Luck begins with the perfect new fishing vest |

Luck begins with the perfect new fishing vest

There’s a long-held belief among anglers that it is bad luck to wash a fishing vest. I have no idea whether it’s true, but why take chances? I wore my last one until I couldn’t stand it anymore.

The zipper broke last year and various Velcro tabs were starting to wear out, but I used the grimy, smelly vest almost all of this season anyway.

I’d been looking at various flyshops, though not with any real urgency, to find a replacement, without success.

A lot of vests don’t fit well because they’re made for men, though some manufacturers make female-specific lines of fishing gear. Fishpond is one of them, and I eyed their vests pretty closely. They weren’t so much vests with pockets as pockets held together with a vest. I was impressed with a lot of the features and roomy pocket storage, but not so much with the bright mix of colors they put into their vests (I don’t want to look like an attractor pattern), and not so much with the price tag – $140 or more.

But then I found a modestly priced vest by Columbia at a shop in Durango this fall. The Cool Creek mesh fly-fishing vest ($39.95 online at Cabela’s) isn’t made for women in particular, as far as I can tell, but it’s a perfect fit.

Most importantly, it has the pocket configuration that I craved, but lacked, in my old vest – a double set of zippered pockets in the front along with the usual array of Velcro enclosures. It also has a small inside, zipper pocket for valuables like my fishing license, and a big zipper pocket on the back where I keep a rain jacket. Some stretch springy things in front can be used to keep floatant and whatnot at the ready.

The front pockets store my fly boxes with ease – it was a real struggle to get them wedged into my old vest. And, even though I’ve pretty well packed the vest with assorted essentials, I don’t look like the Michelin Man when I’m wearing it. I can even fit a small camera in one of the pockets – in its fabric case – without producing a serious bulge.

As for my old vest, my plan to burn it with full honors gave way to its unceremonious disposal in a campground trash can amid pouring rain near the San Juan River in New Mexico. That was right after I’d removed all the gear from it and right before we high-tailed it to a motel.

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