IS THE FLY FISHING VEST DEAD?
The humble fly fishing vest. This iconic piece of piscatorial clothing history, is (literally and metaphorically) drenched in the sweat of thousands of intrepid anglers who have roamed our waterways in search of trout for decades. They still do, in growing numbers, and very often still wearing that same humble vest.
The image of the lone angler, hunched over as he fumbles through the vast array of pockets, zips and dangly cords, searching for that piece of magic to finally wrest the initiative from his watery tormentor, is one steeped in history. It's what we do. We step out of the car, grab the rod, and sling on our vest. Simple. Or is it?
SADDLE UP WITH THE C&F DESIGN 810
There's a new sheriff in town and the C&F 810 Light Weight Chest Storage is his name. Light weight and ease of use is his game. There is a sense of unease spreading through the local fishing community as more of the young'uns flout their new shiny lanyards with their 'new age' minimalist tendencies to the jealous glances of the old vest brigade.
In all seriousness, I'm not suggesting that lanyards will ever replace the vest, but in our world of angling evolution, it offers a point of difference and certainly, in my opinion, has a place.
WHY SWITCH FROM A VEST TO LANYARD?
The main point of difference is weight, they are a lot lighter. They also have less total storage space, although it is well organised, meaning you simply carry less, and this can be a good thing. Ask anyone that knows me, I have historically carried all but the kitchen sink. I did so because I could, (not necessarily should) but I'm not getting any younger, and therein lies the main appeal.
The C&F Design Chest-Pack style lanyards are wonderfully designed, with a flip down front panel that reveals a fly box, and a second compartment sectioned off with a foam slotted sleeve that has a another slotted fly holder and small gear boxes with threaders etc. in behind.
Add to this the options for hanging external tools on clips and retainers (forceps, scissors, floatants, spool dispensers, clippers, thermometers etc.) and you have everything you need at hand when fishing. Another great addition is the spare tippet spool holder with either two or three spots (depending on model) at the back for spare spools should you run out. The fact that you can customise these to your own needs is a big plus for me.
The last thing that may have been an issue for me was whether the chest pack would swing forward when you bend over and literally 'get in your face'. A simple clip allows you to fasten the lanyard to your clothing so it stays put.
In summary, I'm not suggesting they are better than vests, just that they offer a point of difference. Try one, I think maybe you'll like one. There are now two sheriffs in town.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Mike Kirkpatrick of Latitude Guiding is one of New Zealand's most popular and experienced fly fishing guides. With a penchant for big double digit fish, Mike is the guy you call when it's trophy time.