When it comes to fishing in the rain, many anglers will tell you your chances of catching fish typically improve. It can be a great time to be on the water, especially in the low barometric pressure before a storm hits. Rain also brings nutrients into the water, and fish will usually let down their guard and go into feeding mode that makes the bite all the better.
So go fishing, but your focus should be on proper gear long before your outing. This will help you avoid becoming miserable despite the awesome fishing action. Always be prepared for foul weather, especially when it comes to outerwear.
Let’s start at the bottom - you can always pick up a 99 cent rain poncho in a pinch, as long as you don’t mind being THIS guy…
It all begins with shedding water. Today’s high tech fabrics utilize DWR coating - which is a durable water-repellent finish. You can test this DWR performance by simply sprinkling water over the garment. If it beads up and rolls off easily, then typically so will the rain. If it is absorbed and darkens the fabric the DWR is either insufficient or no longer performing.
All rain jackets should be waterproof yet breathable - it is essential that your perspiration is allowed to evaporate while deterring the rain. This double duty is no easy trick, but today’s high tech fabrics, mesh liners and side venting all contribute to keeping you dry and comfortable no matter the conditions.
Rain jackets are a staple for any avid angler, and chances are you’ll want more than one in your fishing closet. Let’s start with windbreakers and lighter jackets.
Most anglers go for non-bulky fabric and ultralight material on their lighter jackets. This makes it easier to pack and store in case of unpredictable weather. You will ALWAYS want these packed with your fishing gear. They are perfect for cloudbursts and intermittent precipitation. Literally don’t go fishing without one ready to pull on.
These are perfect for light duty activities and warmer temps. They will tend to have a light mesh lining and a few pockets. While they will keep you dry, they may not hold up for an all-day rain. For heavy rain and wind especially, you’ll want to consider upgrading to a heavier duty All Weather Jacket.
But what are the real differences? We thought you’d never ask. https://youtu.be/3bsoUJr7D-s
When you’re ready to face a real storm with sideways rain, you’ll want to step up to an All Weather jacket. These are designed to keep you dry and comfortable in all-day rain or intermittent squalls.
Zippers should be wide and have sturdy tabs. A failed zipper often renders a garment unusable long before it actually wears out. It is also helpful to have main zippers protected by outer storm flaps to further protect from the elements and preserve the life of the zipper. The one pictured has dual storm flaps to ensure no leakage.
Pockets are of utmost importance to most anglers, and accessing them with ease is a crucial test when selecting your jacket. This comes down to your own preference, but having them secure will be critical to everyone. Inside pockets designed for things like keys and phones must offer easy access yet full protection from anything being lost.
Hoods are a no-brainer when it comes to rainwear, but not all hoods are created equally. They will all tend to be lightweight and feature a tightening function, but having an extended bill will help keep rain off your face and cover the bill of a hat well.
A major difference comes when you are NOT using the hood. Designers typically have two ways of addressing this - either a detachable hood or a roll away design. If you’re good at misplacing things, you will want to consider the roll away as it’s always there.
Sleeves - these are crucial to anglers as the last thing you want is water trickling down your arms, and you may find yourself with your arms extended or over your head for long periods. Adjustable cuffs are the primary method for achieving this, which will usually utilize velcro or straps. The WindRider Pro All Weather Jacket also includes an inner cuff to further protect from this, and insulate from the cold: https://www.windrider.com/collections/rain-gear/products/pro-foul-weather-jacket
Lining - all fishing jackets will typically feature some type of inner lining. The weight of this will largely depend on the climate in which you’re fishing. Lighter jackets will most likely use a polyester mesh that offers easy breathability without adding much weight, whereas heavier foul weather jackets will usually have fleece for added insulation and comfort.
In either case, a good fishing jacket will not restrict the movement of your arms or torso.
Oh but the fun doesn’t stop with jackets - you will also need bibs. Not like you had as a toddler (except maybe for BBQ), but to keep your lower extremities dry. Bibs are an essential part of any rain gear, and it’s crucial that, like the jackets, they will be waterproof yet comfortable.
Functionality comes into play with the bibs more than anything else. Do the straps adjust properly? How easy are they to get on and off? Are there leg zippers? And probably the most crucial - how tricky are bathroom breaks? These are all considerations when choosing bibs. The WindRider set pictured features double zippers, which for men means easy bathroom breaks versus removing them simply to relieve yourself. You'll thank us later.
Since they are generally matched with a jacket, take a good look at the bibs before adding a raingear set to your Amazon cart. You will be thankful when a looming cloudburst has you hastily scrambling for your outerwear.
COLDER WEATHER SETS
If you find yourself in colder conditions, you may want to step up to ice gear, believe it or not. Many anglers find that during the early spring and late fall, using the well-insulated ice suits are the most comfortable. Even though they are designed for ice fishing, these offer enough flexibility and ease of movement to use even when it’s not weather fit for a polar bear. The Boreas Ice Suit pictured is a prime example: https://www.windrider.com/collections/ice-gear/products/boreas_ice_fishing_suit
These suits also offer the benefit of reinforced legs that will withstand the rigors of riverbanks and stray hooks that find your legs. The WindRider Boreas also FLOATS, should you lose your balance and wonder if your swimming skills can handle the addition of wet heavy outerwear. You just never know - which is pretty much the theme of all raingear.
So get out there and make use of the great fishing action that is typical during the rain. If you’ve read this far, you’re well on your way to doing the necessary homework to ensure you’re not miserable during wet weather. It’s all a part of making memories, having fun and enjoying the water - even if water is falling on you from the sky. -WR