Best PFD for fishing?

I might as well do this one right!

There’s no way I’d get on a boat without one being I’m such a weak swimmer!

A brisk doggy paddle can only get you so far!

Sooooooo then, which PFD seems to be the kayak anglers 1# chose?

I’m 205 lbs so is 16lbs of floatation going to be enough or should I get a 22. Something with lots of pockets would be great but comfort is #1 I guess. I’ve been going through all of the great links to the manufactures but is there one that just stands out from the rest? Thanks

Any PFD that is comfortable should work for fishing. The rule for whitewater (big class IV-V) is to have a jacket rated at 10% of your body weight, so I’d say that would be overkill for fishing. At 250#, I use a Lotus Designs “Lola” (16#) and for big water an Extrasport B22 (22#). I prefer the Lola as it is much more comfortable and with the thinner floatation/design it’s easy to wear a fishing vest over it with all the pockets I’ll ever need.

The key is comfort since you plan on wearing it at all times. You didn’t mention the type of craft. If you’re paddling a yak, the low cut, thinner floatation is more comfortable. Old Town makes a PFD with less floatation in the lower part of the back so it works better with a kayak seat. For a canoe or other type boat, many styles will work.

Lots to choose from
I’ve used a Stearns paddlers vest for a couple of years, low profile pretty comfortable. Lotus makes one with a mesh back called the Mildwater. I’ve been thinking of getting one. A standard vest should support you adequately in the water I don’t see a need to go to 22 lbs of flotation.

I have the Old Town…
pfd that you speak of. It has 2 mesh pockets for various fishing items. I like mine, its comfortable, and i’m used to wearing it, so I always do.

waist pack (manual) is my new choice BUT I spend 90+% of my time in water less than 3’ deep. I cross a few deeper bayous to get there but I’m in shallow water almost all day.

Read an article after buying the SOSpenders that rated 7 different inflatable waist pack vests.

SOSpenders makes two differnt models.

Stearns makes three different models.

SeaPro and Mustang each make a single model.

MSRP’s ranged from $60 to $140.

I know they aren’t for every one but if you want comfort they have to be tops in that category.

I have a Lotus PFD that allows for great arm movement, because the flotation is all in the chest and back area. Works great, and keeps your head up decently. Very comfortable and worth the money

Inflatable is my choice
I use a Stearns Manual inflatable. It’s rated at 35# and you don’t even know you’re wearing it. I live in Florida and comfort is number 2 with me. If it isn’t comfortable I won’t wear it and if I’m not wearing it I might as well not have it. It is near the same style as the SOSpenders.

One you will wear.


This is mine

The MTI Reflex is reasonably priced, has two good sized pockets in front, is comfortable all day and fits nicely over a skirt. Adjusts 9 ways from Sunday too. Get the Mango color, the better to see you my Dear…and all that.

Avoid mesh in your PFD. Sooner or
later you will foul hooks, rod tip, etc. If there is something that will catch, rip, that mesh, it will find it. For that matter, the angling shorts with mesh pockets offer more hook traps. I have a Mustang PFD/anglers vest that is handy, comfortable,and makes roll/reentry much easier. Now that Yakima is offering suspender type PFD for $89-you might also conside them. IMHO

One you will use
I am fond of the Lotus Mildwater. Cut is comfortable and lends itself to fishing needs. Rarely notice it is on.

Gotta agree with the other Mildwater users. Mine is real comfortable in the bucket seat of my Loon 138. It doesn’t ride up. I also found a small pack made by Lotus that clips to the back of their PFDs. It has room for an anorak, other small items and/or lunch, and a space for the included hydration bladder. I still haven’t used the bladder. I have more room for more stuff without it and am a committed bottle user.


I use an XM Inflatable life jacket rated at 150 Newtons (35lbs) It’s a Catagory 1 Super Yachting dealie.

I’m 5’9 280 lbs

Great for Kayaking as it isnt in the way like some other vests.

LIFE vest, or COMFORT vest,

– Last Updated: Feb-23-04 5:34 PM EST –

Only 1 or 2 of the posts made comment about the vest while actually in the water. I had a very comfortable flotation vest a few years ago, with flexible ribs of flotation, and it was a joy to wear. Then I had occasion to go overboard in deep water, and off balance. The life jacket proved to be worthless, as I was sinking until I managed to swim my way back to the surface. Had I been injured, I probably would have drowned wearing that life jacket. Go for comfort, but make sure ample bouyancy exists.

We don’t need no stink’n comfort vest!
I’m a very poor swimmer so a comfort vest is outta the question. I have another qustion though…who else has actually put there vest to the test? What were the results in a simulated “oh no I can’y seem to swim at the moment” case. You know you’ve got to prepare for the worse. If I’m preoccupied with being hooked and tangled in line I might not be able to quicky doggy paddle to saftey!

no inflatable
You clearly are not a confident swimmer. I feel you will have great anxiety if you fall in deep water. You have no business in an inflatable. Now there are alot of good vests out there. Stolequest and lotus you cant go wrong with.

My advice is to learn to become a confident swimmer. Going through life having to worry about water is no way to live. Swimming is easy.


Swimming skills will not help
if you are injured or suffer a mishap in the dumping. That is why a pfd should have sufficient flotation to bring up your body from a dumping. Does anyone know of any tests that have been done with a simulated lifeless body in water, not only suspended at the water level, but also in bringing up that body from about a 10’ depth? I would challenge those who promote their comfort vest to put it to the real test.


Mae West
If you are really concerned about floating, face up while unconscious or injured, you will want something like the commonly referred to Mae West. These are the big orange surround you with floating pillow type designed to float you face up no matter what. The Coast Guard rates floatation devices and requires their tag, with rating system, to be affixed to all new PFDs. Check one out at your local store and see what fits your needs best. It’s cheap homework for big insurance.


it is said
that the best PFD you can have is the one you are wearing. depth of the water means little as its possible to drown in an inch of water.(or if you roll and smash your head on a rock… knocking you out cold). with that said i didnt wear mine on the mississipi till i was below St Louis where the river started free flowing and became real ugly.