Gear Review: Wilderness Systems Thresher 140
- LENGTH: 14' 3" / 434 cm
- WIDTH: 28.75" / 73 cm
- MAX CAPACITY: 400 lb / 181 kg
- DECK HEIGHT: 14.25" / 36 cm
- WEIGHT: 75 lb / 34 kg
Location of Test: Hood Canal, WA for the Salmon Slay Ride Derby
Duration: 1.5 Days
Value Rating: 9
Durability Rating: 9
Overall Rating: 9.5
Full Review: I had the opportunity this weekend to fish out of Wilderness System's new offshore fishing angler before it hits retail shops; and I have to say, it's a pretty awesome boat. The offshore/big water kayak fishing scene has been needing a solid, high performance boat that can not only handle harsh conditions in an efficient manner, but retain the features that anglers require.
I was really impressed with how the Thresher handles. With plenty of rocker and volume, the thresher was nimble enough to easily maneuver in choppy conditions while having enough tracking to make straight line paddling efficient and quick. I was fishing for Chum Salmon at the annual Heroes On The Water Salmon Slay Ride (visit NWKA for more info), and the Thresher more than handled the tidal conditions of the Hood Canal despite the combat fishing conditions I encountered.
If I were to take the Thresher through the surf I felt that thigh straps would help provide the edge control to easily carve and surf. Even without thigh straps, I was able to easily get the boat on edge and take advantage of the secondary stability the Thresher provides. I found that the Thresher was more than stable enough to fly fish and pull crab traps from, even while sitting side saddle the Thresher felt like a solid platform in the 2 foot wakes of power boats. I was able to efficiently keep up or outpace my competitors pedal driven kayaks, which in a tournament scenario where getting to the fish quickly is critical, really made a difference.
The Thresher has a lot of fishing specific features that make outfitting and rigging a breeze. Like all Wilderness Systems fishing boats, built-in track rails makes adding rod holders a snap. The rear tankwell fit my milkcrate perfectly. The center hatch is easily opened, giving you access to the inside of the boat and allowing enough space to store terminal or spin rods while seated (I couldn't get my fly rod to fit), giving you a safe place to keep them while going through the surf. The front hatch has a large hood with a thick paddle keeper that allowed me to easily stow my paddle while fishing, a vast improvement over the bungee paddle keeper found on the Tarpon and Ride series. The front storage well is scuppered, allowing for easy storage of fish or gear that can get wet(I had scupper plugs in while fishing, but did find a small amount of water came in through the hood). The electronics pod allows anglers to keep their fishfinder, battery, and transducer in a removable, one piece container, with a recessed transducer scupper on the underside of the boat, similar in theory to the pod on the RideX, I like the application better on the Thresher.
"The Good" List:
- Fast tracking, high volume, and the rocker lets you get to the fish quickly, even in gnarly water.
- Solid and comfortable
- Airpro phase 3 seating
- Gas pedal style rudder control and foot braces are comfortable and easily adjusted for a wide range of control and comfort
- Great storage/fishing specific outfitting gives ample room for tackle and gear
"The Not so Good List":
- This boat is HEAVY, while a relative mid weight compared to other fishing boats, loading and getting this boat to the water solo was a pain. The recessed side handle allow you to move it very short distances by yourself, but something about it just felt really unwieldy on land. I didn't notice the heaviness whatsoever on the water.
- Foot brace tracks felt really flimsy and poorly secured. There was a lot of play where the track is attached to the boat. The braces themselves felt solid.
- The electronics pod had a very small amount of water build up on the inside, an easy home fix, but not where I would want to keep a battery without a seal of some kind around the rim.
The Bottom Line: If you want to fish offshore or possibly treacherous conditions, the Thresher 140 out performs boats in its class. I would be stoked to use this boat for coastal fishing, but also in freshwater scenarios.