Featured Image Credit: Scott Beutjer Fishing
Like many things in kayak fishing, the best choice of a kayak fishing PFD (personal floatation device) is subjective and varies for each angler. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you wear one. Many anglers think that they’ll just swim to shore if they fall in, but you never know how you’ll handle a situation like this so be safe. Here are my thoughts on the best 3 options for a kayak fishing PFD.
Kayak Fishing PFD – Inflatable PFD’s
Inflatable PFD’s are controversial to some as they’re not always viewed as the most reliable. However, when fishing, anglers need as much room to move as possible. Often times when wearing an inflatable PFD, anglers can forget they’re even wearing it.
I’ve found myself getting into my car to leave a ramp with mine on.
Depending on the model you choose, inflatable PFDs have a cylinder that fills up when it’s exposed to water. Once it fills to a certain point, the PFD automatically inflates to protect the person wearing it. If you’ve used one of these, you know that they are prone to go off unexpectedly during rainy days or in the case of being dropped on a wet surface. It’s a good practice to carry a replacement CO2 cartridge just in case you need to replace it while on the water. These replacements can be expensive over time and this PFD option tends to be more expensive than more traditional PFD styles. Other styles of inflatable PFDs require the angler to pull a cord to inflate the air bladder. This style tends to be less reliable as it relies on the angler to aware enough during an incident to remember to pull the cord.
Kayak Fishing PFD – NRS Chinook
A type III PFD is the official designation given by the US Coast Guard. A type III PFD is one of the most common types on the market, if you have a life jacket that’s intended for fishing, it’s most likely a type III. These PFDs are stuffed with foam and are extremely buoyant. As kayak fishing increases in popularity, more companies are making their PFDs with kayak anglers in mind.
A great example of this is the NRS Chinook, probably one of the most popular choices for kayak anglers, this PFD is designed with a foam pad that sits high on the back to avoid pressing up against a seat. The Chinook also comes with multiple pockets and attachment points for accessories like the ANGLR Bullseye! This PFD is outfitted with multiple straps and zippers to ensure a custom fit for any angler.
Kayak Fishing PFD – Kokatat Leviathan
Like the Chinook, the Leviathan is a type III style PFD that uses foam to float an angler to the surface in the case of an emergency. This PFD is designed with the angler in mind and offers maximum range of motion for casts, paddling, and landing fish. Also, like the Chinook, this PFD has a high back to avoid interfering with a kayak seat, ensuring comfort while out fishing.
This PFD has ample storage and accessory space for things like your cell phone or snips. A unique feature to this PFD is fleece lined pockets that keep your hands warm during those cold days out on the water.
No matter what kind of kayak fishing PFD you choose, be sure to wear one! This simple device will save your life in those scenarios we never want to happen or expect to happen! If you have a different PFD you prefer, let us know in the comment section below!
This article was contributed by an ANGLR Expert
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