Unless you live in the extreme south, where cold weather never really stays around for very long, you should own a set of good rain and foul weather gear. Today, We’re going to be doing a Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier Rain Gear review.
Good foul weather gear can mean the difference between going fishing, or staying home. Or it can mean the difference between spending a miserable day on the water, shivering your butt off, or fishing comfortably and ignoring the weather.
There’s more to rain gear than meets the eye. Too many times, people buy bargain-priced foul weather gear and hate every minute of wearing it when rain and cold weather come along. I know this from experience because I made the same mistake many years ago.
It wasn’t uncommon for me to come home from a cold, rainy fishing trip, soaked to the bone and shivering uncontrollably. And on top of that, I would be miserable because of the fact that I got cold and wet while wearing “foul weather gear”.
The problem was that I wasn’t really wearing foul weather gear. I was wearing bargain rain gear, at best. Sure, I didn’t opt for the $4 poncho or el-cheapo stuff that I could buy for less than $10 at the local department store. But I also didn’t spend more than $20 – $25 for a set of rain gear. I just didn’t know any better. And budget constraints were always a consideration.
So I would buy my rain gear and wear it. And I would get wet and cold. And the cycle would repeat itself ad nauseum.
So what did I do to change that? How is it that I can now go fishing, even if it’s raining sideways or the wind is blowing hard out of the north, and still come back home dry and not shivering to death?
I finally woke up and bought good, high-quality foul weather rain gear. And I’m not afraid to say that it was some of the best money I have spent on fishing gear in a long time.
Now, don’t get me wrong, what I bought cost me a tidy little sum of money. It wasn’t cheap. But I’ll tell you with complete confidence that it was worth every single penny.
So let’s move on and talk about what I bought, what I think of it, and whether or not you should buy it too.
After spending a lot of time reading customer reviews, looking at prices and researching until my head hurt and my eyeballs were about to burn out of my head, I settled on the Bass Pro Shops Pro Qualifier Rain Gear.
My head had a hard time justifying the $400 price tag, but based on everything I’d read, and my own poor results from years of buying and wearing budget-based rain gear, I just knew I needed to bite the bullet and buy it. Period.
So I took the plunge and ordered it.
And let me be completely honest with you. The first time I wore it, I knew I had made the right choice 😀
Why? How could I be so sure that it was so good after just wearing it once? Let’s talk about that!
In the week before the trip to Texas, Dallas actually had snow. Not a good sign regarding the upcoming trip! The day we arrived in Texas, it was only about 40 degrees, with the forecast for the next few days not looking much better. The new gear was looking better all the time!
Day 1 of the trip was cold. No other word could describe it, except COLD. There was very little sun and the starting temp as we left the launch was in the high 30s. That initial ride across the lake was a good test for the new gear. We took off and ran at about 55 MPH for a little less than two miles.
We arrived at the first location with tears in our eyes and a runny nose, but I was warm! The Pro Qualifier foul weather gear had done its job, and it had done it well. No doubt the Gore-Tex was a big factor in this. It just plain broke the wind and kept us warm, even under those conditions.
Day 1 came went. Day 2 was just as cold, and again, the Pro Qualifier gear kept me warm. As it did also on day 3 of the trip.
Sadly, the fishing was terrible with the strong cold front that had blown in. But despite the terrible fishing, I never once felt like I was under-dressed or not prepared for this kind of cold weather.
After the trip ended, we headed back home to where the weather was still cold, and would be for the next several weeks. More opportunities to wear and test the Pro Qualifier gear!
So over the next several months I had opportunities to wear this gear in cold, windy weather. And it never failed me. I even wore it on rainy, windy days. Again, I was never disappointed.
First, being Gore-Tex, it insulates very well. This can be a problem once the air temps reach above 70. Wearing only light clothing under the gear in warm, wet conditions will become too warm after a while. During times when the rain would let up, I found myself unzipping the jacket to cool off.
This is obviously not a fault or a defect. It was more of an issue with me using the wrong gear for the conditions. By this time, I should have been wearing rain gear that wasn’t insulated. I ended up buying a set of Frogg Toggs for warmer weather. I’ll be writing a review on that at a later date.
The only other “problem” I found was something that’s so minor that I hesitate to even mention. But for the sake of being thorough and giving full disclosure, here it is.
Despite having excellent Velcro closures for the areas on the jacket cuffs, at the wrist, there can still be a small amount of seepage there at times.
The problem occurs when you’re fishing using methods that require your hands and forearms to be in a vertical, or semi-vertical position. Fishing with crankbaits or spinnerbaits wasn’t an issue, since my arms were in a downward position most of the time.
But if I was fishing slow-moving baits, such as a jig, soft plastic or other baits that require a slow presentation, my forearms would spend a lot of time in this semi-upward position.
Ultimately, water begins to seep down past the wrist closures and inside of the sleeves. If I’m wearing a short sleeved shirt under the jacket, it’s not a big deal, but it does get a bit uncomfortable after a while.
The real problem occurs when the weather is colder and I’m wearing a long-sleeved shirt or a sweatshirt under the jacket.
In that situation, the water seepage that gets past the cuffs will begin to soak the cuffs of your shirt and then creep up your forearm. I’ve never had it become a major issue, but it can be annoying, knowing that every time you hold your arms in the position needed to retrieve your jig properly that your sleeve is getting wetter.
In reality, there isn’t a whole lot that can be done to stop this. Rain gear that uses simple elastics around the wrists is far worse. I’ve worn rain gear with the old fashioned elastic wrist closures. Let’s just say that they might be better than nothing. But not much better!
So that’s really the only “complaint” I have about this gear. And in light of the fact that there’s no way to make it any better, I won’t deduct any points off of the review score.
On the plus side, there is so much to like about this gear. It has an abundance of pockets, many of which are fleece lined. It has draw strings in several key areas so you can snug it up tight for those extra-cold days with high winds, or for those high speed runs across the lake.
The jacket zips up over your mouth, leaving only your nose and eyes out. And if you wanted to, you could scooch your nose down inside too, for those cold times when you need a bit more coverage. There is also a draw string that tightens up around the back and sides of your head, to make sure the hood isn’t floppy or loose enough to allow wind to enter in around your ears.
The jacket also has another drawstring inside, around the midsection. This one can be cinched tight to keep wind from blowing up your back while standing or fishing in windy conditions.
The bib overalls are comfortable and extra warm. As with the jacket, there are an abundance of pockets. Storage for odds and ends is never a problem.
The leg zippers are two-way, allowing the legs to be unzipped from the bottom, up, allowing for easy on and off, even with boots on. The suspender straps are ultra-adjustable, giving a lot of flexibility for various fits.
As a side note, on those days when you’re bundled up and have to pee, it’s not too bad to get unzipped enough to take care of business. Getting zipped right back up is also easy, so you can get back to fishing with very little wasted time.
It’s pretty easy to see that this gear was definitely designed by people who understood the needs of anglers and what it would take to make them comfortable, warm and functional.
And, last but not least, they double very well as warm gear for other cold-weather chores, such as snow shoveling or running a snowblower after a storm.
I’ve used mine several times in blustery conditions, cleaning up after a New England snow storm, including the blizzard of 2015. Being out there running a snowblower with temps in the 15-20 degree range and winds blasting through at 20+ MPH was effortless. I can honestly say that I was almost too warm.
So, let’s wrap it up!
The Pro Qualifier Rain Gear is the best you’re going to get when it comes to keeping you warm and dry. I know this from experience with other gear. Is it cheap to buy? Absolutely not. But is it worth the price you pay for it? Absolutely! 100% yes! Worth every single penny.
So I give this gear a very solid score of 5 out of 5 stars.
Based on my own experiences, I don’t believe you’ll find a better set of foul weather gear for the money. You may find some good gear for less, but there will be a difference in the level of warmth and protection you’ll get from it, too.
So if you’re in the market for good, reliable foul weather gear that will keep you warm and dry, look no further.
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Good fishing <><