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Been thinking recently about what would happen if I fell and ended up in etc...................
I have a young son who is under 3 but loves going fishing and also has his own box of 'hookless' plugs etc and I was thinking that I ought to invest in some kind of flotation aid.
When you have kids you think differently about the risks you take especially when 'rockhopping' and things like taking less risks affect what you do.
Are these flotation devices worth it ?
I have looked at the Ultimate Fishing one and several others etc.
Anybody got any experience of these ?
 

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Quite often use my old kayakking bouyancy aid when fishing alone (I used to fish alone 99% of the time) Spent a couple of years wearing a lifejacket aswell - I think they are a good idea and do not hinder too much. You often see people b**t (whoops nearly said it) fishing on breakwaters wearing floatation suits. Same principle really - self preservation.
Some pics of the gear I have used on my albums.
You are right when you have kids your outlook changes - Some of the pics I have seen of young lads fishing off the rocks do make me cringe a bit to be honest, if a wave is big enough to knock you off your feet then its quite possible you'll hit the rocks hard enough to knock yourself out, and swimmer or not its game-over.
 

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On the matter of floatation suits, the buoyancy in them, typically 50N, is not large enough to flip you over should you fall into the water unconscious face first. I read this first in a review of the suit I now have & the RNLI recently confirmed it.

I consider my floaty as something to keep me warm/dry. The fact its got floatation capability is a bonus, it's not a life saving aid.

They also said that if you wanted a lifejacket to wear with your floatation suit as a life saving aid then it should be min 150N buoyancy. I did ask them specifically about this as I weigh 17st & was not sure if weight made any difference - I don't think it makes a tremendous amount of difference, for me anyway. A 'normal' lifejacket (50N?) would not have sufficient buoyancy to flip you over, something to do with compensatory effect of the suit you're already wearing I think.

In response to andy's post, I totally agree with his sentiments on safety once you've got kids. I've totally changed my outlook on saftey since getting hitched & having kids. I also looked at the Ultimate life vest. I wanted a life jacket + a reasonable amount of in built storage. **** gave me a few details on the vest but I came to the conclusion that if I was out for anything other than a quick session, I would need to take a rucsac/sling bag over my back. **** then put me onto the Snowbee Auto Inflate Fly jacket.

I looked at this at Snowbee in Plymouth. Its more than a 'vest' as its got 110N buoyancy. This is the quoted buoyancy, the actual figure is likely to be higher. Its also got plenty of pockets on the front & some large pockets on the back. Rather usefully if you're wading through deeper water you can disengage the auto inflate sensor until you're back up on the rocks. There's also a pull cord should you choose to inflate the jacket yourself at anytime. The zips are metal however so I suspect that it will need a good wash if you get a soaking. It sells for £189.
 

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August Sea Angler have a bit of a write up on life jackets.

I have the ultimate life vest and it is OK for a short session, you can fit two lure boxes and a few bits in the front pockets.

I also have the Snowbee life vest. I will always wear it when fly fishing and did start out with it when plugging but found that again it was compromised for space, so with that I would have a waist pack for my lures and bits.

My third combo is a Sakura pack with a manual inflate waist belt. 50N of lift but I can have enough kit in the Sakura to last a day.
 

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Nice to hear theres a few safety concious guys about.
I guess a high % of the danglers you see wearing flotation suits are nowhere near as thorough in their research and use them because they believe by being called what they are they will enable you to float, but probably mainly because they see so many pics in SeaAngler of folk using them.
I realise my meagre efforts with pfd and life vest quite possibly wont save me if I am unconcious, but the way I look at it, every little bit you can do helps, starting by being sensible about where you fish and careful where you put your feet.
 

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I use two, an Ultimate jacket and an imported thingy which the name at present has left me, but I Always use it when I am Fishing, come rain or shine.

It's like a Condom.......it's better to have one and not needed it, then to need it and not have one.... At least it can carry kit when not saving your life.
 

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August Sea Angler have a bit of a write up on life jackets.

I also have the Snowbee life vest. I will always wear it when fly fishing and did start out with it when plugging but found that again it was compromised for space, so with that I would have a waist pack for my lures and bits.

My third combo is a Sakura pack with a manual inflate waist belt. 50N of lift but I can have enough kit in the Sakura to last a day.
Blimey Ivan, when I looked at the Snowbee vest I thought with all of the pockets front & back that there was plenty of room. You must take a fair bit of gear out with you when you wear the Sakura.......which led me to think that if you've fully loaded the Sakura, all of the gear must weigh a bit & also be quite bulky, how effective will the waist belt be, at only 50N buoyancy, in keeping you afloat?

Is the approach that you take similar to Rapala's - every little bit helps & wearing it would be better than nothing?
 

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Responsibilities - wife and two young kids + not that great at swimming. Toby - I would wear the Snowbee every time but its a fly fishing vest - the pockets at the front are great for CF type fly boxes, so you can squeeze some soft plastics into the front pockets - but lure boxes all you have left is the big pocket on the back but getting into it and out of it....I find too much hassle. The Sakura pack (KOA) is the small one so with two lure boxes on the front, softs and jig heads in the back with some food, drink, spare spool - its full. 50N means you can paddle to the shore - but its not auto inflate like the Snowbee or Ultimate foam filled. I will always wear one of the 3 but have gone for Ultimate and the waist belt together more than once at night and when fishing alone. Whats needed is a Snowbee type with better storage.
 

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Ivan - I must admit that I thought the same thing about how I would store a lure box in the Snowbee jacket. Anyhow I've thought that I could get some of those B.A.S.S lure storage boxes. The plugs that I know I'll use on a session I could put in the BASS boxes & store these in the front pockets. Anything else could go in a box that I would put in the pockets on the back. Don't know if this would work or not. ???

The other advantage to that way of doing things is that I would not have all of my (expensive) plugs all in one box. A slip or a fumble, leading to dropping the box & all of my plugs could be gone !! using the BASS boxes I would prevent the chances of such a thing happening. I suppose though that everyone has got their own ways of doing things & arranging their kit.

I've seen the Mazume Redmoom III vest/jacket. Not thinking of buying it though, the Snowbee's expensive but the Mazume is even more . Does it have floation/buoyancy built into it?
 

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Nathan,
Could I be cheeky and ask just what you can fit into the Ultimate jacket. It looks good to me, as you say sometimes it just isn't worth the risks.
 

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Toby - if you mean the individual lure boxes that are on the BASS web site then I just checked the Snowbee and I can get 6x 7inch lure boxes in each of the two larger pockets - 12 lures plus a large box in the back pocket so it would work that way. I am now thinking about getting some of those individual boxes so thanks for that - but will check first to make sure hooks don't penetrate the plastic!! I need to take the jacket off to get a big lure tray out of the back pocket so you wouldn't be doing that in a good few feet of water.

The flotation is CO2 in the Snowbee and foam in the Ultimate, But the Snowbee does have waterproof pockets for keys, phone etc.

There is a new AIRFLO Wavehopper Inflation vest that looks like it might have bigger pockets than the Snowbee and its less cash as well.
 

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Toby - if you mean the individual lure boxes that are on the BASS web site then I just checked the Snowbee and I can get 6x 7inch lure boxes in each of the two larger pockets - 12 lures plus a large box in the back pocket so it would work that way. I am now thinking about getting some of those individual boxes so thanks for that - but will check first to make sure hooks don't penetrate the plastic!! I need to take the jacket off to get a big lure tray out of the back pocket so you wouldn't be doing that in a good few feet of water.

The flotation is CO2 in the Snowbee and foam in the Ultimate, But the Snowbee does have waterproof pockets for keys, phone etc.
Ivan - those are the boxes that I was on about. Thanks, its useful to know that you can fit 6 of those boxes in each of the Snowbee front pockets. With anything that I put in the back of the jacket I think I'd have more than enough plugs/SP's etc. For me, at the moment anyway, I think the Snowbee jacket has enough storage on the front. Anything that I put in the back I wouldn't be needing regular access to when I'm out.

However I suppose that it's possible as I learn more, the way I fish & arrange things may change. I did think that the pockets on the back of the Snowbee jacket would make a convenient place to put one of those 'Camelbak' water sacs/reservoirs - you know the plastic sacs that you put drink in with the long flexible plastic tube coming out of it. Having one of these, with the tube suitably positioned would mean I'd have easy access to drink without having to put anything down/swap hands etc first.

I did not realise that the inside pockets on the Snowbee were waterproof - that's useful. I saw the plastic lining inside the pockets but assumed that was part of the lining of the lifejacket 'bladder'. The zips to these pockets are obviously waterproof as well then
 

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Hi,
Looking at getting floatation device in case of the aforementioned head hits rock - game over scenario.
Firstly I cannot find any info or pictures of the ultimate jacket, please does anyone have a link or a picture. Also what amount of buoyancy does it have.
Also anyone got any experience of an auto inflate pfd activating after a big wave? Because also thinking of getting simple auto inflate 'hoop' design'.
I like the idea of the airflo- but I splurged on a Simms G3 vest for my fly fishing last year and couldn't bear to stick it in the cupboard. The hoop design I could wear with it.
Anyone got the new airflo - does it look saltwater worthy?
Any advice much appreciated.
 

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David, I looked into this a while back & ended getting a Snowbee Auto Inflate Fly jacket.

There are buoyancy aids (say 50N buoyancy) & life jackets - buoyancy anything up to 150, 200N+??. Buoyancy aids will not flip you over if you happen to fall into the water, unconscious, face first. The same applies to most floaty suits.

Interestingly the RNLI confirmed something that I read in a review of my floaty suit before I bought it..........if you choose to wear a life saving aid with your floaty suit with the aim that it will right you if you fall in face first then you make sure that the lifejacket has sufficient buoyancy. Don't quote me here but hypothetically speaking if you wear a 75N lifejacket with your floaty suit it is unlikely that the aid will be able to self right you. The buoyancy already present in the suit will 'negatively' compensate the buoyancy that the lifejacket has.

If you get the correct sized/buoyancy lifejacket it will. The RNLI advice to me if I wanted to wear the floaty suit + a life jacket was to get a lj with min 150N buoyancy.

I digress...........back to your ? I then went on to investigate the various options. I wanted a jacket/vest with plenty of buoyancy & storage. I realised that I would have to compromise to get this & ended up purchasing the Snowbee jacket with 110N buoyancy. It is expensive but worth it I think. The 110N buoyancy is the quoted value, in reality it is probably higher. Storage is good but some of the pockets on the front of the jacket are not ideally sized/located for lure fishing. Auto inflate is defo the way to go I think. With this jacket you also have a manual inflate & can disengage the auto inflate system if you need to do some deep wading. The auto inflate sensor is well protected so if you get soaked by the rain/a wave the jacket should not inflate.

In hindsight I wished that I'd looked into the separate 'hoop' lifejacket & purpose designed lure vest (Sakura Trekker or similar?) option a bit more. at the time I thought that it was not possible to combine the two as any straps would obstruct the life jacket from operating properly. I did not want to carry a separate ruck sac/waist bag. With a bit more investigation I may have found something.

One thing that I've become conscious of is not to put too much stuff in the jacket. I'm thinking that this will have an adverse effect upon the buoyancy.

I suppose that how far people want to go with the saftey side of things is very much a personal choice. Some will wear nothing & go out in the worst of weather & some will avoid fishing when there is the slightest sniff of bad weather or fishing at anything but the safest of marks. My philosophy & I suspect most others is somewhere in the middle. Not that I was a nutter before but like others have said having a young family made me change my thinking on safety big time.

Apologies for any waffling lol! Hope this has helped

Cheers

Toby
 

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No apologies for waffling needed. Thanks for taking the time to reply so in depth. I had read your previous post on the 150N spec and that is what got me thinking. I am a pretty good swimmer - but I would definitely want to be kept upright if I knocked myself out. I am sure it is perfectly possible and even common. The few falls I have had on slippery rocks so far - come so unexpectantly that I have gone down real hard, totally winding myself on occasion. I wouldn't want to do that in a heavy swell from a rock ledge. I agree that the hoop type vest may interfere with straps, lurebags etc - so a compromise is inevitable.
I am looking at that new airflo - I like the big front pockets (Ive got big boxes - but they're fairly cheap to change) - but just wondered if anyone has seen one up close yet?
By the way - any problems with the metal zips on your Snowbee - My first waders were Snowbee neoprenes - lasted 4 years - pretty good I thought.
 
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