Best Fly Fishing Vests

Best Fly Fishing Vest: What Is It?

Fly fishing vests are used to protect your body from the cold water when you’re out on the water. They provide warmth, insulation and protection against wind chill while keeping you dry. There are several types of fly fishing vests available today, but they all have one thing in common; they keep you warm and protected from the elements. You might think that you could just put on a fleece jacket over your regular clothing, but it’s not quite that simple.

When you wear a fly fishing vest, you’re effectively wearing two layers of clothing. First, there’s the outer layer which keeps you warm and protects against the elements (wind chill). Then there’s the inner layer which provides additional warmth and protection from your surroundings (elevation).

The most popular type of fly fishing vest is called a rainfly vest. These are made with waterproof material and are designed to keep you dry in case you get caught out in a downpour. However, if the weather gets bad enough, they’ll probably stop working properly because they won’t allow moisture to escape through them anymore than a normal raincoat would.

If that happens, then you’ll quickly become soaked and chilled to death! This is why they’re typically not worn on their own, but are instead used in conjunction with other types of vests.

The most common type of jacket to go underneath a fly fishing vest is a regular down jacket or expedition vest. The extra layer keeps you plenty warm and will continue to do so even if the waterproof vest develops some leaks. Down jackets are also incredibly lightweight and packable, so it’s easy to throw one into your backpack without having to worry about the extra weight.

Fly fishing vests aren’t just for protection from the elements though. Some anglers like to stuff their pockets with all kinds of gear, so many choose to wear just a lightweight longsleeve shirt underneath their fly fishing vests. They’re also available in tons of different colors and patterns, so there’s no shortage of options to choose from.

For some anglers, the more gear they can carry, the better, but it all comes down to personal preference.

How to Choose a Fly Fishing Vests

There are several different types of fly fishing vests to choose from, so it can be difficult to figure out which one is right for you. In reality, it just depends on how you like to fish. Certain anglers want to be able to move around easily and don’t mind getting a little wet.

Other anglers want to stay as dry as possible. Some fly fishing vests are better for casting, while others are more comfortable for hiking in and still others are better at both of those things. The choice is completely up to you!

Down Vests: Down vests are designed for maximum warmth and comfort above all else. They’re usually made from high quality goose or duck down and are very lightweight and packable. In fact, most of them stuff into their own pockets for easy transport!

Because they’re so lightweight, they don’t usually offer as much wind protection as other fly fishing vests. If you tend to stay still while fishing or just don’t mind getting a little wet on the rare occasion that it happens, then a down vest might be perfect for you.

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Rainfly Vests: Rainfly vests are a hybrid of the down vest and the waterproof jacket. They’re not quite as warm as a down vest and they’re not quite as waterproof as a rainjacket either. They’re typically made from a lightweight waterproof material with lots of ventilation to keep you from getting too hot.

They range in price from low to high, but there’s one to suit any budget.

Rain Jackets: Rain jackets are the classic outdoor rain wear. They’re made with waterproof and windproof material and designed to keep the elements outside where they belong. They usually have plenty of pockets and feature a drawstring at the waist to adjust for a good fit.

The only problem with rain jackets is that they don’t breathe particularly well. If you wear one while fishing, you’ll end up soaked with sweat and could possibly even lose your lunch if the sun goes behind a cloud! It’s best to save these for when it’s raining and leave the down vests and rainfly vests for the warm days. However, a rain jacket is an essential piece of gear if you ever find yourself out in a storm.

Other Fly Fishing Vests: There are many other types of fly fishing vests to choose from which serve very specific purposes. You might see some that are insulated up to your neck, others with built in sunblock, or even ones designed to keep your arms and back free of flies while casting. There’s a vest out there for everyone and every type of fishing.

It just depends on how much you’re willing to spend and how much versatility you need.

You’ll be able to find what you want at a good price and it’s a great idea to own at least two vests: one that is lightweight and good for warm days on the water, and another that is insulated and good for the colder days.

The Fishing Vest Contents:

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As with any vest, there are many different compartments in different sizes to store all of your gear. It all depends on personal preference and what kinds of fish you typically fish for. Here are some common things that people carry in their fly fishing vests:

Fly Fishing Vest Pouch Contents:

This is the basic contents of a fly fishing vest that most people seem to carry in their vest. These contents are pretty versatile and can be used for nearly any type of freshwater fishing. It might seem like a lot of stuff, but most of it packs down into a small space and really doesn’t weigh that much overall.

Patches of grass, weeds and submerged logs are all good places to fish. You can also find fish in the shallows around dropoffs in the shoreline or rocks. Deep rocks and deep pools are harder to fish, but you still might be able to entice a hungry trout to bite.

There’s no exact science to fly fishing. Sometimes all you have to do is cast your line and wait. Other times, you need to “match the hatch” by imitating the various insects and crustaceans that fish eat.

Fish often prefer different foods at different times of the year, so you’ll need different flies for each season. You can match the hatch by sight or you can try to guess what the fish are eating and provide them with a better lure than their competitors.

Our bodies are comprised mostly of water, so it makes sense that fish mainly eat other aquatic creatures that are made up of the same substance. Most fish feed on things like insects, shrimp, small fish and minnow-type lures that look like natural prey. For the most part, they aren’t actually eating the lure but rather the smell of it.

You need to get the smell of the lure on your line so that fish can “smell” it in the water.

Trout are fussy eaters and they tend to prefer live bait, but they will sometimes eat lures if the conditions are right.

Trout tend to feed towards the bottom of the lake, so you’ll need to fish your line deeper than other types of fish.

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There are two main types of trout: Brook trout and brown trout. There is a lot of argument over which type is harder to catch. Some people even claim that there is no difference between the two and that it’s all a joke created by trout fishers to make themselves seem more elite.

Trout are most active at night and in the early morning and evening hours. They tend to get sluggish during the heat of midday.

Midges, small flies with red wings and black bodies, are one of the most common foods for trout. Fish this fly on the top of the water once the sun comes up.

Blue-winged olives are another popular food source for trout. Fish this fly fast and near the bottom to imitate an unfortunate shrimp that is trying to escape.

Sparkling gem minnows are a popular lure for many types of fish, but it works well for trout as well. Cast it out and reel it in slowly to attract these fish.

Sources & references used in this article:

Load bearing vest by DG Burwell – US Patent 5,617,582, 1997 – Google Patents

Integral vest fishing tackle carrier by PT Rosengren, BL Rosengren – US Patent 6,216,272, 2001 – Google Patents

Modular fishing vest system by P Woodcock – US Patent 9,022,269, 2015 – Google Patents

The Orvis fly-fishing guide by T Rosenbauer – 2017 –

Fly Fishing for Beginners by C Hansen – 2002 –