Field Tested: Wilderness Systems Radar 135 Fishing Kayak Reviewed

Wilderness Systems offers kayak fishermen a multi-use platform with its Radar 135. Featuring a versatile 13-foot, 6-inch hull that boasts both speed and stability, the Radar 135 is a nice hybrid craft, more than capable on both rough, open water and calmer in-shore stretches.

“I was out there fly-fishing in windy conditions, standing up three-quarters of the time and the boat is really stable — it just cuts right through the chop” says Kayak Fish contributing photographer and resident Pacific Northwest ‘yak tester Jesse Coble.

Radar 135
Jesse Coble

But perhaps the most innovative feature on the Radar 135 is its unique scupper portal used to mount either the Helix Motor or Pedal Drive. The options allow anglers to buy into the base kayak system for approx. $1,500, then modify as needed with pedals or a motor at a later time.

Coble also tested the Helix PD pedal drive and came back beaming. “It’s a pretty slick little situation which allowed me to cover a lot of ground quickly.” The drive slides into place easily, and retracts with a simple foot switch. Coble admits that fly-fishermen in particular should be aware of line spooling around the pedals, but we all know this is a problem inherent with all pedal-drive kayaks. With the Radar 135, you can simply remove the drive and utilize a nice clean deck, ready for fly-fishing action — and stable at 36 inches wide.

Radar 135
Jesse Coble

But where the pedals performed most was fishing salmon where, “you need to be able to troll at certain speeds,” Coble says. “And having your hands free ready to set the hook is key — with the right down-rigger setup, the PD pedal system works great.”

As with most high-end kayaks, the Radar 135 comes completely ready to customize. It has SlideTrax rails, open storage in the stern and water-tight bulkheads in the center hull and bow. The Air Pro MAX chair was also one of the most comfortable and customizable seats he’s used. A particular feature that impressed Coble is the flex-pod. This quickly removable container for your fish-finder system also houses the battery and transducer. All in the kayak weighs 90 pounds.

Radar 135
Jesse Coble

One issue Coble mentioned was the rudder assembly. It can be difficult to lower and raise the rudder while pedaling. But once deployed, the steering toggle performed well. All things considered, Coble concluded the Radar 135 is a great kayak for multiple types of fishing — one that allows you to keep your options open, when and if growing into the pedal- or motor-drive system upgrades fits your needs.

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The article was originally published on Kayak Fish

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