When there’s a chance of falling into the water, a life jacket, or personal floatation device (PFD) should be at the top of your packing list. That’s especially true for fishermen (and women!) who are slinging fishing lines from their paddle boards.
Paddle board fishing has become extremely popular in recent years because boats can’t go everywhere on the water, making a paddle board the perfect watercraft for your next big catch.
Paddle board fishing has become extremely popular in recent years due to a SUP’s size and how easy they are to transport. Fishermen all over the world are using their SUPs as the perfect watercraft for their next big catch, as larger boats can’t access many out of reach locations.
With fishing, though, there’s significantly more movement while standing on a board and an increased chance of falling in, which is why it’s imperative to be wearing a comfortable fishing life jacket.
We’ve reviewed a bunch of these life jackets and have come up with the 9 best possible products to recommend to you.
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When you’re fishing on a boat or a paddle board, wearing a PFD is crucial. There’s always a chance of falling in the water, potentially with heavy clothes on, which can be dangerous. Take the risk out of the equation and wear a fishing life vest just in case you end up in the water.
The ONYX PFD has six adjustment straps, a high padded back, and numerous pockets to store all your fishing gear safely. As it’s on the lower end of the price scale, it’s a great option that won’t break the bank.
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Stearns created a durable and secure life jacket with mesh shoulder panels and large armholes for easy movement and increased air ventilation.
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The NRS Chinook kayak fishing life vest has ample pockets for additional tackle, and its soft plushfit foam padding fits your specific body type keeping you safe and comfortable throughout your entire paddle.
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Stohlquist created their fisherman life jacket to be US Coast Guard approved and with type III sea level buoyancy.
The bottom of the back of the vest is made from mesh to increase airflow, and the padding at the top of the back acts as a cushion while seating.
Two large EVA pockets on the front side of the vest act as fold-down work surfaces and can store a considerable amount of fishing tackle.
A feature-rich budget fishing life jacket that’s perfect for kayaking or paddle boarding. The ONYX PFD features nine pockets, two of which fold down flat and create a mini workspace to store all your essential items and to keep them close by at all times.
ONYX equipped the jacket with six adjustment straps to suit paddlers of all sizes, and its high foam back provides an extra layer of comfort, even on high back seats. The lower back portion of the PFD is made of a breathable mesh to promote airflow and keep you as cool as possible while out on the water.
The common complaint is the plastic zippers, which feel cheap. That being said, metal zippers that constantly get wet are prone to rusting, which is why ONYX went with plastic.
A premium fishing life jacket that’s high quality, but also comes with a big price tag. The NRS Chinook Fishing Kayak Lifejacket is a quality product with a roomy fit and soft plushFIT foam that sculpts to your body every time you wear it.
NRS created the Chinook PFD to be US. Coast Guard-approved and is equipped with two accessory pockets, two large zippered pockets, and a tool holder pocket to keep all your essential fishing gear close by.
The Chinook comes in four sizes and three different colorways, so a design and fit are suited for everyone.
The Kokatat Bahia Tour Personal Flotation Device is designed for kayak or paddle board fishing and has plenty of pockets for storing your fishing gear.
In terms of size and fit, it can adjust to be snug to your body but still offers plenty of airflow for a comfortable day on the water.
Down the back of the jacket is a mesh panel to circulate airflow, the shoulder pads feature neoprene to improve comfort and the front of the jacket has two large pockets and reflective tape.
The Airhead Fishing Deluxe has a lightweight design and ample pocket storage for any and all essential fishing tackle.
Airhead created the deluxe vest with mesh shoulders, a zippered closure, and belt straps to keep it securely fastened and comfortable on your body.
The vest is US Coast Guard Approved and comes available in two colors and sizes, XS to 4XL.
Stearns designed their angler life vest with large armholes to make casting and moving easier. The angler life vest is US Coast Guard-approved with mesh shoulder panels for ventilation and a neoprene collar to prevent chafing even after hours of wear.
Two large front zippered pockets are excellent for essential tackle, and the jacket comes in 3 different sizes with adjustable buckles.
The Bluestrom Gear Stratus 35 PFD isn’t exactly designed as a fishing life vest, but if you have a system for your gear that doesn’t require pockets on a life vest, we highly recommend it.
For starters, it has excellent buoyancy in the event you fall into the water. The company claims it is twice as buoyant as traditional Type III PFD.
Secondly, the design of this vest is extremely comfortable, and the slimline design will have you forgetting you’re even wearing it.
The Kent Type I PFD has vinyl inserts to protect its foam filling, reflective tape on the shoulders, and although the color orange may not be for everyone, it is internationally recognized and easy to spot when out on the water
One of our favorite things about the Kent life jacket, and one of the most important factors of a life jacket, is that it’s designed for extended survival in rough waters and will keep your head above the surface at all times.
The XPS Deluxe Fishing Life Vest comes in two different colors and six sizes ranging from small all the way up to 4 XL.
The vest’s soft padding and large armholes are comfortable while fishing, and the side-entry handwarmer pockets are ideal for cold weather conditions.
Also featured on the vest are two zip pockets with mesh bottoms for drainage, a pocket for hand tools, reflective tape along the shoulders, and two D-Rings for additional gear.
In terms of style, a PFD that wraps around your waist will likely be the lightest fishing PFD, but you’re not going to have much storage on it for lures and other accessories.
Very carefully! Fishing from a paddle board is all about stability and definitely requires some intermediate to advanced paddle boarding skills before incorporating a fishing pole into the mix.
It’s preferred you use a wider paddle board — like the Manta Ray Multi-Person Inflatable from GILI Sports — for fishing for added stability and to include room for gear. Finally, you’ll want to invest in a fishing rod holder, which allows you to paddle to your preferred destination without losing your rod.
Yes, whether you're kayak fishing, paddle board fishing, or simply fishing on a boat, you need a PFD in order to stay safe.
While laws can potentially vary by state, the general law is that every vessel in the water needs at least one life jacket on board. You don’t necessarily need to be wearing it, though.
In terms of paddle boarding, a life jacket isn’t required in surf zones or swim areas, but the moment you go out of those areas, you are then required to have a life jacket. Again, err on the side of caution and always wear a life jacket when paddling.
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