Tactical, the long & short of it
A few months back, I received a care package from AFTCO that, included a pair of their ‘Tactical Fishing Shorts, Style ‘M82’ I’ve been so impressed with these well- made shorts, I felt compelled to write up a review after putting them through their paces.
I never gave too much thought to the term ‘fishing shorts’, resolving to myself that it was essentially a pair of surf trunks with a pocket sewn on the side to accommodate a pair of pliers. But over the course of the last decade or so, the textile industry has produced some incredible materials and fabrics, allowing companies like AFTCO to offer a truly ‘functional’ line of fishing shorts in their line up. One of the first things I noticed about the Tactical Short was the significance of the ‘AFLEX 2-Way Stretch’ material. If you haven’t had a pair of shorts that feature a stretchable fabric, you really owe it to yourself to try them. AFTCO has nailed it with ‘AFLEX’.
Although the material is light in weight, it is very durable, and extremely strong. The fabric offers the right amount of ‘give’ and freedom to do things like kneeling down to grab a fish, climbing in or out of the boat, up a tower, or any other activity you may take on. I’ve been very impressed at how well the material has held it’s sizing, showing zero sign of ‘stretching out’. The waist-band incorporates AFLEX material as well, so when you’re purchasing the shorts, don’t be too concerned if you happen to put on a few pounds . . . they’ll still fit. If you lose a few ponds, there are belt loops as well ! Little things, like the top waist button which is actually laced on a narrow strap of nylon. The button moves freely with the ‘Aflex‘ material, and doesn’t dig into your gut when crouching down, while still offering a secure closure. The cut of the shorts is ‘fuller’ but not baggy, making them perfect for any activity, either on or off the water.
Being made of 95% poly and 5% Elastene, these shorts dry really fast. If you happen to get splashed at the bait tank or live well, or take a soaking in some snotty seas, you’ll be dry in a very short time. Because of their ‘breathability’, the shorts also do not hold on to odors as much as ‘conventional materials, and any blood or stains come out very easily. You won’t have to use any stain remover on these shorts.
For many guys, the cut and length, are 2 key factors when selecting a pair of shorts. The ‘Tactical Board short’ comes just past my knee which is perfect for myself. If my shorts are too long, I tend to get ‘straight-jacketed’ when kneeling down, and if they are too short, they ‘ride up’ when sitting down in a moving boat. Kudos to AFTCO for getting the length just right.
The pockets on the ‘Tactical shorts are laid out remarkably well. I’ll be honest, my first impression was that they’d be like a pair of ‘cargo shorts’ (who uses all those pockets anyways)? With the use of the light weight fabric, the pockets just seem to disappear until you need them, then they are right where you need them to be ! Some of the details I like about the pockets are the use of velcro, as opposed to zippers, that can often clog-up or corrode in saltwater. The right amount of velcro is used keeping the pocket closed and secure, but not so much that you have to ‘peel open’ your pocket each time you need something. There are ‘drain holes’ in all the front pockets, with the re-enforced plier-pocket drain holes fitted with ‘Aftco’ branded rivet holes . . . another nice touch. If you happen to go for a swim, in your Tactical shorts, your pockets wont ‘balloon out’ with water when it’s time to get out.
The AFTCO Tactical shorts are offered in Grey, Green, and Blue camo patterns. A marlin silhouette is incorporated within the camo pattern, and it really blends in well, not standing out at all, until you look for it. The AFTCO branding is subtle, yet well placed and very thought out. There is a hit on the top of the left leg pocket, as well as a vertical placement at the bottom of the right front leg.
The AFTCO M82 Tactical Fishing Shorts are truly a great piece of ‘equipment’ that can also be worn in your day to day activities and looking sharp doing them. They are feature-packed, but cleanly get the job done and will serve you well for many years to come. Great Job Aftco !