Merwin: Avoid Hypothermia With a Mustang Survival Jacket

Staying alive. Personal safety is high on my fall fishing list. The water temperature this morning on one of the … Continued

Staying alive. Personal safety is high on my fall fishing list. The water temperature this morning on one of the big lakes I often fish is 51 degrees. Normally dressed, if I fall out of the boat there’s a good chance of death by hypothermia.

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So a couple of years ago, I bought one of the Mustang Survival Jackets shown here. It’s a floatation coat/PFD with enough foam inside to also protect my body’s core temperature in the water. I figure that’ll be enough so I can either make it to shore or somehow struggle back into or on the boat on my own. The jacket is also plenty warm and comfortable while fishing.

This was not some free sample, by the way, but cost somewhere well north of $200. When I explained it to my wife, she who otherwise tends to parsimony immediately bought one too.

I have similar thoughts about river fishing. Neoprene chest waders aren’t as comfortable as the new breathables I most often wear, but unlike breathables the neoprene will act as a wetsuit if I take an inadvertent dive. So there would be some warmth during and after any disaster.

A wading staff and wading boots with serious metal studs, meanwhile, make me a little more secure when slopping around after late-season steelhead.

Have an enjoyable Halloween weekend. And if you’re fishing in this late-season cold, please also do whatever it takes to make sure you get home again.