December 11, 2020
By Dr. Todd A. Kuhn
Catching fish is a tough assignment, especially when the weather turns ugly. Staying dry and comfortable can make a wet day on the water a bit more enjoyable.
Admittedly, I’ve had more than my share of rain suits over the years. All of which boasted of their ability to keep me bone dry no matter the conditions. Sadly—none lived up to their billing.
Recently, I had the opportunity to field test the new Gill Pro Tournament 3 Layer Bib and Jacket.
Gill has been designing and producing high-quality, technical garments for decades. Their new Pro Tournament 3 Bib and Jacket were designed and built for the serious angler or boater who spends considerable time out on the water.
Both the Pro Tournament 3 Layer Bib and Jacket are built from a three-layer, 100 percent nylon material. The 3-layer nylon has been certified to remain waterproof in excess of 20,000+ mm hydrostatic head (HH). This hydrostatic head rating is calculated through laboratory testing of the build material (i.e., nylon).
At 20,000+ mm HH, the bib and jacket are guaranteed to remain dry under the most demanding of weather and boating conditions, while staying surprisingly breathable too. Seams are fully taped (i.e., seams are stitched then taped) guaranteeing they will not leak. Quality YKK zippers are used throughout the Pro Tournament 3 Layer Bib and Jacket builds.
The bib and jacket are designed to be worn as an outer layer and are uninsulated.
PRO TOURNAMENT 3 LAYER BIB
The Pro Tournament 3 Layer Bib (FG100T) has reinforced knees designed for the rough-and-tumble use of active fishermen. Full length zippered legs allow for an easy on-and-off, even while keeping your shoes or boots on. Entry into the bibs is from the side, which keeps the front of the bib clean and free from accoutrements which tend to snag fishing line at the least opportune moment.
The bib’s stretch back adjusts to fit almost any sized fishermen and the shoulder straps adjust quickly via oversized Velcro closures. This buckleless design keeps unwanted snags of fishing gear to a minimum. Once the bibs are adjusted for height they remain secured no matter how exaggerated your movement (think hook setting or bending over to lip a fish).
At first blush, you’ll notice how high the bibs are cut. This ultra-high cut lets the bib shed water off the torso when worn without a/the jacket. Hand warming pockets are thoughtfully placed high on the bibs (keeps water from running down the sleeves and into the bib pocket) and a groin-area zipper is provided for access when nature calls.
A large chest pocket is standard and has a flap which keep it from presenting a snag hazard. Two (2) D-clips are provided on the front of the bib, handy for tethered line cutters, temporary boat key storage or clipping an outboard kill switch. Adjustable ankle closures keep legs dry by keeping water from migrating up the ankles and into the bibs above.
The Pro Tournament 3 Layer Bib is available in a graphite color and comes in XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL, 3XL and 4XL ($349).
PRO TOURNAMENT 3 LAYER JACKET
The Pro Tournament 3 Layer Jacket (FG100J), like the bib, is void on anything to snag on your fishing gear. Upper torso pockets are zippered and have flaps to keep the contents dry as well as snag proof. The two (2) hand warmer pockets are also zippered.
Two (2) D-rings are provided on the jacket front for keys or kill switch lanyards. Reflective jacket highlights make you visible at night while out on the water, on the boat ramp or in marina parking lots.
Double sleeve cuff closures allow the user to cinch down the inner cuff, then cinch down the outer cuff over the inner cuff. This double cuff system keeps water out of the sleeves no matter the boat’s speed or how torrential the downpour. A waist cinch keeps the waist section from filling with air and bellowing the jacket while under power.
The Vortex hoodie cinches down securely, both on the sides in the front, as well as in the back. The flow-through design allows the hood to remain on your head and not flapping wildly in the wind while speeding across the lake. The jacket is available in graphite and taupe and comes in sizes XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL and 4XL ($349).
The Gill Pro Tournament 3 Layer Bib and Jacket are uninsulated and designed to be worn as a waterproof outer layer. I tested the Gill rain suit set in Florida during some torrential downpours while bass fishing.
As mentioned previously, I’ve owned a large number of rain suits—all of which leaked to one degree or another. Most leaked through the seams and at the wrist and ankle closures. This was due in part to poorly conceived designs, questionable manufacturing practices and build materials. All of these rain suits, without exception, could not keep my head dry no matter their claims to the contrary.
While on the water the bib and jacket kept me comfortably dry. I was very impressed with the hood design, which, at speeds in excess of 60 mph, remained in place and did not beat me senseless while flapping about wildly. I was equally impressed with the ankle and wrist closures which actually worked—keeping rain from creeping or seeping under them.
The side entry design on the bib is fantastic, allowing for snag-free fishing. The wide shoulder straps—with their Velcro closures—are very comfortable, never digging in like other brands buckled versions. Pockets are thoughtfully placed throughout the bib and jacket system, and the zippers are great for keeping gear inside even while stooping and moving vigorously about the boat.
In conclusion, it is evident that the design team at Gill actually fish. The Pro Tournament 3 Layer Bib and Jacket are thoughtfully conceived, and the manufacture materials are high-quality.
At an MSRP of $698 for both bib and jacket, the Gill Pro Tournament 3 Layer system is well-worth the purchase price for those who spend time on the water and want to remain dry no matter the weather or boat speed (gillfishing.com).