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Original Issue

Catch it, net it, put it in your pocket

Fishermen go gaga over gadgets. Little things endlessly entertain them: flies, hooks, lines, reels, pliers, creels, knives, all those compartmented clear-plastic boxes full of stuff. Fishermen rattle and clink when they move. Fishermen are walking hardware displays.

The fishing jacket on these pages is designed to help them carry even more. Admittedly, it is not for everyone. Aboard a sport-fisherman after marlin, it would be needlessly bulky; on a bonefish flat, the wearer would likely roast. But for a streamside fisherman or a small-boat man, it works. The idea could only have come from a mad angler: Senior Editor Robert H. Boyle—conservationist-author, guardian of the Hudson River, scourge of sea and shore. Head Ski and Sports Wear, Inc. executed it and will sell the coat this spring on special order. Enthusiast Boyle, the pipe smoker in navy at left, demanded no fewer than 17 pockets, including one on each sleeve. Extra flies can be hooked to the sheepskin patches over each breast pocket. A tape measure runs down the inside of one sleeve—net the fish, measure it, then pop it into the snap-on, rubber-lined fanny-pack creel. Wrists are elasticized, the bottom can be snugged tight and there is a hidden hood. A harness in front serves to support the rod butt when fighting big ones. Four prototype jackets were tested: by Boyle; Jack Felth, veteran Cape Cod fisherman, also in navy at top right; John Clark, curator of The New York Aquarium, in yellow; and Harry Darbee, one of the nation's foremost flytiers, in green. Their expert verdict: at last, the compleat coat.





Boyle started with sturdy nylon duck, added rustproof nylon zippers and sealed all pockets with snaps, Velcro or both. Various tabs and loops hold tools, thermometer, pliers; the epaulets secure binoculars or camera; the knit collar is washable. The coat will be produced in green, yellow, and navy and will sell on a custom-made basis for $190, with delivery in three to four weeks.

And on the other side: a shoulder quiver to hold a travel rod, an easy-to-reach elasticized net holder and—of course—more pockets. (Still two more pockets inside the jacket will hold sunglasses, wallet and license.) The snap-on creel is handy for stream fishermen. The Bob Boyle fishing coat may be ordered from Osborn & Ulland, Inc., Seattle, and Streeter & Quarles, New York, Boston.