Therm-a-rest inflatable mattress and the camp chair conversion accessory. However that's like $100 investment. If I were camping on my kayak all the time that would be somewhat more palatable I suppose. It would be great to have it for dual use and as an added bonus it wouldn't take up any storage space. However I saw a review where someone mentioned buying a camp chair at Walmart. I went there and found what was called a "stadium seat." It's designed just like the therm-a-rest setup but for only $10. You just can't use it as a mattress. I bought it and WOW is it comfortable! It's so comfortable rather than getting out on the shore and maybe resting on a log, sometimes I'll just back it up to the shore and sit for awhile enjoying a the peace and quiet. As an added bonus the seat has some pockets on the bottom that I'm able to tuck things into like my keys, bug spray and so on. I'm VERY happy with that purchase. It also perfectly matches the color of my kayak. Way to go Walmart!
One other thing I can say about this kayak is that I can simply toss it on the back of my little Isuzu pickup. I used to have to install/remove a rack setup to carry the Cape Horn. That's a BIG reason why I use this one more frequently. But there's more! With that 17 foot long Cape Horn it was difficult to find enough shoreline on a river to park so I could get out to stretch. With this Tarpon I can point the nose straight toward the shoreline and park it practically anywhere. I can climb right off the front of it no problem. As a test I once stood up on it and it didn't feel tippy at all. Consequently I don't feel squeamish about taking my digital camera along with me on paddles as I did with the Cape Horn. With that new seat I bought I also have a perfect sized pocket in which to carry the camera.
Something else I really like about this kayak is the way it practically sits on top of the water. A river I frequently paddle on has literally hundreds of fallen trees in it. Most of them are right under the surface of the water. This kayak just glides right over them! The other day I was able to paddle across a shallow (gator infested) marsh with no problem. Also I've had power boats whiz past me and this kayak glides right over the wakes without nose diving. The cockpit always stays dry. Haven't tried it in the ocean and don't plan to either. Gators? No problem. Kayak swallowing ocean? No way! :O)
If I haven't already made it absolutely clear, I'm totally ecstatic about this kayak! Somehow this Tarpon 120 increases my enjoyment of being on the water by a factor of 100. That's something I would not have guessed was possible! Nuff said. Now I'm off to do some more paddling.