Tackle Reviews

Frabill Fleece Jacket

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Most folks fall into two groups when it comes to the weather – those that hate the cold and those that hate the heat. I am definitely in the former. I can’t stand to be cold. Being cold will get me off the water a lot quicker than being hot will be. I’ve found lots of ways to cool off in the summer but I don’t find many ways to get warm in the winter save for putting on my layers of clothes. Which makes me feel like Ralphie’s little brother in A Christmas Story wiggling around on his back trying to get up but failing to do so because he has so much clothing on his body.

Not to mention, fishing can be cumbersome with bulky clothing and parkas on to knock the cold off. You get your rod butts caught the sleeves, you get your line caught in bulky clasps and zippers and it makes fishing more frustrating that fishing in the extreme elements already can be.

We’ve all seen that thinner weather material like that made by North Face. Now there is a fully functional, extremely warm and wind stopping piece designed just for fishermen. The Frabill Fleece jacket doesn’t look like a piece that would be so warm because it doesn’t have that bulk you’re used to in warm fishing jackets.

The designers packed a bunch of features into this good looking a functional jacket. Starting with the collar, the zipper goes all the way up to form a very warm and protective neck and low face guard. Worn with the Frabill Fleece hat and you can keep all the cold air and spray from the lake off you while fishing or running down the lake in those cold winter months.

There are three pockets on the jacket – one on either side to keep your hands warm or hold your keys and one on the chest that is perfect for holding sunglasses or cell phones. The pockets are soft and seemed to dry quickly when used to store wet hands after handling fish and wet lures.

There is a draw string around the waist of the jacket that allows you to snug the fit around your waist to hold the elements at bay. We also like the longer cut in the back of the jacket to avoid that cool gentle breeze that often trickles down your backside as you bend over to work on tackle or unhook fish in the boat or as you race down the lake to the next spot on those cold mornings.

There is extra taslan nylon protective overlay on the shoulders, neck, elbows and sleeve cuffs to keep the wind and water out. When fully zipped, we were amazed how well it knocked the wind down and kept us warm. Most days this mild winter, we’ve just worn this fleece jacket with a hoodie and not needed any additional clothing this winter to cover our upper torso.

A Dupont Teflon fabric protector covers the fleece keeping it water and stain resistant. We love that we wear the jacket fishing and then just spray some febreeze on it and hang it up outside to air out and it seems to remove the odor nicely from the garment. I wear it everywhere now.

One last feature I like about the jacket is the vented arm pits. Each side of the jacket under the arms features a zipper that you can open to vent the jacket from underneath. That’s a neat feature for those days when it seems to go back and forth between being cool on a boat ride but the sun warming you up and making it feel hotter than it really is.

The jacket is very lightweight as well, so you don’t feel like your fishing all day with a 100 pounds of clothing on. Folks often don’t realize why they are so much more tired in the winter when they fish. The body will expend more energy to stay warm and if anglers wear too much clothing, the extra weight of the garments will fatigue them faster.

So having wind stopping power in a light garment makes the Frabill Fleece jacket a must have for serious anglers. Wear it as a middle layer on very cold days or your single outer layer on the not-so-cold days.

The jacket is available online at Frabill.com for $129.95, but we noticed some sales lately online where you can pick the jacket up for around $90 – a wise investment in your cold weather fishing and every day wear. More photos of the jacket here:

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