So to add to the never ending debate between the vest vs. the pack I am doing a review of the fly vest I fish with. I will start by saying as I have in a previous post that I use both and usually together. Some people prefer a fly pack and some prefer a vest. I like having both. When I first picked one or the other I picked a vest. The Redington Clark Fork Vest. At a reasonable $40 I could not resist the price.
While at my local Cabela's I was looking at the vests being indecisive as usual with anything I purchase, and I had an older gentleman approach me. He asked me if I needed help with picking a vest. I might add he did not work for Cabela's. It's awesome how the fly fishing community is so willing to help and teach you about anything and everything in the sport. I told him I was wanting to purchase a vest, but wasn't sure between this one and the Cabela's brand. He said both were good, but pointed out a few different features of each. Needless to say after speaking with him I made my choice rather quickly.
I chose the Redington vest for a few reasons. This particular vest mesh for the most part. So if I wanted to wear it with a t-shirt in the summer I could stay relatively cool. It also made it lighter in weight. The pockets all seem to be in the right place for me as well. One thing he pointed out that really drew me toward this vest was the rod holder. The loop you see pictured on the bottom of the vest holds the butt of your rod and then there is a little velcro loop in the middle of the chest. You put the rod in the loop and velcro around it. This has been my favorite feature, because there is no more worrying about dropping my fly in the river when tying on a new one. No worrying about balancing the rod while getting something out of my pockets or fly pack. This is the best feature when it boils down to this vest. I love the fly rod holder.
Besides the fly rod holder there are pockets everywhere, but not too many. You often run into too many pockets. Then I tend to carry more than I need to in the vest. The two larger pockets on the front hidden behind two small pockets are where I keep my fly boxes. They are the perfect size for my fly box and they are in a easy access location. The vest has a small fly patch on the chest which is always nice for storing a fly after changing to a new one.
I can't forget the inside of the vest. There are yet again more pockets. I like to put my fishing license and anything else I won't be readily using in these pockets. Pictured here are good examples of what to put in the pockets. The longer pocket is great for holding my sunglasses when I am not wearing them. The other side has tippet and strike indicators. I usually store my strike indicators in the front of the vest, but store my license in these pockets. You could put anything in there really. They velcro and zip on the inside and make for nice personal pockets.
Moving on the rear of the vest. Not much to say here. Before I got my fly pack I used my net's stretchy lanyard and looped it in little black ring at the top. I could get my net's handle in the pocket on the back, but not my whole net itself in the pocket. You could always get the magnetic hookup for that plastic loop for easy connection.
Overall, this vest has served me well. There are hundreds of options for vests out there, but this is the one I chose and it has served me well. The material is strong and vented well for cooling. The vest is the right height so its not constantly wet on the bottom when wading in the river. I would recommend this vest to anyone looking for a vest. I hope this review sheds some light on this vest for anyone interested in this particular vest. Feel free to leave a comment below if you have any questions about this vest!