If you wanted to fish out on the open water then it used to be the case of deciding to wear a life jacket or instead of wearing a purpose-built fishing vest in which you could keep all the supplies that you needed to hand. Thankfully these days keen fishermen don’t need to make that choice.
Whether you’re out on a boat, anchoring up in your kayak or throwing a line from a paddle board you want to make sure that you’re getting the best fishing life jacket available, so that you don’t get frustrated with not having the vital equipment to hand while also staying safe.
We’ve looked at the best fishing life jacket reviews to see which is the top rated fishing life vest on the market. With this great list, along with our buying guide, you should be able to find the best fishing life vest for you. So read on, pick your favorite and head out there for hours of fun.
How To Choose A Fishing Life Jacket – Buying Guide
Comfort isn’t an aspect that has been traditionally associated with life jackets as they were initially invented for emergencies whereby you’d put one on in times of distress. As the technology has moved on there has been an ever-increasing desire to have life jackets that aren’t put on in times of emergency, and instead meant to be worn at all times just in case the worst was to happen.
All the jackets that we’ve reviewed here are meant to be worn for a long period of time, so therefore comfort is paramount. Life jackets aren’t just there to saved lives in emergencies anymore, which is why they are more formally known as Personal Floatation Devices (PFD) as they are meant to give you that added assistance when you find yourself in the water.
They are still most commonly known as life jackets however, and they are now more comfortable than ever due to the adjustments that you can make and the material that they are made out of. When you wear a jacket, you should not have anything that bothers you in terms of the fit and the jacket shouldn’t ride up at all. When it comes to how secure the fit should be, it should be secure against your body but without being restrictive.
There are also other things to consider when it comes to comfort as well with such aspects of what activity you’re planning to do. If you’re going to be out there on a kayak or a canoe, then you want a jacket that isn’t going to be uncomfortable when you’re paddling and won’t ride up either, as if you pick up the wrong type of jacket, you could quickly end up with a sore back.
When looking into comfort, you want to make sure that you’re doing your research; if you have a distractive body size then you’ll want to make sure the options are out there for you. Some jackets have universal sizing, while others have a range of different sizes. Finally, if you’re going to be in a hot climate, getting a more open jacket with a mesh back might be the best option for you.
These jackets that have been reviewed here are all highly functional, but some provide different features to others. If you’re going to be out on a sailing boat and dropping anchor then there isn’t much reason for you to grab a life jacket that has 11 pockets as you’ll have the comfort of a more wide open space to be able to store your fishing gear as it won’t be too awkward to reach.
If you’re going to be dropping an anchor from a kayak instead though, then you might want those extra pockets as due to the lack of room and mobility you might prefer to be able to have everything just laid out in front of you instead. This is where having those extra pockets can be useful but this can also depend on how organized you are as well as your own personal preference.
You may just prefer the idea of having just a few pockets available on your front for your main supplies and another option for the rest, such as having a bag or a box in front of you. What can also make a difference is whether you just want a jacket for fishing or other activities as well. If you were wanting to venture out on something like a jet ski, then having a large jacket with large bulky pockets on the front isn’t really an option.
There are jackets available on this list that are more streamlined and can be used for a variety of different activities. There are other considerations too such as if you are an occasional angler who most of the time just goes out on the kayak. You probably won’t want to have to buy a different life jacket for every activity, so having one that can function in different ways for different activates would be ideal.
Naturally a lot of the time we see it as better if you have more options available, but that’s not always the case. If you only ever use two pockets but have 11 to choose from, then you might find yourself searching a lot of empty pockets until you find what you’re looking for. On the other hand, if you’re an organized fisherman who will find a use for every pocket and loop on your jacket, then getting one which has the highest amount of functionality is perfect.
A life jacket isn’t like a shirt that you can pick up from a store that may be a touch too big or a little bit too short. A life jacket needs to be able to fit you perfectly so that there is no chance of it coming off should you ever find yourself in danger. This need to being unable to be taken off also need to be linked in with the comfort level as well, if you have a secure life jacket that feels tight and restrictive then you’re not going to want to wear it.
That’s where having adjustable straps makes such a huge difference as they make sure that you’re able to get the correct fit. A life jacket should feel secure to your body without being too restrictive, when you place it on you should be able to adjust the straps so that you’re getting to correct fit for your body type. Given the range of adjustment that is available, this shouldn’t be an issue.
Some life jackets have a universal sizing option, while others will have a range of sizes that you can choose from. It’s important at this point to check with the manufacturer and there sizing guides to see what they mean by their sizes. Unfortunately, there can be changes in not only the measurements between different companies, but also the weight that they hold as well. You don’t want to make the mistake of selecting a size just because that’s what you bought before from a different company.
Different jackets have different belts in different locations, but this will generally be due to how the jacket was designed rather than one being better than the other. Pretty much all of these vests though have adjustable shoulder straps as that’s where most of the adjustments will come. Others will have them on the top of the chest, others will have them across the chest like a traditional life jacket and others will have them underneath. Where they are doesn’t really matter, as it’s just due to that specific design of the jacket.
One you think you have adjusted the life jacket properly, then it’s not time to put it away for you to get it out again when you’re out on the open water, as you need to test it out first. As we’ve said here, a life jacket should be secure without being restrictive.
To test it out it’s best getting to easy calm water such as pool, once you jump in the jacket shouldn’t ride up or move while it’s on you. A life jacket should be able to fully support your weight while you’re in the water and keep your airways clear. If your life jacket moves around, then you need to readjust it until it no longer happens.
US Coast Guard (USCG) Approved
When it comes to PFD’s the US Coast Guard have strict rules on what they will approve and that they won’t. There are different types of PFD which come in five different categories. Type I is the type of life jacket which you would traditionally associate with such a vest as these are the ones that are used in emergencies in rough seas. Type II jackets are a little bit smaller, but have more or less the same design and are used for emergencies or for toddlers who can’t swim as they offer more support.
All the USCG approved that we have in this list are Type III jackets. This means that they have enough buoyancy for you to be out the water, but under the assumption that you will be rescued fairly quickly as they don’t offer the same head support as a Type I or II jacket. A Type III will leave your arms open so that you can do activities such as paddling.
A Type IV device are the emergency ones that you see get thrown into the sea at times of emergency and the Type V are more specialized life jackets for such thing as high-impact water sports so would be no use for fishing. So if you want to make sure that you’re protected while you’re out on the water, you’ll be wanting to have a Type III PFD that is approved by the US Coast Guard.
When it comes to whether you should get an approved jacket or not also comes down to the law as well. If you’re on a kayak or a canoe then there is no such law to govern whether you should be wearing a PFD or not. On a boa, however, it is a different matter as everyone aboard has to have access to a life jacket, and anyone under the age of 13 should be wearing them at all times. If you’re planning on getting on a boat, then make sure you have a life jacket which is USCG approved.
If it has been approved then finding this information should be relatively easy. It’s a selling point that all companies who have it are keen to highlight so it should be fairly obvious from any product descriptions. When it comes to the packaging, the USCG logo should be shown. If you can’t find this information, then it won’t be approved and you don’t get that guarantee of its water safety.
User Age and Gender
When it comes to life jackets that are designed to be used for fishing, then there is a clear demographic that is targeted with how they are designed and built and that is for adult men as that’s by far the largest group who use them. The jackets in this list are designed to be a men’s fishing vest, as women and children require different design aspects with life jackets.
With small children, they generally have a strap that goes between the legs and with women then there is generally design aspects which make sure the jacket is comfortable across the bust. There are a few life jackets for women that are specifically designed for fishing, but most of the jackets in this list would be able to provide enough comfort and support. It may be best to go into a store to try one on to see how they fit.
There are plenty of standard life jackets that are designed for women which is another option, and some come with the type of pockets that we see where. As for children, they aren’t going to be going out and fishing on their own, so having a purpose-built life jacket isn’t really required. Instead, it’s probably a better idea for you to carry the supplies in your jacket while they have a regular jacket.
Colors and Design
Fishing jackets generally come in a typical color of the dark greens that you usually see, and this is often the most popular option that you see on the market. If you’re out there in safe waters then the color of the jacket won’t make too much of a difference as it doesn’t become much of a safety issue. With normal types of life jackets you often see a lot of choice, but with fishing jackets they are generally confined to only a few colors.
Color though can be a safety issue and that is mostly when you want that extra bit of visibility that a brightly colored jacket can provide. If you might be in a situation where you might not be spotted immediately, when you may way to look for a jacket in a color such as yellow or red. There is a reason life jackets on large ships come in brighter colors. Usually it doesn’t matter, but choosing a brighter color might give you extra peace of mind.
Another safety measure that you might want to look for are reflective strips on the jacket. Only a few provide these, but if you’re planning to head out in low-light then they will give anyone looking to rescue you that extra bit of help in finding your position. Life jackets are obviously designed to help you out in the case of emergency, so it makes sense for you to be able to be rescued as quickly and efficiently as possible.
In terms of design, most life jackets that are used during activities have the same basic design. They will have float support on either side of the chest, with additional help on the back and as the name suggests, they will be worn like a jacket. There are some design aspects to look out for such as segmented floats which will allow for more mobility and the various adjustment options.
Aside from that design comes down to personal choice on how the product looks and how many pockets that you wish to have. There are products here which look more like a traditional life jacket, and others which look like a traditional fishing jacket that you’d see someone wear if they were fishing at the edge of a lake. It’s up to you to work out exactly what you need, and whether or not you’ll actually use the design features that come one these jackets have.
Q: Why do I need a fishing life jacket?
A: If you’re going to be out there on the open water, then it makes sense to wear a life jacket. You may be sitting there and thinking that you’re a strong swimmer who is only going out on the water to kayak, and that if you fall in then you’d just be able to get back in again.
You never know what’s going to happen though and water as everyone knows is very unpredictable. Wearing a life jacket is just common sense, even if you’re a strong swimmer or not. If you’re a keen fisherman, then it’s likely that you’ll want to be wearing a fishing jacket anyway as they are very useful for being able to give you everything that you need straight to your hand.
If you will be wearing a jacket anyway, then it makes sense to let it help you if you’re ever in trouble as well. Life jackets have never been more comfortable, and wearing one all day won’t be an issue. There is also the legal issue when you’re on a boat. Everyone on board needs to have access to a life jacket so you’ll need one anyway.
If you’re going to be fishing on a boat, then again it makes sense to just be wearing your life jacket as not only will you be complying with the law, but you will also be keeping yourself as safe as possible.
Q: How to choose the best fishing life jacket?
A: When it comes to choosing your life jacket, some of it comes down to what you need and some of it just comes down to personal choice. In order to start with this you have to wonder what actually makes something a fishing life jacket. Well it comes down to the features that you have on there and the storage that you can find.
You want to have quick access to your fishing equipment, and there is no easier place to grab it that right in front of your eyes. This isn’t always what people want though, as you could just prefer to have your fishing gear in box or bag in front of you, or have it on a bag strap that goes over your shoulder. If this is you then it might be better to just purchase a standard style life jacket instead.
If you’re the type who like to use the pockets of a fishing jacket, then you need to work out how many that you need and what you are going to use them for. Once you have run through this information through your mind, then you will have a better idea of which type of jacket that you want.
If you’re looking for the best level of support, then the product description should be able to show you up to what weight the jacket will support until it can’t provide enough buoyancy. You will also want to make sure that the jacket is USCG approved so that you’re able to guarantee its safety. All these jackets have open arms, so should be able to provide you with enough mobility while you’re out on the water.
Life jackets shouldn’t be uncomfortable, and the modern jackets are more comfortable than ever. In order to get the best fit you want to make sure that you’re getting the size closest to you, and then adjusting the straps when you get it until it snuggly fits around you. After all these considerations then it comes down to personal choice of which colors you want and how the jacket looks. Once you have decided all these aspects, then you’ll be able to settle on the best fishing life jacket for you.
Globo Surf Overview
If you’re looking for a fishing PFD then this list should be able to arm you with all the information that you need in order to go out and buy the best fisherman vest possible for you. There are many things to consider, including the activity that you are going to be doing.
If you’re heading out there on the open seas and looking for a fly fishing vest while on the ocean, then having access to a life jacket is going to be compulsory. It’s not compulsory to have a lifejacket if you’re fishing from a kayak or throwing a line from an SUP, but in these situations it makes sense to wear on in order to be as safe as possible when on the water.
It’s probably fair to say that life jackets were once seen as something as a nuisance as they were big and bulky and could be awkward to wear. These days though they are that comfortable that after a while you will forget that you are even wearing one, they provide a lot of support and in the case of these life jackets they can also offer a lot of functionality to make your life on the water as simple as possible.
Fishing is meant to be peaceful while you’re waiting for a catch and then exciting when you have a fish on the end of your line. Like with all activities on or next to the water, there is always a risk involved due to the unpredictability of water. Wearing a life jacket if there is even the slightest possibility of danger makes sense, especially with how comfortable that they now are.
Hopefully this buying guide will help you find the best life jacket for you. Hopefully you’ll never have to test one out when you really need it, but being as safe as possible on the water is just common sense. When you have your life jacket, you’ll be able to happily fish away knowing that if the worst were to happen, you’d be as safe as possible.
Globo Surf Fishing Life Jackets Review