Both Shane and I have been putting Astral Buoyancy's newest fishing PFD the "Ronny Fisher" through its paces over the last half year. Yesterday I was finally in a situation were I got to use the one of its many features, the rain visibility hood, so I now feel like I've tested all the ins and outs of the PFD.
First and foremost this vest is made by one of the most respected companies in the whitewater kayaking world. So think about this.... Their vests on the backs of some of the craziest professional whitewater kayakers that are dropping in on 50 foot plus waterfalls and when they turn to company to entrust their lives with.... it's Astral Buoyancy.
Astral created a lot of buzz this year in the kayak fishing world with their release of their first "fishing first" PFD. This means the Ronny Fisher well thought out, efficient, and "Will" save your life if you need it to.
|Thin-Vent™ Back compatible with all seats and offers breathability along the user's back|
|Multiple front pockets for easy access storage|
|Stowable drink holder|
|Quick Access Knife Tab|
|Pre-shaped foam offers a great fit for women|
|Stowable Rain Hood in the Neck Collar|
|Mesh Liner for Added Comfort|
|Additional Tool Organizer|
What We Think
Comfort - I find the PFD very comfortable. One of the key features important to me is the flat back on the vest. I fish out of a Hobie Pro Angler with a High Back seat, so most PFDs with a high back feature will not work for me, so this is the perfect option. The PFD is formed just right to fit to anyone's body and for us we don't feel like it rises up on you like many PFD's do.
Style - The vest comes in two colors, grey and lime green, so if your a conservative kayak angler then grey is for you or if your a bold lure slinger the lime green option has you covered. The Lime Green also provides a little more visibility for those anglers concerned with high boat traffic on the bodies of water they fish.
Price - $159.95 - While we know everyone out there likes the cheapest option they can find, we truly believe you get your moneys worth here. Also, if there is anything you want to spend good money on it should be on a PFD, which we hope you never truly need.... but could save your life some day.
Features - The features seem never ending... The one we were somewhat skeptical of was the hi-vis rain hood, would it fit right or block visibility, etc. We are happy to say it might be the best feature in the vest even though you won't use it every time out. It fits just right, the Velcro chin strap keeps it from flying off in the wind, it creates no visibility limitations, it stows away very easily ,and of course it keeps you dry. There are plenty of times you'll be out fishing and a pop up rain storms comes out of no where and you never remember you raingear, now you be covered...
We also think this is the perfect tournament PFD. The two front pockets provide perfect storage space for your phone or camera and that ever so elusive photo identifier that seems to get misplaced on the kayak by just about every kayak angler at some point.
And you can't go wrong with a PFD that can save your life and also save your beer!!
Overall - 9/10 - This PFD is a winner!! Shane and I both think it is top notch and built to last. My only knock on the vest is the front pockets and floatation are a little bulky for just a quick afternoon trip when I don't need to carry much stuff.
I've even worn it fishing a boat tournaments in which the weather was a little less than ideal.
The vest fits well over layers of clothing or simple over a t-shirt.
The hood fits just right, after the rain we were treated with an awesome rainbow.
You don't even notice the hood is there when stowed away.