Monday, August 31, 2009

Where have all the vests gone? Part One

Both in the shop and on the river I’m seeing an increasing amount of anglers straying away from the traditional vest and leaning towards alternative options like a backpack, lumbar pack or chest pack, this includes myself. But why!? Vests have long since represented fly fisherman, it was their everlasting emblem, a silly neutral coloured vest with pockets for every nick-nack and accessory an imaginative angler could come up with. Why now do anglers look towards an alternative to the clumsy, heavy, hot, uncomfortable extra layer we call a vest, oh wait!

Manufacturers of fly fishing gear have put their minds to coming up with alternatives that work just as well as the traditional vest but have they succeeded? Well, in my mind the answer is no. There is not an alternative that holds as much gear in as easy access as the vest but there are some great attempts that stand out in their own way.

“The Fanny” or in man language, the waist pack sits on the hips usually in reverse holding all your fishing gear around your lower back. It quickly swivels around for a semi-easy access to pockets and zippered compartments. Just like a vest, the waist pack has compartments designed for fl y fishing paraphernalia, from tippet spool holders to a forceps pocket. The waist pack often holds much less than a vest but as a user of the Sage Lumbar Pack I find this an added benefit since it restricts me to my essentials. For example, there really is no need for seven fly boxes, six sizes of tippet, and every new line nipper on the market but that’s just me, some have the need or the desire to carry a lot of gear with them and in this instance the waist pack may not be large enough. The waist pack also doesn’t have an attachment for a net unlike the vest, this makes the waist pack less useful to the walk and wade anglers. For anglers that often fish from a boat where they are hopping in and out and carrying a boat net, then the waist pack works great. The Sage Lumbar Pack and the Simms Headwaters Series stand out as useful and durable waist packs for the avid fisherman looking for an alternative to the vest.

Part two to come- The chest pack as an alternative to the vest
Part three to come- The backpack and combination chest/backpack

No comments:

Post a Comment