Fly fishing vests, while quite plain, are an essential component of the fly fishing wardrobe. Like the traditional tackle box for riverside anglers, the fly fishing vest allows you to keep all of your fly fishing gear organized and easily accessible. They fit comfortably over fishing waders so you can stay dry and have all of the gear you need. Since there are many cheaply made fly fishing vests on the market, we have decided to provide you with a list of the best fly fishing vests so that you can buy a quality vest that you know won’t rip easily.
Generally, new fishermen will spend hundreds on the best-in-class fly rod, but end up buying a really cheap fishing vest. This, of course, causes problems later on when the threads start unraveling, pockets tear, or the fishermen realized how unbelievably uncomfortable the vest really is. While good quality fly fishing vests might seem expensive initially, the cost will certainly pay off when you are still using the same vest years from now.
To help you in finding the perfect fly fishing vests, we have put together this guide and review of the best fly fishing vests that you can buy. First, let’s talk about what you need from a fly fishing vest.
What to Look for in a Fly Fishing Vest
A fly fishing vest is a substitute for the traditional tackle box so that you can have all of your fly fishing gear readily available while you are wading in the river. It holds everything you need including flies, tippets, clippers, leaders, line cleaners, various tools, fly floats, weights and many other things such as your car keys.
Pockets are essential in a fly fishing vest to hold all of your gear. The secret is to not have too many or too few pockets. The more pockets you have, the more stuff you are likely to bring which will only weigh you down and cause you to forget where everything is.
We suggest having between 10 and 20 pockets since this will be plenty to hold all of the gear you need without getting overwhelming. Having 10 pockets will force you to go fishing only with the bare necessities. You can leave the rest in your car or truck.
You also want to make sure that the pockets are the right size. If you have too many small pockets, you can easily lose track of all of your accessories and you may not have enough room for the bigger gear. Having 6-8 small pockets and 4-6 bigger pockets is generally enough. This will be enough space to store your fly boxes, leaders, keys, and wallet.
Fabric vs Mesh
Another big decision you will have to make is whether to buy a vest made from mesh or fabric. Mesh vests tend to be made from stretchy mesh material with fabric sewn where the pockets are. Fabric vests are entirely made of fabric. The main difference is that mesh vest tend to be more comfortable in the summer since they breath better.
While fabric vs mesh material certainly plays into the comfort level, you will want to buy a fishing vest that is comfortable so that you can wear it for hours while fishing. We highly recommend buying a fishing vest that is designed to reduce the weight on the neck and shoulders. Modern fishing vests tend to evenly distribute weight over the entire upper body. Comfort is certainly a personal preference but we know you will certainly want a comfortable vest.
Best Fly Fishing Vests
|Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest||24.5 oz|
|Anglatech Fishing Vest||26 ox|
|Redington Clark Fork Fishing Vest||24 oz|
|KyleBooker Fly Fishing Vest||24.5 oz|
|Mesh Fly Fishing Vest||25 oz|
|Maxcatch Hyfly||9 oz|
|Anglatech Fishing Backpack||35 oz|
|Lumsing Fly Fishing Vest||24 oz|
|Norco Tackle Fly Fishing Vest||26 oz|
|Elkton Outdoors Fishing Vest||24 oz|
Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest
This one-size-fits all fishing vest is our favorite since it is the most comfortable vest and has plenty of pockets for storage. The vest is made out of very sturdy material so it is sure to last a long time.
The main external pockets are large enough to hold a Gatorade bottle to give you some idea of how large they are. This is plenty of space for most fly boxes so you won’t need to worry about space. It even has a large pocket in the back for storing a water pouch or other things you won’t need easy access to all the time.
The vest can fit over or under a jacket since it is highly adjustable. It comes with straps on the shoulders and around the waist meaning this vest can fit just about anyone.
Anglatech Fishing Vest
Anglatech is one of the top fly fishing apparel manufacturers. They are known for producing high-quality apparel that is built by fishermen for fishermen.
Their fishing vest is made with the same quality as everything else they make so you can be sure it will survive countless fishing trips. It comes with more pockets than you can count (literally how they market this vest) which includes two large waterproof pockets so you can store your electronics safely.
The body of the vest is made from mesh so it is quite comfortable and breathable, even in the middle of summer. The vest is also designed to evenly distribute the weight all over so it is unlikely that you will feel any pressure points.
Overall, you can’t beat the low price on this vest. At the time of this writing, this vest is selling for less than $60 which makes it a steal when it comes to high-quality fishing vests.
Redington Clark Fork Mesh Fly Fishing Vest
A very straightforward fishing vest, the Redington Clark fishing vest will get the job done. Priced at around $30, the vest has enough pockets to hold all of your gear, but is simple enough to not over-complicate your organization.
This is a great fishing vest for kids since it can come in a youth size. If you’re looking for an affordable vest to get the job done, look no further.
KyleBooker Fly Fishing Vest
Another affordable fly fishing vest, the Kylebooker has plenty of pockets and places to clip things to. Similar to the Anglatech and Maxcatch fishing vests, the KyleBooker is much more affordable at half the cost. If you are willing to sacrifice some quality for price, this is the fishing vest for you.
Maxcatch Hyfly Lightweight Mesh Fly Fishing Vest
This fishing vest is by far the lightest weight vest on this list coming in at only 9oz. If you’re concerned about weight, this is the vestfor you. It is also the most affordable vest on this list since, at the time of this weiting, it is selling for less than $20.
The vest is made from polyester fiber and mesh which is sure to keep you cool on hot days. It comes with two large front and back pockets so you have plenty of storage space for fly boxes. There is even a fly patch on the chest to stick your flies.
Anglatech Fly Fishing Backpack
A modification of the Anlgatech fishing vest above, the Anglatech backpack is more suited for full-day fishing excursions. It comes with a 1.5-liter water bladder so that you can stay hydrated while out fishing. It comes with a ton of pockets and large back pouch which can be used to store anything extra you want to carry in addition to your regular fly fishing gear.
Norco Tackle V-Mesh Fly Fishing Vests
A stylish fishing vest, the Norco vest comes with 18 pockets to meet all of your storage needs. All of the straps are adjustable so the vest can fit any body shape and it is made out of lightweight nylon and mesh for optimal comfort.
The quiet cord pulls reduce the noise the vest makes so that you don’t disturb the fish you are trying to catch. It even comes with a rod holder for your convenience.
Elkton Outdoors Fly Fishing Vest
With plenty of storage, including 2 hard-shell pockets, the Elkton Outdoors fishing vest is great for any fishing trip. Designed like a backpack, this fishing vest is great for long trips that require excellent distribution of weight. The built-in swivel retractors keep your tools in reach and the entire vest is water resistant so you can keep your valuables dry.
Fishing vests are a critical component of the fly fishing outfit since they allow you to carry all of your gear with you. Choosing the right vest is very important since you will want to make sure that the vest has plenty of storage space, but is comfortable enough for long fishing trips and hot days. The fly fishing vests above should provide you with everything you need from a fishing vest, but be sure to try out several vests before making your decision to make sure the vests are comfortable enough for you.
Now that you’ve picked out your fishing vest, find out what essentials you should pack into your fishing vest.