Many anglers can attest that ice fishing is different from fishing on regular warm days.
It has a certain thrill to it that you can only enjoy during winter.
However, to get this experience, you need proper gear, especially ice fishing suits.
The design of today’s ice fishing suits is something to behold – despite being heavy and layered to keep you warm.
They are flexible enough so that you move without any constraints.
The question is, how do you identify the right ice fish floatation suit?
This guide highlights the most crucial factors to consider when shopping for an ice fishing suit.
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The material used for making your ice fish flotation suit is something that needs your attention when shopping.
Some of the common materials used include neoprene, nylon, and polyester. This is because this fabrics are waterproof and can protect you from freezing conditions.
Some ice fishing suits use polyurethane and polyvinyl chloride in addition to the materials mentioned above to provide further protection and enhance waterproofing capabilities.
PVC and polyurethane are either infused or added on top of the neoprene, nylon, or polyester in such applications.
Layering is vital to ensuring that your body remains warm and dry throughout the fishing trip.
Ideally, your suit should have knee padding and secured seams to prevent water from penetrating and offer added protection against potential injuries.
Your ice fishing suit should have at least 40 grams of shielding to keep you warm.
Its interior, especially if it’s a bib style suit, should have mesh panels and vent openings for adequate aeration and ventilation.
That said, the shielding shouldn’t be too thick, as this can interfere with your mobility.
Fortunately, some models use a smart design that eliminates bulkiness without compromising insulation.
These have a polyurethane finish, like the one used for making diving suits.
Polyurethane is renowned for being lightweight. Other impressive features of this material include breathability and resilience. If blended with polyester, it provides warmth.
The material and insulation features of your fishing suit shouldn’t hinder your mobility.
When you can’t move freely, the fishing experience won’t be enjoyable. Because of this, you are likely to take home a small catch.
When shopping, go for a suit made of lightweight material, such as polyurethane. However, it’s advisable to confirm that it isn’t too light to let in the cold.
Size and Fit
The best way to find out if a particular suit fits is by checking the manufacturers sizing chart.
Pay attention to your chest and midsection size if it’s a full suit with pants and a jacket. If it’s a bib-style suit, be keen on your chest size and your waistline.
Interestingly, an ice fishing suit might match your size according to the chart, but the fit might not feel right.
To avoid this, read reviews from previous clients to get an idea of how a particular choice fits.
Once you’ve read some reviews, you’ll know if it’s too tight, too baggy, or the right fit.
Alternatively, you can buy a suit from a dealer whose return policy allows you to exchange or trade-in a suit that doesn’t fit you.
Whatever you do, avoid suits that squeeze your body. This interferes with blood circulation and hinders insulation.
If worn for extended periods, they increase the risk of freezing and hypothermia.
Instead, purchase a slightly loosened suit with enough space for adding extra insulation for extremely cold conditions.
Other Consideration Factors
Besides the above-mentioned factors, here are other things you need to consider when buying an ice fishing suit.
- Reflective elements – icy conditions often go with decreased visibility. Having a reflective ice fishing suit increases the chances of other anglers spotting you should you need help.
- Flotation – sometimes, the sea might get rough, and your boat capsizes. This is why having a suit that keeps you afloat until rescue teams arrive is important.
- Fast-drain hems – these are sewn onto the edges of the ice fishing suit. As the name suggests, they drain water fast if you fall into the water, reducing the risk of drowning.
If you intend to fish during winter, an ice fishing suit is a must-have accessory.
The primary function of this gear is to protect you from the bleak conditions experienced in the chilly season. Specifically, they keep your body warm and prevent freezing.
While it’s important to choose an option that provides mobility, remember that insulation and your safety are important.
Go for a suit with adequate layering and extra safety features like reflective elements and extra padding, especially on the elbows and knees.
Lastly, never compromise safety when going on a fishing trip, whether on ice or clear water. Carry everything you need to ensure that you return home in one piece.