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Icemanf4i
12-25-2007, 07:56 PM
I have a friend who cannot swim but is into fly fishing. He is in the market for a fly vest. Does anyone know a good fly vest with a pfd built in either a self inflating or foam style jacket. He will be using it in lakes on a float tube, and in streams and the Truckee River in Reno Nevada. Any help would be awesome. I want him to be able to enjoy fly fishing but still be safe.

sandfly
12-26-2007, 07:26 AM
S.O.S. suspenders, get the auto inflate ones..wear them under a vest.When i guided I had all my clients wear them..

Frank Whiton
12-26-2007, 09:29 AM
Hi Icemanf4i,

The inflatable suspenders are a good idea. Auto-inflate type may not be good for fly fishing. They are more intended for boaters who may fall into the water. You may fall into a stream and not need your vest but it will inflate. My preference is a manual inflatable. If you put your suspenders under the vest you need to inflate them to make sure there is enough room under the vest for the suspenders to inflate fully. I don't zip up my vest over the suspenders. I just close it with a Velcro closure. you can use the mouth inflater to inflate for a test. You should inflate any inflatable devise to make sure it has no leaks. I think the Mustang Suspenders are a better choice than the SOS suspenders but they are more expensive.

One trouble you might have is the heat in your area. The suspenders or inflatable vest are hot in hot weather. The suspenders would be a better choice in the heat. A even better choice is the belt type inflatable devise. The belt would be my choice for trout fishing in hot weather. It is not the best choice in a very fast boat. They work very well for the wading fisher.

Frank

Mustang Inflatable Belt
http://chetcomarine.com/ProductImages/safety/MUSINFLAT.jpg

Mustang Inflatable Vest
http://chetcomarine.com/ProductImages/MIV-10orange.jpg

Stearns Inflatable Vest
http://www.kodiakoutback.com/images/4444FORbg.jpg

zerolimit
12-26-2007, 12:07 PM
iceman, I ended up going with the inflatable belt for wading as Frank mentions. I use the suspender style on the float tube and canoe. He's right on about the warmth of the inflatable vest. Could come in handy right about now but in the summer, your friend would be cooking. The only concern I have for a non swimmer with the belt is that it won't upright the wader and keep the head above water without the angler pulling it over his head after inflation.

Frank Whiton
12-26-2007, 03:37 PM
Hi to all,

Poor me, I forgot about the non-swimmer, thanks Mike. The belt style would be a bad choice for a non-swimmer. There is a delay in getting under control and pulling the top over your head. That is why I don't recommend them for a high speed boat.

Frank

Icemanf4i
12-27-2007, 12:20 AM
awesome, thanks for the info guys. Do they make a vest like the stearns with the auto inflate ability. Or if he buys the sosupenders what is a good vest or chest rig to use with it so it wont get in the way in case he has to deploy it ?

Fly2Fish
12-27-2007, 12:21 PM
I've got a SOSpenders/Stearns inflatable belt, which works fine for me as predominantly a wader. I got it because it has a small footprint and is out of the way when not being inflated, plus it is cool to wear. It's true that the vest once inflated has to be pulled over the user's head, but even without that, the inflated vest should keep the user face up anyway, as it is in the front.

Frank Whiton
12-27-2007, 03:27 PM
Hi to all,

Neil, don't you think a non-swimmer would be in a panic and may not be able to get the belt vest into position over his head?

Icemanf4i, he needs to make sure the vest is large enough to accommodate the PFD. If I was buying a vest to go over a PFD I would get the PFD first and take it to the store. Then he can experiment and get a good fit for the vest. As I stated, I don't zip up my vest if I am wearing the PFD under the vest. Just make sure the vest has a Velcro tab closure.

Frank

sandfly
12-27-2007, 03:42 PM
I would rather play it safe and have a non swimmer wear an auto matic infation vest or suspenders..if they fall in they might panic. better to be safe than sorry...I've taken to many people out to not use them..I guided on big rivers and beach and always made them wear it..seen to many accidents happen, by people who think it won't happen to them

Fly2Fish
12-27-2007, 03:59 PM
Hi to all,

Neil, don't you think a non-swimmer would be in a panic and may not be able to get the belt vest into position over his head?

Frank, you raise a good point - what does the panic of a non-swimmer add to the equation. I've tried my SOSpenders inflatable belt on in my swimming pool. Because it's in the front, even without being over your head (as it's supposed to be placed), it will ensure that the user is at least face up. But that doesn't mean that the user's face would necessarily be above water as it would be with the vest pulled over his head, although my life-guarding days told me that panicked swimmers would tend to grab for whatever was afloat around them, as the inflated belt vest would be. Nevertheless, a non-swimmer would certainly be better off with an inflatable vest rather than an inflatable belt, as you suggest.

Just curious, but the way these vests inflate, how could you ever hope to have a fishing vest roomy enough to allow a PFD under it to inflate, and still not be way too large for normal use? I guess by allowing the velcro attachment in the unzipped front to pop open when the PFD inflates?

This probably isn't helpful (or responsive) to the original question, but I would never allow anyone under my influence to fly-fish at all - either from a boat, especially floating or wading, or even from the shore/dock - without at least knowing how to dog paddle. I think this is really asking for trouble. Sooner or later the non-swimming fisherman is going to end up in the water, with possibly a malfunctioning PFD. Knowing how to at least dog paddle, as easy as it is to learn, takes the unpredictible results of panic out of the situation, and while dog paddling may not allow him to swim somewhere fast, it at least allows others to come to his assistance. FWIW.

Neil

Fly2Fish
12-27-2007, 04:26 PM
I would rather play it safe and have a non swimmer wear an auto matic infation vest or suspenders..if they fall in they might panic. better to be safe than sorry...I've taken to many people out to not use them..I guided on big rivers and beach and always made them wear it..seen to many accidents happen, by people who think it won't happen to them
Bob, I agree. If the circumstances allow, an autoinflating PFD is certainly preferable for a non-swimmer. That probably takes care of all fly-fishing situations I can think of except for wading. And I wouldn't want a non-swimmer to wade at all, as it is the most likely fly-fishing situation that will unexpectedly dump you in the water.

Frank Whiton
12-27-2007, 05:06 PM
Hi to all,

This is a great thread. A lot of very good information. Not only does the wader need to have a PFD they also need to know how to float down stream. That is why I mentioned the time to get oriented. In fast or Rollie water you need to face down stream with your legs/feet forward. I just don't see a non-swimmer having the mind set to do that. Your problems are not over when the PDF inflates. You still have to find your way into sallow or quite water so you can regain your feet. Boulders in fast water can really beat you up.

Now here is another thought. I am just about 73 years old and even though I was a swimmer, it has been many, many years since I have swam. Then there would be the fatigue component. Even if I could swim I would be done in no time at all. I am a very carefully wader now and use waist high waders to make sure I don't wade too deep. I always wear my SOS suspenders around water. Now if I should drown fighting a big rainbow, wouldn't that be a good way to go.:wink:

Frank

sandfly
12-27-2007, 06:55 PM
Always tuck your legs up towards the body, face down stream and slowly paddle with your arms toward shore..its a fact you won't sink in waders, only people who panic sink and drown....I have jumped in a pool at 12' deep with old rubber waders on and still could come up to the top.. That said I lost a good friend a few years back, he slipped off a bar with a client and drowned...we think he had an instant heart attack for they found little water in his lungs...he could swim like a fish too... rip 10/10