Wilderness Systems introduced a new kayak for 2015 that leaned its tendencies towards former models rather than progressive, wider styles. The Thresher was designed to have offshore and big water speed like its older brother the Tarpon 160 but with several new twists and added stability. After a couple of weeks, the following are my thoughts.
The Thresher was designed for speed and it doesn’t disappoint. The 155 is the second fastest fishing kayak I’ve ever been in, rivaled only by the Tarpon 160 which is just a touch faster. That’s where the Tarpon advantages end. The Thresher takes that fast frame and packs in tons of added features.
The electronics pod which is removable is a great option and an improvement over the one available in the X model Ride 115. The center hatch is long and rectangular allowing access to the space below deck for quick and easy rod storage. No more yard sales!
The front hatch reminds me of hatches on the Hobie Pro Angler or Native Slayers but it is hinged unlike the Native and has a tighter locking mechanism with t-handles. The storage is scuppered so it can serve as a wet or dry storage depending on your daily needs.
Some clever molding went into the Thresher as well. The rests for the rod butts and molded in side handles are a great addition that may go unnoticed by many. Webbed pockets are a borrowed feature from the Tarpon series that finish out the deck.
The back tank well has lots of bungee and additional straps as well as molding made specifically to hold your crates in place. If you strap it down using the provided means, your cargo isn’t going anywhere.
The overall stability for the boat surprised me. Usually long, fast kayaks tend to be wobbly and not quite as firm in the saddle as I’d prefer. The Thresher dispelled that stereotype for me. I paddled into the wind, rocking it side to side and never met the tipping point. It’ll take some effort to get it past the secondary stability point. I would estimate a third of the kayakers out there might even be able to stand and fish. These folks will have a good sense of balance and a more evenly distributed physique.
Being a first run kayak, there will always be things to improve upon. I have a few.
The back bungee, to add stability is screwed into the track like the Native Slayer bungee. I still hate this. I realize it is for securing the cargo etc. Can someone please design a bungee securing mechanism that can be loosened by pressing a tab and slide up or down the track. If I need to make an on the water adjustment I do not want to have to fumble around with a screwdriver.
The back carrying handle is in a bad spot. Just like the Commander, the rudder blade, stowed in the slot as intended will lay right over the rear carrying handle. Are we still doing this? The Ride 135 Max fixed the issue, at least the 2015 did. Please use an alternate location for carry handles. Under the rudder is not a good place.
Speaking of rudders, a 15.5 foot long kayak should come with a rudder as the standard. It does turn decently without one (nine strokes to 180 degrees) but now I have a Thresher 155 in my garage and no rudders are even available yet. That’s like producing a new digital camera that takes a media card not yet in production. Please get this to retailers soon so I can buy it.
Behind the seat is a rear hatch molding. If you are going to mold it, go ahead and put in the hatch. It seems weird to suggest a hatch but not include it. And while we are talking seats, the included, mounted in, permanent seat with the adjustable back is decent. If you really want to be my hero, find a way to mount the Air Pro Max seat in the future Threshers. That would be amazing.
Overall the Thresher rates really well. The only issues I have with the kayak are preference and not performance related. It’s a bit like arranging a living room full of furniture. Lots of things and limited space. I can’t emphasize enough the ease at which the 155 paddled. My son took it out in the wind and his sub 60 pound frame was able to turn the kayak, paddle it into the wind as well as cross it. It’s fast and will be my big, open water kayak for 2015.