One of the most essential pieces of equipment a fisherman can have (besides a fishing pole, of course) is quality rainwear. I can remember going home from many fishing trips looking like a drowned rat because I didn't have a good rain suit. In my early years I'd spend a good amount of money on the newest rods, reels and lures, and then buy my "stormy-weather wear" with what little funds I had left. Needless to say, I usually ended up with pretty shoddy rainwear. I've since learned that it's much better to spend a little more money on good rainwear to make your fishing trips more enjoyable. And, if you spend the money on good rainwear, then you should only have to buy one set to last you a very long time.
The 100 MPH Rainsuit is a lifesaver when making cold, early morning runs across big water.
If you want the absolute best raingear available, then look no further -- the Bass Pro Shops 100 MPH Gore-Tex Rain Suit is it. Many tournament anglers rely on the 100 MPH Rainsuit to keep them fishing in the harshest weather, including Kevin VanDam, the two-time Bassmaster Classic winner.
"I've tried just about all of the Gore-Tex suits, but the 100 MPH suit is my favorite. We live in those things on the tournament trail. It seems like we use the suit a lot more for blocking the wind than we do for rain. It's something that you have to have," says VanDam. "The thing I like about that one over any of the others I've used in the past is it's not cumbersome -- it doesn't restrict my movements when I'm trying to cast, especially when it's cold out. One of the best things about the suit is the suspender system. The way that it's designed, it takes the weight of the bibs off your shoulders, and you don't get that rain suit fatigue over a day's time."
Kevin VanDam isn't kidding about this suit either -- I took one on a trip to Canada and it worked like a charm. Every morning my fishing buddies and I had about a 20-minute trip at 40 mph to our favorite walleye hole. With the suit on, I was as toasty as can be, and the only thing that got cold was my eyes, but that's because they were the only thing that wasn't covered by the suit.
The suit comes with more features than you would think could be packed into a couple pieces of apparel. Both the parka and the bibs feature a laminated 150-denier nylon shell with full GORE-TEX membrane. That is about as waterproof and durable a material as you can find in a rain suit -- and it still remains breathable.
A thick outer shell isn't the only protection against wind and rain, though; it also has double storm flaps, one with Velcro to keep even the strongest wind from finding its way through the parka.
One thing that I look for in a rain suit is something to protect the neck and chin. If you're cruising across a lake and your rain suit doesn't have one, then your hood is just a big funnel for raindrops. A neck and chin wrap keeps that rain from shooting down your neck and straight into places that you would rather not get wet and cold. To keep the head protected, the parka has a visor and face guard with an adjustable chin cover. The hood can be detached or tucked into the collar for warm weather use. The collar has a comfort fleece feature so it won't chafe your face when you've got it zipped up.
The parka also comes with two front gear pockets piggy-backed over fleece-lined handwarmer pockets. It has reinforced Cordura elbows, adjustable outer cuffs and neoprene inner cuffs so that water can't get in through your sleeves.
The bibs of the rain suit do an equally good job of deterring nasty weather. Constructed of the same material as the parka, the bibs feature a 20-inch fully gusseted front. The bottoms have both zippers and thick Velcro to keep it tight around your boots and to allow you to unzip them and take the bibs off without removing your boots. Reinforced kneepads allow for heavy use and a handy pocket give you more space to stuff important gear.
One of the best features of the bibs -- besides the fact that they're impervious to violent weather -- are the H-back suspenders. With many bibs, you have suspenders that don't stay in place, but with the H-back suspenders, they stay right were they're supposed to be. They also are made of a stretch material so they are comfortable to fish in without excessive binding.
If you want a rain suit that meets and exceeds your expectations, check out the Bass Pro Shops 100 MPH Gore-Tex Parka and Bibs. It is simply the best rainsuit out there, and you won't be disappointed.