Monday, June 1, 2015

Wilderness Systems ATAK Review

The acronym A.T.A.K. on the side of the new Wilderness Systems fishing platform stands for Advanced Tactical Angling Kayak. The marketing guys at Confluence could not have come up with a better name for this boat. It really does take the kayak fishing platform to another level with a unique combination of speed, stability, comfort, and unbelievable rigging options.

My new ATAK by Wilderness Systems
Full Disclosure: I am a Wilderness Systems Pro Staff member, but with that being said I was not drinking the Kool-Aid dished out during the overwhelming hype surrounding the release of the ATAK. I knew Wilderness would put out another great boat, but come on, it couldn't be "THAT" good. Well, I was wrong, it's even better than I could have hoped for.

My review:


This was one of the most promised attributes of the ATAK, touted as the most stable kayak Wilderness has introduced to date, the boat does not disappoint. The first time I took it out on our local lake I was able to stand with ease and after catching a few fish I put it to the real stability test. After unloading all of my gear I took the ATAK out and proceeded to walk the deck up to the front hatch then turned and walked over the seat through the back tank well. To clarify I am 6'3" 210 pounds and can barely stand on a skateboard. I even managed to stand on the very back end of the boat where the mounting plate for the power pole screws on until I finally lost my balance and splashed in the lake.


To get the kind of stability I talk about, you would think this thing couldn't paddle out of sight all day. I have paddled some other wide/stable boats made by different manufacturers and they are soooo slow and turn like a loaded tractor trailer. The ATAK handles very well when turning for a 14 ft boat, and is significantly faster than my Ride 135. The day I demoed the ATAK winds were blowing 15-20 mph across the lake and it paddled into the wind like a champ.


The Air Pro Max Seat has been out awhile now and it comes standard on the ATAK. One difference is the slide track mounting of the seat. Rather than fitting into grooves in the hull, the Air Pro can be easily moved forward and back across a much greater range than previous boats with this seat. The ATAK also comes standard with custom cut conseal silent traction for the standing platform, making standing more comfortable and the deck quiet if you set gear down between uses.


The front storage compartment offers plenty of volume to hold an anglers gear and is easily accessed by sliding towards the bow with your legs over the side or getting into a kneeling position on deck. Under the seat is a dry storage pouch to hold keys, wallets, etc. The back tankwell is cut to hold a crate so that it wont shift around and there are tie downs to anchor the crate with bungee cords. At the very back of the boat is a hatch with built in foam rod holder and cut out for a battery to run more electronics.

Ease of rigging

To start with the Flex Pod OS makes rigging a fish finder a breeze, and if you happen to own the Wilderness Systems Thresher the Flex Pod will transfer between the boats. The ATAK is also surrounded in gear trac, so if you are nervous about drilling holes in your boat, there is ample space for screw on mounts and adapters in the gear trac. The back hatch offers an additional spot for a battery, giving anglers another option to power their lights and other electronics without draining their fish finder battery. The ATAK also offers a ton of space around the tankwell for those of you daring enough to drill into the hull.

Overall the ATAK more than lives up to the hype, the only drawbacks being the sheer weight of the boat if you are slight of build and the late release of the rudder system. I absolutely love this kayak and stay tuned for more options that will fit into the Flex Pod cavity as the year progresses!


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