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Saving Lives For A Living

Mustang PFDs put through paces at ICAST product party

Mike McClelland floats in the Rosen Plaza pool showing how the Mustang PFD works. (Mike Suchan photo) Mike McClelland floats in the Rosen Plaza pool showing how the Mustang PFD works. (Mike Suchan photo)

By: Mike Suchan, OutdoorChannel.com

ORLANDO, Fla. – Mike McClelland had to have known he was going in the drink. Why else would the pro angler have been in shorts, T-shirt and sandals?

During ICAST, companies invite media to get-togethers to show off new products. McClelland, fellow Bassmaster Elite Series angler Chris Lane and “Facts of Fishing” host Dave Mercer had the starring roles in Mustang Survival’s fete at Rosen Plaza Hotel.

Their mission was to show the new features of Mustang’s PFDs and to promote use, especially among youth. The company’s motto was often repeated by emcee Mercer -- “We save lives for a living.”

“I get to travel all around the world in search of fish,” Mercer said. “No matter what I’m fishing for, there’s one piece of equipment that I never leave the dock without -- my Mustang Survival PFD. It gives me the confidence to know I’ll be safe no matter what conditions I face.”

Those three, along with Mustang personnel, stood in front of a crowd of about 40 explaining the latest features of the Mustang’s award-winning products. Lane spoke of the comfort of the Deluxe model worn by most of his fellow pros.

Straws; Pro anglers Mike McClelland (right) and Chris Lane react after Dave Mercer announced who would demonstrate their PFD. (Mike Suchan photo)
Straws; Pro anglers Mike McClelland (right) and Chris Lane react after Dave Mercer announced who would demonstrate their PFD. (Mike Suchan photo)

“I can wear it while running and then stop to fish and not even realize I’m wearing it. You can forget that you even have it on,” said Lane, who through his partnership with Mustang is giving PFDs to all attendees at his 8th annual “Reeling in Future Pros” kids camp this week. “When we’re out there, safety is No. 1.”

McClelland talked about the new breathable materials and straps that won’t flap when you’re running 70 mph. He also spoke about the importance of getting kids to wear PFDs.

“You know how tough it can be to get those youngsters to put a life jacket on and keep it on,” he said. “With the comfort and breathability that the Little Legend series has, it’s no doubt you all are going to be happy.”

McClelland’s happiness quickly turned, as he drew short straw to demonstrate how a Mustang PFD automatically inflates under 4 inches of water. McClelland put his hands over his face when Mercer announced he lost to Lane, who cheered and clapped. It appeared Lane, wearing jeans and boots, was the unlikely candidate anyway.

Mike McClelland jumps into the Rosen Plaza Hotel pool to show how the Mustang inflates automatically. (Mike Suchan photo)
Mike McClelland jumps into the Rosen Plaza Hotel pool to show how the Mustang inflates automatically. (Mike Suchan photo)

Mercer then gave McClelland a 10-second countdown to jump into the Rosen Plaza pool. He threw down his wallet, keys and phone, ran about 30 yards and flew feet first into the water. The bright yellow bladders were filled immediately as Mustang’s Hydrostatic Inflator Technology (HIT) worked flawlessly.

McClelland floated there awhile as media took photos and visitors gawked incredulously at what just happened.

Inside, Mustang had displays for its visitors, who were asked to visit each for a chance to win a Ipad mini. The first was a scale to show how little the PFDs weigh – about the same as a Coke and candy bar.

A giant fan, which was also used as a photo op as visitors could dress up with hats and boas, showed how little wind will affect their PFD on a wearer.

“These PFDs are not like the bulky, old school life jackets we all had to wear years ago,” Mercer said. “They’re lightweight and Coast Guard approved. I wear it all day and every day.”

Click here for videos, stories and photos from ICAST 2014.

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