The fact that Florida’s Terry “Big Show” Scroggins racked-up another Top 10 finish on the St. Johns River during the first Bassmaster Elite Series tournament of 2016 was no great surprise – but the fact that he chose to wear a lifejacket designed for kayakers during the $100,000 competition certainly caught the attention of fans and media who lined the dock in his hometown of Palatka before morning launch.
“I’ve always had more trust in a traditional fishing vest style of life jacket than the inflatable type, but I never liked the bulkiness of a vest style, and the way it rides up on your neck when you’re running down the lake,” says Scroggins.
“I was walking through the Gander Mountain store in Saint Augustine back in December, killin’ time while my girlfriend shopped, when I spotted this kayak lifejacket, and I thought “heck, that’d be the perfect combination between a vest style lifejacket and the newer style of inflatable SOSpenders”,” says Scroggins.
Knowing his reputation for spontaneous purchases – Scroggins recount of the story brings a grin, but for him it’s a serious satisfaction to a longtime frustration tied to his daily wardrobe as a pro bass angler. Not to mention, that drowning is the single biggest cause of death in boating accidents, and 80% of the casualties were not wearing life jackets when found.
“I also like the fact that because the kayak style isn’t bulky in the shoulder area, your arms have a greater range of motion,” adds Scroggins.
Scroggins doesn’t wear it while actually fishing – but he’s as happy as a bed of St. Johns River clams, and a few thousand dollars more comfortable as a result of yet another top tournament finish while wearing his unique new life jacket.