Layers Upon Layers

Too Early to Fish...

Patagonia Guidewater Jacket

But it's always the right time for the right outerwear.



We always jump the gun on fishing. The trout season opens in most of New England on or about April 1, but any fool knows that the fishing doesn't really begin till the snow is melted completely or almost so, and the rivers are running to a level of safe wading. Still, you gotta get out there.

We have no fish stories to relate-no surprise brown trout waking up to take a down-and-across swinging Hornberg Special -but this early season we did discover a great layering getup that kept us warm during daytime temps beginning in the 50s and ending in the 30s.

We started with Patagonia's 2 Zip-Neck as a poly base layer, over which we piled on the Micro Puff middle layer (this thing squishes into a stuff sack about the size of a grapefruit) and topped off with the company's new Guidewater jacket. About the latter: It's a lightweight, comfortable-to-wear, well-thought-out fishing machine. There are drain holes in the hems and seams if you wade to deep (we don't this time of year); fleece-lined pockets; a tuck-away hood; and flat-laying pocket enclosures that Patagonia calls "fish pulls" that function like zippers but they're not. Comfort and warm well-thought-out does come with a price-the Guidewater jacket retails for $400-but it's easy to amortize that over several seasons of fishing. Maybe even after one warm day on a stream. The 2 Zip is $43 and the Micro Puff is $180, which are pretty good deals, for the quality you'll be wearing. Find all this and more at Patagonia.com. Or try the stuff on at a local dealer.

Best fishing…

-ed.