Your PFD (Personal Flotation Device) is the most important accessory purchase you will make after you buy your kayak. A well-designed PFD will not only keep you safe, but also store needed tools and tackle. Here are a few things to look for when purchasing a PFD for fishing.
Select a PFD that offers good shoulder clearance so that you encounter no resistance in your paddling motions. Many boating and jet ski PFDs are not optimally designed for paddling a kayak and may be somewhat restrictive. Having ample arm clearance allows you to cast more effectively as well.
Having a PFD with multiple sturdy pockets allows you to carry pliers, a knife and other necessities at the ready. Keeping your tools on your PFD will prevent them from getting scattered (or worse, lost!) in your kayak.
A PFD with adjustable waist and shoulder straps will ride up less as the day goes on. If you are going to be out on the water for several hours, you will want a PFD that is completely adjustable and easy to tighten. If you have an inflatable PFD, make sure it is securely fitted and not just hanging loosely on you.
If your kayak has a higher back rest then a PFD with higher back cushioning will be much more preferable. When you lean against the seat, the foam padding on PFDs with full back flotation may dig into your back, potentially causing blisters and chafing over the course of a few hours. Look for a PFD that has foam padding on the upper part of the back, but mesh webbing on the bottom. Inflatable PFDs are also excellent choices because they are extremely low profile and will work with kayak seats of any height. Most inflate via a ripcord that fires a CO2 cartridge.
Trying on a PFD before your purchase is the best way to ensure a good fit. Our store has a wide selection of jackets for fishing and touring.