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Discussion Starter #1
I asked this question on another forum and did not get a good response. How many of you use a vest when fishing for steelhead? And, if you do do you have a recommendation for a vest that works well for steelhead/spey rods? If not, any recommendations for fleece, etc. that have good pockets AND a D ring in the back? The D ring is important because I often fish alone and rely on a net to land the fish.

As always,
Thanks -
David Dornblaser
 

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I no longer use a vest for steelhead (or salmon) fishing. Trout fishing I still wear a vest, but with the Spey rod I find all the fly boxes in the vest get in the way.

Since steelhead weather is normally cold and rainy, I wear a Simm wading jacket. I stick a couple boxes of flies in the pockets and some leaders/tippet material and I am good to go. Hemos and clippers are on the jacket. There is a "D" ring on the back if you want a net.

My wife bought the Simms jacket as a gift and I love it (and her) ... I have since bought a couple pairs of Simm wadders. Great stuff!

Also, where I fish the car is never far away and there is always more flies and equipment waiting there.

Fishing from a boat ... I throw everything in a boat bag ... no vest required.

Stephen
 

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I also ditched my vest when I got into using two-handers full time. I now have a fanny pack and have been eyeing up a bandolier style pack made by William Joseph. This looks like the ultimate combination of being out of the way, but handy, and safe and dry when deep wading. Available from some of the site sponsors too :) .
 

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Hey Bob,
I would agree with Matt. I got rid of my vest and tried a sage fanny pack, but did'nt like it when deep wading as it hung in the water unless you used the neck strap (uncomfortable). The William Joseph "bandolier" pack Matt refers to is called the Satchel, and it was recommended to me by Highlander 2. I bought it and love it. It hangs well out of the way on your back, doesn't droop in the water. And when you need it it just rotates around to the front. Very well designed IMO.
 

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Member FRSCA
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packs

I too have ditched my vest. In the process of getting away from it I tried one of those Cabelas chest pack, nice set up, and nice price at $30.00. I found I could cast fine with it on, but fighting fish with it on was tough, always ended up wrestling out of it and tossing it on the bank. I now use two different systems. I have one of those water proof roll top hip sacks from The North Face, which works good, but I find throughout the day I keep tightening it up a little at a time until its darn near cutting off the circulation to the lower half of my body. The second is the small backpack for my hydration system (again from TNF), with the bladder removed it holds plenty. I originally bought it for Mtn. biking, but since I can't seem to find a way to cast from my bike, I rarely ride it anymore. I find with the bladder in and full space is limited. It holds everything I need with room for a big bottle of water. Cool thing about it is that the pocket that holds the bladder is insulated, so the big bottle-o-water stays cool. Bad part is that in order to get at boxes or tippet or whatever you have to remove the pack from your back. I have dropped my rod while doing this (This is when I discovered rods don't float). Another cool thing is the slender design keeps it from catching the fly when I cut a cast a bit a bit close. I like the back pack the best out of everything I have tried. I have been eyeballing those WJ bandlear things also, but haven't tried one yet. A friend has one and loves it, no need to remove the whole thing to access the pockets.

The backpack also has plenty of spots you could hang a net from.
 

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That Guy in PEI.....
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Vests?? No thanks!!!

I use a columbia shirt with multi-pockets for leader etc. Camera and pliers in the pouch of my waders and a patagonia deep jacket when it is cool or actually whenever it is realistic to wear. Otherwise it is a patagonia fleece or less if it is warmer. I always wear a wading belt and drape a white cotton glove over it when i need to tail a salmon or wrap it in my gravel guards until i need it. I am not a big fan of vests and when i two hand it i really dislike them.
Salmon Chaser
www3.pei.sympatico.ca/flyfish
 

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Dornblaser (Orvis Tac-L-Pak)

I also try to carry everything I need in my Barbour Spey jacket. However, this is the more modern version with smaller pockets. So I have to limit the tackle I fish with. I keep all my flies in a few large boxes with a couple of spare small boxes. When I arrive at the river I check out the conditions and only take what I need; I fill the spare boxes with a few flies suited to the conditions and my pockets with appropriate leader material, thermometer, etc.

Having said that, if the weather seems to be very changeable (as it usually is in Scotland) I like to wear an Orvis Tac-L-Pak vest, with a waterproof(ex-army goretex) jacket stuffed into the rear pocket. The vest also allows me to take a bottle of water when a lot of walking is required.
 

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Ghetto caster
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I tend to just stuff everything down the front of my waders. If you strap on your wading belt to a snug but comfortable fit, you have your whole torso to use. I typically carry two fly boxes, a couple spools of tippet, extra tips in the Rio wallet, and a spool of heavy mono for butt sections. If I feel the need to bring a rain jacket I just stuff it in the back of my waders. In the event that I need the jacket I can easily pull it out and then transfer the materials into the pockets if I feel the need. Most of the time I'll just leave them in the waders. Keep tools on a lanyard and your ready to fish! If I'm fishing from a boat I use a tackle bag.
 

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No Vest

I agree with Matt. Vests get in the way when fishing a two hander. I have gone to a fanny pack as well and so far no complaints. OTher than not having enough room. But thats just because I am a pack rat and want six boxes of flies, tools, tippet material and everything else I can get in there!
 

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swing'n Lemmings
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Packs

I too ditched the vest. I am now using one of these fishpondusa.com/windWalker.cfm#
that I extended the straps on so I can sling it over my back. so when I am casting it is out of the way. i can fit just about every thing I need to in it. when I am in the boat however I carry a suitcase :chuckle: .
in the winter I just throw every thing in my wading jacket and the front pocket on my waders.
Rambo
 

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Skidrow Woolley Fly Club
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I have no problem with anything getting in the way while casting a 2 hander. Don't understand why others do.

I don't wear anything special anymore to care tackle in. I don't take enough stuff along to need a vest or a fanny pack. All I need to steelhead fish is a lanyard with nippers and a hook file. A small spool of leader material. A tip wallet large enough to carry 3 tips. A fly box large enough to carry a half dozen to a dozen or so flies. Add a river and I am ready to go.
 

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Relapsed Speyaholic
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Well I will dare to be the odd one and say yes, I wear a vest. I have toyed with ditching it but have yet to find anything better. The wading jacket works but I fish steelhead 11 months a year and have no need to wear a jacket for at least 4 of those months. Part of the reason I wear a vest is I'm a pack rat and everything I need, or may need, on the river is in my vest.

a set of sunglasses
two fly boxes
gloves, sometimes two pair
butane
UV patch
tippet spool(s)
a couple hand tied leaders
thermometer
cloth tape
electrical tape
ferrule wax
headlight
priest
ibuprofin
license
two tip wallets (one for 6,7,8 weights and one for 9,10,11 lines)
flask
lense wipes
forceps
pen
nippers
TP
plug cutter and lighter
kitchen sink

I have no problem with the vest getting in the way and I don't need to take it off when I'm on the oars of the driftboat or pontoon.
 

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Steelhead Dreamer
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I second the Simms Wading Jacket. The new G3 model has tippet spool pockets that are flat on the front face, fly box pockets that will take very large boxes and a waterproof zipper so you don't have to fight the darn storm flap. Perfect steelheading gear. Tried the fanny packs, bandoliers, backpacks, vests, etc. and found they all are either in the way or never easily available when you actually need them.

Regards,
 

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I also like to just snug up my wading belt and jam everything into my waders. Just be careful when you have to take a leak that you take it all out first or all your stuff will slide down into your legs.
 

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I wear a vest in the winter but I wear it under my shirt, by this time of year I find wearing a shirt and tie keeps me warm, by opening the tie I can adjust the temperature.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Willie Gunn said:
Tie? We have business casual now (which I do not like) but what about casual casual?

David Dornblaser

Willie Gunn, no, offense meant; but, my wife who works for a UK company and is in London a lot was reading this post over my shoulder as I typed it - laughed and said, "must be a Scot". Luckily, she has taken up fly fishing and will this summer take lessons on the long rod so I hope that you can forgive her.
 

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.......Have never used a vest for any fishing, use a backpack to carry what I need. Used to cram it full of uneccessary stuff. When I realized I only needed 3 or 4 patterns of flys, there is hardly anything in it anymore. While I carry everything from a camera and binoculars, to toilet paper (sometimes making me the most popular guy on the river), I could carry everything in my SST jacket and my waders.
 
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