I had a fishing vest for years and last year my wife bought me a Fishpond shoulder/sling pack. Out of appropriate marital deference, I used the sling pack this year on our annual trip to Montana. It is functional and holds everything I would normally have in my fishing vest. What I don't like about it is that the darn thing will not stay out of the way when I am casting and moving around.
I wear it like a messenger bag (over my head and one shoulder) so it is hanging by my side. The thinking is that when you need something you slide it forward in front of you, get what you need, then rotate it so that the pack is behind you (and out of the way) when you are casting.
The problem is when you bend over (to unhook a fish, or unsnag your fly from a floating branch or something), the pack almost always slides off your back and in front of you (gee, gravity, what a concept) so you are always trying to rotate the pack to your back but it invariably rotates forward again. This is very annoying. A vest doesn't move (some people say it rides up your back when you bend forward, but I haven't experienced that) when you bend over.
I think I will use the pack to hold all my extra supplies and keep it in the boat or car but go back to a fly vest for regular use. I already picked up a CloudVeil lightweight fly vest on closeout for $29 that is 90% mesh so it is very lightweight and should be very cool to wear on hot days.
I used to wear a vest back when i was baitcasting for Steelhead and fall Chinook. While it was fully functional i found it to a bit aggravating.
I have a Orvis chest pack i got last year. They dont make them anymore it seems. It is on the small side, similar to the above Safe Passage with a mesh back and 2 zip pockets up front. What i like is the superb functionality of it. I can carry two fly boxes, the leaders and tippits i need plus a few tools and personal effects. It doesnt feel heavy or cumbersome nor does it get in my at all. I am quite fond of it. lol
I also have the small Fish Pond one for days when i am going out very light.
I appreciate the vest and its legacy however, i am a firm chest pack advocate at this point.
I have gone through multiple progressions/evolutions in this area...for the warmest of Georgia days, I opt for a lanyard with tools and a fishing shirt with pockets for fly boxes...and wet-wade.
However, I also use either a Fishpond WaterDance Chest/Lumbar pack from Fall-Spring or...my new favorite, the Orvis Safe Passage sling pack...which has proven to be one of the most well thought-out and versatile pieces of gear I've ever owned.
In closing...I will join the others who have already stated whatever works BEST for YOU.
If you are still only wet wading in tennis shoes for warm water species, what you use makes sense.
As you said (possibly to cover yourself for the subtle slams in the body of your post), 'it's all good.'
A fly fishing vest is as much a part of the journey into the craft as the rod itself. A fly fishing vest with at least 25 pockets is what many people aspire to have. Filling every pocket of the fly fishing vest becomes as much a goal & obsession as catching fish. I say these things because I have experienced them and have watched others do the same.
I spent the first ten years toying around with fly fishing while focused on the idea that having more would make me better. The second ten years were spent with all of the 'more' I had collected and then some more. The third ten years were spent trying to find a way to have what I really needed with me and I called everything else 'my collection'. The forth ten years were spent perfecting how not to forget the few things I actually needed when I went to a creek or river. The years since then have been pretty good years, I seem to have what I need and it fits in the two pockets of an old Lewis Creek fishing jacket. if it's too warm for the jacket I manage to get what I need into the pockets of a Columbia fishing shirt.
Depending on which decade you are in it may be perfectly reasonable to wear your vest and carry whatever you like. Heck, I even carried extra spools filled with lines 'just in case', so fill er up. I would not begrudge a fellow traveler the same experiences that I've been fortunate to have had. What you can look forward to is the day when it'll all fit in those two pockets of your favorite old jacket
What you can look forward to is the day when it'll all fit in those two pockets of your favorite old jacket
i can remember as a child, my dads "fishing" west.
it was no more than an old button up sears vest with two pockets
sewn on the inside and a pair of fishermans multi nippers attatched to the vest
via halibut ganion line. i think its still hanging in a corner of my das shop somewhere lol.
Wow!! What a great bunch of responses. Thanks for all the ideas. My local flys shop, The Caddis Flyshop in Eugene, Oregon has a video of the new Patagonia stealth pack. Here is the video link of the sales rep showing it off.
I just got back into fly fishing after a decade off, my old vest barely fit and has all but fell apart by now. I thought the chest packs looked like a good idea but after ordering one I found out quick I hated them. It just feels wierd to me, like I have one of those baby carriers on. Most of the time I fish from my bass boat so I don't need anything but my backpack(mil-surp ILBE). The only thing I like about my chest pack is I can rig it to my ruck pack(also mil-surp ILBE), or I can rig it to the shoulder straps of my camelback and have a hydration backpack with the chest pack in front. For conventional use I'll stick with a vest, but why not have both, you never know when you might need one or the other. I also look forward to getting into some bay and surf action and think the chest rig woud come in handy then also.
For me it depends on where I am going, many of the rivers I fish are tailwaters that can have wildly varying water levels. On these rivers the closer you get to the dam the less diversity in aquatic life which translates to less flies and boxes.
For instance on the White or Norfork in Arkansas and Lake Taneycomo in Mo. there are no caddis or mayfly hatches in the waters near the dams, just midges, scuds and sculpins. For these days I wear a small Sage chest pack but if I move downstream and need to have the other flies I wear my trusty Patagonia vertical pocket vest from the 90s.
This vested is very faded and well worn but I love the style and the mesh construction is great in the summer and winter as well. As I spend a lot of time in a kayak as river transportation I'm very likely to just carry the vest in the boat and not spend much time wearing it.... perhaps I could use a boat bag.
If its early spring white bass fishing the fly choice is very small and as it is usually chilly out I am wearing a Patagonia SST- the pockets on this jacket carry plenty of gear.