What to Look for in a Fishing Jacket

What to Look for in a Fishing Jacket | The American Outdoorsman

Fishing is a timeless sport beloved by many outdoorsmen. Not much beats the connection with nature, even as quiet contemplation is interrupted by a tug on the line. But with intervals of sitting and activity, combined with chilly, early-morning arrivals and midday exposure, your choice of outerwear is vital to a safe and successful fishing session.

Choosing the right fishing jacket determines how comfortable you’ll feel. A lot depends on the weather and environment, as well as any fluctuations in temperature. Overall, it’s essential to find proper outerwear that can accommodate layers, protect you from the elements, and provide any necessary storage.


Let’s start with the most critical aspect of a good fishing jacket: waterproofing. It’s apparent that you’ll be around—or surrounded by—water when fishing. Standing in low-flow rivers, or sitting in the middle of a lake, exposes you to harsh elements like rain. Therefore, your top priority is finding outerwear with proper waterproofing.

Be sure to distinguish between waterproof, water-resistant, and water-repellent jackets. Waterproof means that the coat is virtually impermeable to water. This is what you want. Meanwhile, water-resistant and water-repellent jackets can only combat water to a certain extent. When looking for outerwear for fishing, waterproofing is your best friend.   

Weight & Layering

The ideal fishing jacket is lightweight and works like a shell over any necessary layering. Of course, there are exceptions, like if you plan to go ice fishing, off-shore fishing, or know you’ll be in colder weather. In those situations, you can opt for heavier outerwear, but you’ll still need to layer underneath. 

Colder Weather

Ideal layering consists of moisture-wicking fabric that helps to keep your skin dry and warm under your jacket. If you plan to sit out on a lake in the early hours with little sunlight and low temperatures, you can start with wool thermals and consider a fleece mid-layer, with a down or polyfill layer if needed. Your waterproof fishing jacket should be the last article of clothing to help keep you dry and insulate the other layers.

Warmer Weather

It’s essential to consider a lightweight fishing jacket because, in warmer temperatures, you will need to shed some of the layers. However, you may need to keep your coat on due to its waterproofing capabilities and necessary storage. In this case, lightweight is best because you won’t overheat as the temperature warms during midday. For summer months or hotter climates, you can also choose jackets with mesh lining, zippers under the arms, or breathable coatings to help you keep fresh.

Storage & Length

The last factor to look for in a fishing jacket is storage. When you fish, it’s essential to have specific gear handy, plus you want to protect any valuables. Look for outerwear with both inner and outer pockets. It’s also important to focus on length and security. The best fishing jackets are those that cover the entire torso, and that you can secure with velcro or elastic at the wrists, hips, and hood.