Product Reviews

LadyFisher's Pick of The Salt Lake Show

Stearns Ultra #1131 Manual Inflatable

by Deanna Birkholm

Yes, there were tons of goodies - lots of neat rods, reels, fly materials - stuff we fly fishermen love to love. But my pick has to do with surviving to do it again another day.

Since my little brush with hyperthermia this summer on the Manistee River, it has crossed my mind that we anglers tend to take a few more chances than might be considered smart.

Stearns Vest
I choose the Stearns Ultra Manual Inflatable vest for several reasons. It is not the only product of it's type on the market. Frankly some of the others may be just as good. But on this one, I went with an old, well-known name. JC and I have had other Stearns life vests. We also own, and wear, Stormy Seas jackets (which look like a wind-breaker), which we wear salmon fishing on the saltwater.

But the old style life vest or the Stormy Seas jacket is just too warm to wear in summer, and bulky to boot. The Stearns device however, is very light, comfortable on - and does not hinder casting.

If you are fishing on big water, wading in unfamiliar water or fishing after dark, I highly recommend wearing some sort of floatation device. But none of us are going to wear one that is uncomfortable or keeps us from casting!

Note the Stearns Ultra #1131 is Coast Guard approved! There are restrictions for any of the manual devices. It must be worn on the outside of your clothing or vest. You must either pull the landyard which activates a co2 cartridge, or inflate by using the Oral Tube.

This particular device is for adults and not for kids. The point is this little device will keep your head out of the water, and very well could save your life - especially if you are out fishing alone. Retail price is about a hundred bucks. Cheap insurance.

~Deanna Birkholm

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