Would I wear one of these contraptions? asks global photographer and angler, Henry Gilbey
My first reaction is ‘on yer bike’ because I’m more a rucksack man, but then I stood back and thought about it.
But let’s get one thing straight; this lure vest is not a lifejacket, and it will not keep you afloat if you fall in. In Japan they are used as a kind of crossover between a lure fishing vest and a flotation aid, but from my understanding these sorts of products have not been properly tested here as a true flotation device.
You can actually choose to either remove or retain the various flotation panels. Take them out and the vest becomes even easier and less bulky to wear, but that decision is up to you.
Fly-anglers know fishing vests allow them swift and easy access to their gear, which is stored around their body in pockets. Rucksacks aren’t a lot of good if you are rock-hopping or wading.
I took note of the IMA vest when I was forced to look around for a way to keep lures and other bits (leader, clips etc) to hand when we fished locations that required us to be up to our waist in water.
This vest isn’t cheap, but, having used one extensively, I think I have a pretty good idea why it costs so much. The zip and other fastenings are saltwater-proof, and properly adjust the straps and you’ll hardly know you are wearing it.
I haven’t really looked after the vest, yet I can’t find any signs of wear and tear. There is a small zip pocket on the back of the vest that can hold a few things, but the main attraction is what you can fit in the front pockets and hang off the D-rings that impresses.
The front pockets hold my favourite Sakura SK-9145 washable lure boxes, which measure 20.6cm x 17cm x 4.2cm, and there are even drainage holes in the bottom of the pockets for when you wade out deep.
Yes, it’s better than a rucksack and I can get at everything while I am fishing.
Available from selected retailers – many specialist bass tackle website sell them.