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Review Detail

Kokatat "Bahia Tour" PFD
PFD Reviews
December 11, 2012    
(Updated: August 13, 2013)

A PFD you can count on

I spent 7 days working (cough...cough) in the Florida Keys. It was truthfully one of the most physically demanding trips I have ever been on. We were faced with small craft advisories on five of the seven days, and were severely beaten by 20-30 mph winds; not the best conditions for fishing, but to me a true gear review is born in such an adverse situation.

Our gear was waiting on us when we got there, and my son Ethan and I were outfitted with Kokatat “Bahia Tour” PFD’s.
I understood going into it that we would likely be the only people in Florida to have donned PFD’s in quite some time. Apparently there is some article in the Florida constitution that says only tourists can wear any type of safety device in a kayak. (I am just kidding... keep the hate mail at home please...)

Since we fish for a local outdoor shop fishing team (Outside World Columbus) and also represent Jackson Kayak as team members, we are expected to keep our PFDs on for most situations. Also, as a photographer, if you even hope to have your work published in a magazine, PFDs have to be worn in every shot. So we suited up in the Kokatats and headed out to the flats.

The first thing I noticed was how well the PFD conformed to my chest. You can note in my pictures that I have a certain shape that doesn’t include terms like “iron” or “abs”. Usually guys like me end up with a PFD that is closer looking to a man-bra than a lifesaving device. The Bahia Tour stayed where it was supposed to - no riding up or choking.

The flat back was very comfortable in the Jackson’s high back “Elite” seat. Ethan’s worked and fit well, too, and it didn’t matter what he did; standing, sitting, paddling, or poling, it was comfortable. The pockets are nice, and are placed well enough to not get in the way of fly lines as I made my attempt to catch a shark on the fly. I really put the lash tab to good use to secure my blade, and can see the benefit of the over-the-shoulder one when I am just fly fishing. Every once in a while I would wrap the knife on the front with fly line.

The full range of motion was awesome as well. We paddled harder than I ever have in my life and any restriction would have been a hindrance. With conditions that ranged from curling whitecaps to mangrove tunnels, and even one glorious hour of flat calm, I can honestly say I got the full range of testing done on this jacket. I even managed to fight a fish or two, and the jacket performed wonderfully during the battles.

The truest test of any product: after a lot of use, would you recommend it to your friends? That is why I am writing this review. I would, without reservation of any kind, recommend this product to my friends. Whether you are skinny and athletic like my son, Ethan, or a bit more robust and built for tug-o-war like me, this will be a PFD you can count on.

User Info

Waters Fished:
  • Large Rivers
  • Small Creeks
  • Large Lakes
  • Small Ponds
  • Salwater Flats
  • Saltwater Bays
  • Offshore
16-30 times
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