May 052013

What a busy weekend!  Seems like just yesterday we purchased our first canoe and this weekend we’ve sold it!

And… purchased a new kayak!

Wilderness systems tarpon 100

On the Xterra… Ready for action!

After what seems like years of looking for a kayak on Craigslist (and a few near misses) it feels good to finally have a solid boat on the roof.

wilderness systems tarpon 100

Tarpon 100 and Barkley the kayak dog

Kayaks are a tough thing to buy in Southeastern PA.  Most of what you will find at big box sporting goods stores are complete junk and Outdoor shops like REI and Eastern Mountain sports all seem to be priced higher than they should be.

I saw an ad on Craigslist for a Wilderness Systems Tarpon 100 and started looking into the stats for this boat.  Originally I had my heart set on a 12 foot kayak thinking that as a big dude I’d need a big boat.

The more research I did the more I started to realize that a 10 foot boat was the smart choice.  Smaller boat, smaller price tag, less weight to put up and down on the car.

I compared the Tarpon 100 to the 120 and honestly the cockpit was pretty much the exact same size (although I believe the 100 is wider)

I decided this morning that I wanted to visit a local shop, Nature’s Way Canoes & Kayaks over near Lake Nockamixon and see what they had to offer.  I was immediately impressed by the size of this shop.  They had a large selection of boats and a shed full of quality accessories.

But what really sold me was the service…

I have to admit going into any “specialty store” always makes me nervous.  As a kayak newbie I had visions of feeling out of my element and clueless.  This time that wasn’t the case.  The folks at Nature’s Way greeted me with a smile and a TON of gentle knowledge.   Instead of pointing out the things I didn’t know, they helped me fill in the gaps (in a way that didn’t hurt my ego).

At no point did I feel like they were trying to “close the sale” or hustle me along.  My wife and I spent a few hours there and honestly it felt like we were just chilling with old friends.

Installing rod holders on a tarpon 100 kayak

Rod holders… Installed while you wait!

Bill and his trusty dog Barkley were happy to install a couple of rod holders while wifey and I waited in the shade.

If you live in Eastern PA I would suggest visiting Nature’s Way Canoes & Kayaks.  I usually buy a lot of stuff online but next time I need kayak gear I’m going to make the trip to this shop.  Keeping awesome local businesses like this open is just the right thing to do (plus there is awesome ice cream right up the road).

In case you are wondering, I did take the kayak out for a test run on Lake Nockamixon.  After a few minutes I was fishing and floating along happily.  It’s been a while since I’ve been in a small boat and my balance needs some work but a few more trips and I think I’ll have it down.  Loading and unloading the boat was easy too thanks to all of the guidance I received from the folks at Nature’s Way.


Are you a kayak fisherman?  Have any tips or links you’d like to share with a newbie?  Let us know in the comments below!




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  • I loved my 10′ boat and kept it for years. Only reasons I moved to a 12.5: kayaking with my young son, easier to paddle long distances, and safer in the winter. You will not be disappointed with your WS kayak. It’s a great brand (originally out of North Carolina) and when I bought my 12.5 I was really hoping to get into a WS but the price kept me away. Enjoy it!

  • owl

    You know, you’ve sealed my fate with one of these contraptions now. I can’t let you have all the fun. 🙂

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