Guy Cotten Efficient C130 Smock review - £199.00 UK price
Are you a smock or a jacket kind of angler when it comes to a waterproof top? For a long time now I have erred towards a jacket over a smock because I do like certain aspects to them such as being able to quickly and easily unzip the front and so on, but I came to wearing this rather impressive looking Guy Cotten Efficient C130 Smock with an open mind and an interest in seeing how I might get on with a smock after wearing various waterproof jackets for so long now…………
I am guessing that many of you here are fully aware that the French brand Guy Cotten have been major players in the commercial fishing clothing industry for a long time now, but via their US branch I believe, they have slowly started to move into the recreational fishing sector. There’s a heavier duty and bombproof Guy Cotten Surf Smock that was designed for the US striped bass fishing market especially - I have fished in this one a fair bit now, it just works - and now there is this incredibly lightweight Guy Cotten Efficient C130 Smock which folds up into virtually nothing but is without doubt one hell of a serious waterproof fishing top that’ll take anything we are likely to put it through with our bass fishing.
And it’s also crept up on me as a waterproof fishing top which I am comfortable wearing and moving around in. It’s a given with the Guy Cotten name that this smock is properly waterproof and breathable - I have worn it a lot now in all kinds of weather and it keeps some serious Irish rain out with no worries at all, as indeed it should to be fair, and especially at the price. I can fit just fine into the XL size with this smock, but I went for the XXL size because I wanted the slightly longer sleeves so nothing catches when I am casting.
Would I wear a waterproof smock over a jacket for evermore? I can’t get away from how much I value being able to having a zip on a jacket and being able to open it up if I want to, but the more I have fished in this Guy Cotten Efficient C130 Smock, the more I like how it wears really well and doesn’t annoy me when I am moving around and casting and so on. Needing to have a pee when wearing a pair of chest waders is more awkward when wearing a smock, and I am so often carrying a walkie-talkie which is harder to get at as well, but as with many things in fishing, the more you wear or use something a bit different to what you are used to, the more normal it becomes.
And where I seriously like this smock is when I am wading out into a bit of surf - I can tightly secure the elasticated bottom of the smock around my waist/upper hips and no (cold) water gets driven underneath the garment and then over the top of a pair of chest waders for a nice early morning soaking. I like how there are no hand pockets that so often fill up with water on other jackets and take ages to dry out afterwards, indeed there is nothing more than a simple chest pocket with a velcro fastening on the front of this smock. Minimal fuss, less to go wrong and potentially leak, I like this.
I still have never come across a waterproof jacket or smock that doesn’t let at least a bit of water in via the sleeves when you are fishing either in heavy and sustained rain, or else you keep putting your hands underwater or get repeatedly splashed by waves and so on, but this Guy Cotten Efficient C130 Smock is as good at minimising the amount of water that will inevitably get in over time as I have come across. The tight neoprene sleeves are simple and minimalist and they work pretty well, plus there is less to go wrong over time.
It’s the neck area on this smock that I am undecided about. The way that the neck strap contraption thing secures around your neck is a bit different to other waterproof tops I have used over many years now, and in some respects it works very well when you do it up properly and then bring the hood up and over a baseball cap which is how I think the hood sits and works the best. As a way of keeping rain and/or spray from getting in and running down your front, this system works very well, but I just don’t find it a hugely comfortable experience when the neck is secured - or should I accept the simple fact that if I want to stay as dry as possible then this Guy Cotten Efficient C130 Smock is keeping the water out considerably better than most waterproof tops I can recall? Because it is, and it is very noticable when you have got driving rain hitting you in the face and you don’t end up much water getting in at all if you do that (not hugely comfortable but very efficient) neck strap up properly.
So is a waterproof smock like this worth a penny under the £200 mark? Guy Cotten have got one hell of a reputation in the commercial fishing and indeed the sailing worlds where the demands on this sort of gear are bloody serious, so I like how all that expertise is moving into our world. I think of some of the not remotely cheap wading jackets that I have worn over the years and therefore I reckon yes, this Guy Cotten Efficient C130 Smock is good value for money - it just works in the sort of no fuss and unnecessary frills way that Guy Cotten seems to be known for. I really like how light and packable it is, and in colder weather I simply layer up underneath it as I would with any other waterproof top. This is a serious waterproof fishing smock that I can see myself wearing a hell of a lot - and with wearing a smock or a jacket and getting used to the idiosyncrasies of each, I do find myself getting more and more used to the way the neck area secures around me.
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