Looking for a fleece fishing jacket? There are lots to choose from; lightweight, heavyweight, lined and insulated – but which are the best? Well, all to a degree, it just depends on your intended use. So, to help you decide we’ve put together this handy Anglers' Net guide to fleece jackets.
If somebody asked you to name the five greatest aids made available to anglers over the past couple of decades, I think it’s fair to say the humble fleece jacket would not feature too prominently, but it should. The fleece jacket has become the unsung hero of angling, and I’d bet there’s not many coarse, specimen, fly, or sea anglers out there who don’t own one.
Years ago, we draped ourselves in various types of woollen outerwear before heading off down to the water's edge, but such garments have been largely sidelined in favour of fleece, which offers similar levels of comfort and protection, yet at a fraction of the weight, and fleece is also far superior in terms of breathability.
What’s more, when used as part of an outdoor layering system, fleece jackets offer unbeatable versatility coming in countless variations and thickness's, so no matter what the conditions outside, there’s a fleece to suit. Fleece itself is a synthetic fabric made from polyester; which in turn is made from recycled plastics, and as there’s never going to be any shortage of those kicking around, you can bet the fleece jacket is definitely one that’s here to stay!
They’ve come a long way, too. Early offerings in the outdoor market often suffered from stretching, and excessive piling soon made them look past their best. However, continual advancements in manufacturing processes, particularly in the hiking and ski markets, have given way to fleece jackets that will last for years with virtually no signs of wear if looked after correctly.
When choosing a fleece jacket, the first thing you need to consider is the weight, and which (if any) part of a layering system it’s going to form. Usually, it’s best used as one or more of the middle layers, to be worn over the base and under the shell. For summer, a lightweight fleece of a one layer design will be fine, but heading into autumn and winter, you’d get better use out of a heavyweight fleece which will be better equipped to keep out the wind and insulate the body.
Fleece jackets are graded by their insulating thickness, so, for example, jackets between 100-200g are classed as lightweight and suited to warmer conditions, whereas a fleece of 300-400g will be classed as heavyweight and better suited to winter use. That said, much will depend on the type of fishing you do. If you are a roving angler, walking the banks and, thus, building up heat, you will probably be fine with a lighter weight option during colder times, as opposed to a session carp angler, who will be sat still and inactive for long periods, so again it’s about adapting the type and weight to your specific needs.
Personally, I have an array of fleece tops and jackets, as I just find them perfect for the different types of fishing that I do – not to mention my day to day work. In the main, I use lightweight 100g three-quarter length zip jackets for summer, 200g full zip jackets with heavy collars for autumn and spring, and full on lined 400g heavyweight fleeces for the depths of winter, all of which can be used as part of a layering system if required.
In the winter, I’ll often use them in combination too, for example a lightweight 100g fleece under a heavier 200g fleece, which still gives a lightweight approach but with heavy insulation and wind-stopping capability. As such, it helps to pay attention to the fit when purchasing if you intend to be using it as part of a layering system – a really baggy fit fleece could prove cumbersome in use if it’s restrained by a tighter shell coat over the top. The main areas to consider are the upper chest, under the arms, and the length on the body and cuff. Go through the motions of casting rods and baiting up and, if it feels a good fit without restricting movement, all is well.
There are countless brands to choose from, but for angling use, Craghoppers, Airflo, Berghaus, Greys, Orvis, Hardy, TFG and Barbour are all well established brands to look for, and, to make it even easier, we’ve highlighted a few quality offerings below.
TFG offer a full range of value for money fishing clothing, and this Chill Out Fleece Jacket is no exception. It’s available as a full length zip up jacket or ¾ neck zip smock style version. Features two hand warmer pockets and branded logos. Insulating performance that’s cosy, stylish and great value. Priced at £19.99; full details HERE.
If you want to blend into the environment, this lovely camo fleece jacket, also by TFG, is just the job. The TFG Force 8 Quilted Fleece Jacket is designed from the latest Realtree High Definition camouflage pattern. The jacket comes with a full length zip and pockets, elasticated cuffs and a high neck collar to keep out those winter chills. Priced at £39.99; full details HERE.
The Berghaus Spectrum Micro Hz Fleece Jacket is a half-zip top made from extremely lightweight microfleece that returns an impressive level of thermal insulation, without the usual fabric weights. The Spectrum Micro HZ features a double fabric collar, a zipped chest pocket, is quick drying and the cuffs are Lycra bound for optimising comfort. The Micro HZ is a cosy fleece that uses AWL 100 fabrics and is ideal on it’s own for fishing in the warmer months, or as part of a layering system in the winter. Priced at £35.00; full details HERE.
The Greys Apollo MK2 Extreme Fleece Jacket is a stunning medium weight full zip jacket, manufactured from a good quality non-piling fleece for warmth and long lasting good looks. Its two tone grey colour makes it attractive and easy to wear in any situation requiring warm gear. The jacket is fully nylon lined throughout, for easy access and movement. With a single external chest pocket, two zipped hand warmer pockets and an inside zipped pocket, there is ample storage for the angler to make use of. Priced at £54.99; full details HERE.
The Sherpa Fleece Jacket from Orvis is a high quality pullover fleece with exceptional features and rugged outdoor character. Heathered-fleece exterior and Sherpa-pile interior offer superior warmth. Distressed-leather-look trim with a faux-shearling lining in the collar. Heavy-duty Swiss zip on the front and the pockets. Two hand-warmer pockets lined in brushed fleece with a drawcord at the hem. Fleece jackets don’t get much better than this, highly recommended for use on or away from the bank during the colder weather. Priced at £65.00; full details HERE.
The Hardy EWS Windproof Fleece Jacket uses boned fleece to mesh which blocks wind chill from the outside while holding the heat on the inside, and with no moisture to build up. The Hardy EWS Windproof Fleece Jacket has fleece lined zipped pockets and an adjustable collar with cord-lock to cut out any wind chill. High quality fleece with excellent performance and looks to match. Priced at £65.99; full details HERE.
This Orvis Windproof Fleece Jacket is a three-layer men's fleece, which stops the wind and cold from getting in, and also resists water to keep you warm, dry, and fishing longer. The jacket is made of soft fleece that insulates without bulk and wears comfortably on your shoulders. The jacket features tricot-lined chest hand-warmer pockets and a vertical pocket, easily accessed even when you're wearing waders and outer garments. Hand-warmer pockets for around town, and a neoprene trim at collar, waist, and cuffs. It has a drawcord waist that seals out wind, special raglan sleeves, articulated underarm venting system with 4-way stretch to give room for casting. Fleeces don’t come much better! Priced from £95.00; full details HERE.
Last, but by no means least, is this outstanding Barbour Sporting Dunmoor Fleece Jacket. It’s made with 100% poly windblock fleece and has a Barbour tartan waterproof lining, designed to stand up to all but the worst weather conditions. Handsome patches and trim, durable and weatherproof materials and a double zip front make this a serious all weather fleece. 100% polyester shell with 100% nylon lining and 100% polyester waterproof laminate. 100% polyester trim. Priced at £149.00; full details HERE.
We hope this guide has given you a few pointers and offered up a few fleece fishing jackets you might not have otherwise found. If you’d like to view more fleece jackets suitable for fishing, then don’t forget to take a look at the Anglers Net Tackle & Bait Finder.