3 Best Fly Fishing Vests Reviews 2018

If you're looking for a way to keep your fly fishing gear organized and accessible while fishing, then you may want to consider a good quality fly fishing vest. After reviewing several different brands and styles, we narrowed it down to three. This article recommends three of the best fly fishing vests around.

Also, keep in mind that a fly fishing vest can be used for all types of fishing and not just fly fishing. In fact, they are a great accessory for those who love wade fishing and fishing from a kayak as they can provide easy access to your essential fishing gear.​

The Virtues of a Fly Fishing Vest

Fly fishing gear and tackle tends to accumulate quickly, and unless you have a way to keep it all organized, finding the fly or tool you need in the moment can prove difficult and frustrating.

Enter the fly fishing vest...

You've probably seen classic fly fishing photos of an angler dressed in waders, standing waist deep in a scenic stream, casting a perfect loop to a rising trout. Chances are, that angler is wearing a fly fishing vest.

To the average, non-fly-fishing civilian, these beige-colored vests might seem like just some article of clothing fishermen wear. But to the devoted fly angler, a vest isn't something he wears to simply "look the part."

Rather, a fly fishing vest is a highly functional piece of gear that helps him know exactly where every fly, leader, and spool of tippet is without the hassle of digging through a bag to find it.

In recent years, however, the use of fly fishing vests has diminished as many anglers have switched to using sling bags and fanny packs to tote along their tackle.

And while these new methods of fly gear organization have benefits of their own, nothing keeps your fly fishing necessities within close reach like a good fly fishing vest.

If you're unsure whether a fly fishing vest is the best choice for you, consider these benefits:

  • Special pockets for everything. Fly fishing vests have a ton of pockets, often enough for each item to have its own dedicated compartment.

  • Easy to keep gear organized. Once you've found pockets for all your tackle and tools, keeping everything in order is very simple. Put the item back into the pocket where it came from and it will be there when you need it.

  • Even weight distribution. Unlike sling bags, fanny packs, or backpacks, a fly fishing vest distributes the weight of your items evenly across your shoulders for all-day comfort.

  • Warm. If you fish in cold climates, a fly fishing vest will give you an extra layer of insulation, keeping you nice and warm. This could be seen as a negative trait if you live in a hot climate, but as you'll see, some vests utilize mesh in their construction to allow for more airflow.


best fly fishing vests

If you’re the kind of angler who likes to bring every fly and tool you own to the river, the Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack is the vest with enough space for it all.

Unlike the other vests on our list, the Maxcatch is actually a combination vest and backpack.

From the front, the Maxcatch looks like a high-tech fishing vest — and one with plenty of storage.

Large pockets give you space to keep your bigger fly boxes, snacks, and other gadgets.

Two shell pockets on the outside of the vest zip open all the way giving you access to foam fly slots to keep your files organized and close by.

From the back, the Maxcatch looks like a Camelback backpack. In fact, it actually has a special compartment to store a hydration pack, complete with a slot for the straw.

Two other large pockets on the back give you plenty of space to stow a rain jacket, lunch, extra fly boxes, a camera, or anything else you might need during a day of fishing.

For the tools that you need access to all the time— nippers, hemostat, floatant — there are several D-rings and clips located throughout the vest where you can attach zingers. The Maxcatch Fly Fishing Vest Pack comes in one size but is fully adjustable and fits most anglers.


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The Master Sportsman fly fishing vest is more aligned with classic fly fishing style.

It's also the most bargain-oriented vest on our list, coming in under $30.

As the name implies, the Master Sportsman vest features 26 pockets, providing space for all of your gear to have it's own dedicated pocket.

On the front of the vest, several zippered pockets offer secure storage for items like fly boxes, extra spools, and sink tip wallets.

Smaller velcro flap pockets give you space to hold items that you need quicker access to like your hook hone, water thermometer, or extra leaders.

D-rings on the front of the vest give you anchor points to secure zingers to hold your nippers and hemostats, while a D-ring on the back gives you a place to fasten your landing net. Also on the back of the vest, you'll find a large zippered pocket that's perfect for storing a bottle of water or a rain jacket.

If you're looking for a simple fly vest that has pockets for everything, plus a timeless fly fishing style, check out the Master Sportsman 26 Pocket Fishing Vest.


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If you like the idea of the Maxcatch backpack-vest combo, but don't think you'll need all that extra space, the AnglaTech Fly Fishing Vest is a great option.

It has a similar style and construction to the Maxcatch but with a ventilated mesh back and a lumbar area zippered pocket in place of the backpack.

The front of the vest is decked out with pockets galore, both large and small.

One thing the AnglaTech vest has that the others don't is waterproof pockets that give you space to safely stow your cell phone, wallet, and camera. It also has a water bottle holder on the side — something the other fly vests are missing.

Zippered shell pockets with foam inserts for flies, attachment points for zingers, plus a rod holder strap make the AnglaTech fishing vest hands down one of the best fly fishing vests currently available.

And thanks to the mesh back, the AnglaTech would be a great choice for summertime or anglers who live in warm climates.


Conclusion

Wearing one of the best fly fishing vests we recommended today will help you keep all your fly fishing gear organized and readily available so you can focus more on casting and fishing.

Whether you want a modern backpack-vest combo or a vest with classic fly fishing appeal, we hope our recommendations helped you discover the right vest for you.

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