Top 5 Trout Fishing Gear Essentials

Trout Gear 2: Vests and Hats

Fishing vests for the whole family!
Fishing vests for the whole family!
Brian Bailey/Getty Images

The fish­ing vest is practically synonymous with trout fishing. That's because vests are just as functional as tackle boxes without the drawbacks. They ensure that your hands remain free, and they keep all of your equipment within reach, no matter how far up- or downstream you roam. Not only that, a good vest holds almost as much as a tackle box.

Most trout fishing vests are made of cotton fabric or a cotton/polyester blend and feature up to 20 or so pockets to hold hooks, slip shot, artificial lures and more. The pockets should have secure zipper or Velcro closures to make sure nothing falls out as you navigate a waterway. An assortment of D-rings is also important. A good vest will usually come with two or three D-rings on the front and one D-ring on the back to secure a landing net. A soft foam collar and neoprene padding in the neck and shoulders can make carrying a loaded vest much more comfortable.

Finally, don't underestimate the value of a good hat and sunglasses. Most great anglers are careful observers. They must be able to spot rocks, logs, feeding fish and other activity beneath the surface of the water. A brimmed hat or a baseball cap, combined with polarized sunglasses, reduces glare considerably and enables you to keep on eye on the trout and their environment.

Better vision usually results in more fish. Up next, we'll cover what trout fishing gear you need to land those fish and get them home.