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Old 03-07-2007, 08:01 PM
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Default Best Overall Fly Vest

Just curious for all of you veteran fly fishers, as to what you prefer in a fly fishing vest? What brand at a reasonable cost that offers all the good things you would want in a vest?

Thanks, look forward to seeing the results.

Mike
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:19 PM
 
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Default Re: Best Overall Fly Vest

I've gone through 3 vests, 2 Orvis and 1 Simms looking for my ideal setup. I have settled on a smaller Orvis chest pack, don't remember the name. I am able to carry 2 decent fly boxes that I customize for each outing depending on my needs, along with the mandatory tippet, leaders, split shot, floatant, strike indicators, thermometer, blah, blah, blah........... With the vests I got to where I carried way too much stuff. I have my tackle bag in the boat usually close by with more gear than 5 people could need.

For saltwater I carry a little JW Outfitters Bonefish pack with a good sized fly box, extra leader, tippet and a pair of pliers.
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Old 03-07-2007, 08:29 PM
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Default Re: Best Overall Fly Vest

I am terrible. I have a Columbia vest (cloth) with zip on fleece sleeves, and a Mesh Columbia Vest. But I also have the Hydration backpack with the pockets on the front like a vest, and the fanny/chest pack combo from Orvis, and now I am using the Orvis sling. I guess I have every mood covered LOL
I wore the fanny pack when guiding because I could pack 4 System X boxes plus all other gear and two water bottles for clients. It would get a little heavy, plus wet if I had to wade deeper water, so I ended up hanging it on my shoulder, which promted the sling. I love this sling. Even got a loop for a net, that no matter where you slide the sling it stays in the back.
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Old 03-07-2007, 09:01 PM
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Default Re: Best Overall Fly Vest

Best new vest... William Joseph Fusion
Best value on a vest... Clear Creek Elkader Guide Vest
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Old 03-07-2007, 09:18 PM
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Default Re: Best Overall Fly Vest

I use a chest pack each time I go out. You can get them through Bass Pro , Cabelas and the like. Never cared for a vest but you can get a good vest at Bass Pro also.
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Old 03-07-2007, 09:31 PM
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Default Re: Best Overall Fly Vest

i wade deep all the time for some reason, up to my tip toes.. that gets the lower vest wet.. if you get your hooks wet and dont dry them out at days end theywill rust, so that puts leaders, floats, sinkers, and that type stuff on the bottim pockets.. the upper pockets that dont get wet hold the flys, and they must fit the fly boxes... so make sure the vest will hold the fly boxes you want to use. and that they fit where you want them... after a couple years, lots of them... they make waterproof fly boxes , but they are expensive. but can be very nice.. up to 40.00 dollars a pop.. dave..
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Old 03-08-2007, 09:11 AM
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Default Re: Best Overall Fly Vest

Some of the Simm's vest are hard to beat. I use an Orvis compact chest pack most of the time. When I fish from my pontoon boat I have extra fly boxes in the pontoon packs. The chest pack is narrow enough that it doesn't interfer with rowing or casting. It carries my tools, leaders and 4 small fly boxes. The straps are easily adjusted and the pack rides fairly high, close to the body and out of the way. Not for everyone but I like it a lot.

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Old 03-08-2007, 10:01 AM
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Default Re: Best Overall Fly Vest

Frank, your chest pack is the same one that comes with the Fanny pack Combo I have, except it doesn't have that nice mesh back. Just a strap.
They also have a belt loop for those spring creeks. NICE
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Old 03-08-2007, 10:30 AM
 
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Default Re: Best Overall Fly Vest

I also use the one Frank pictured. Nice pack.
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Old 03-08-2007, 10:32 AM
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Default Re: Best Overall Fly Vest

I own several chest packs and several vests.

For backcountry trips where I'm covering a lot of miles and weight is at a premium, I just take a fishing shirt with lots of pockets, and a William Joseph Ultralight chest pack (only 5 ounces.)

William Joseph Ultra Light Chest Pack


For day trips or backcountry fishing trips where I'm not sawing the handle off of my toothbrush to save weight, my go to "vest" is a fishing pack, specifically the LL Bean "Rapid River" pack.

Rapid River Vest Pack: Fishing Vests at L.L.Bean


Why I like it:

1) Hydration:
It is the only vest/chest pack I've found that will hold a hydration bladder full of water. Other vests and chest packs are supposedly designed to hold a water bladder, but I've found that when you are wearing them, the weight of the water causes the vest/pack to droop down in back and ride up in the front, causing discomfort and a poorly fitting pack. (The William Joseph Fusion vest has this issue, in spite of the fact that it is touted as designed for a hydration bladder."

2) Waist Belt:
The waist belt gets the weight off of your shoulders, and also gives great support for your lower back when you are on the river all day. Some folks wear a separate lumbar belt for back support. It's not necessary when wearing this pack.

3) Accessory sleeves:
Every vest or pack these days has retractable "zingers" or bungies or the like to hold your nippers and hemostats. However, very few vests of packs have little sleeves to insert the tools into to keep them from flopping around. The LL Bean pack has both the zingers, and also some nice little sewn sleeves that keep the tools secured when not in use. They are immediately accessible, but don't flop around when wading.

4) Good pockets:
Fly box pockets are big enough to hold 2 regular fly boxes or one of the monster boxes. There's enough storage elsewhere to keep floatant, tippet, strike indicators, etc. close at hand.

5) Expandable storage:
There is an expanding rear pocket that can get big enough to store rain gear lunch, etc.

6) Price:
At $99, it's a bargain, considering what you get.

My only discontent with this pack is that there is no built in fleece patch for drying flies.
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