Great gear for winter angling.
Anybody who has ever suffered a cold fishing day in a pair of leaky waders will be quick to agree; it's no fun. Winter is the prime time for trophy trout and the days following the harshest blasts from the north are often the best. Trouble is, when the water temperature dips into the 50s and the high for the day only reaches the 40s, hooking and landing that trophy means being able to endure inclement conditions until that trophy decides it's time to eat. None of us are supermen and the discomfort, if not the very real threat of hypothermia, means we need the best gear available.
The grey in my beard tells you that my experience with waders began way before the products we know and trust today were even dreamed of, let alone available. I remember all too well shivering in leaky rubber bootfoot waders that never wanted to stay on my feet in sticky mud. We tried everything to stop them leaking and slipping off our feet. I can remember patching new leaks at lunch time and my dad even devised a set of boot straps we'd fasten around our ankles to address the mud-sticking problem. But to be honest, none of this worked all that well.
The dawning of the neoprene age came like a godsend to wintertime wader wearers but only with partial relief. Any amount of exertion in neoprene left us as damp inside as if the darn things leaked. Then came breathables and we were all hot to trot; trouble was the early offerings just flat lacked durability and the number of truly dry trips might be counted on one hand before they took on the qualities of a sieve.
Seven years ago I purchased my first pair of Simms stockingfoot breathable waders. I thought I died and went to Heaven. I wore those waders for countless days in my fishing and waterfowl guiding endeavors, sometimes every day for weeks on end. After several years, you guessed it, they finally got a bit leaky and I decided it was time for a new pair. But with the end of wader season approaching I toughed it out and, in my normal procrastinating fashion, hung them in the closet and forgot about the leaks.
About midsummer that year, Chris Phillips at Fishing Tackle Unlimited was unpacking a shipment from Simms and I told him I was due for another pair and Chris inquired about my old ones. "Send them back," he said, "Simms has an excellent service department and unless they are beyond repair you'll get 'em back good as new." Well, long story short, I did, and they did. Three more years of service has finally helped me decide I shouldn't push my luck, so I began this year in a brand-spanking new pair of Simms G4Z waders.
I haven't figured out which of the many features I like best; the zippered front makes them easy on and off and easier to answer Nature's call, the front and back leg seams offer greater range of leg motion without binding, the handwarmer pockets are really cool, and the anatomically correct booties offer "house slipper" comfort. Best of all I think I like the fact that they are the most comfortable wader I've ever worn and the fact that they are the only brand made right here in the good ol' USA in Bozeman, Montana just puts icing on the cake. Check them out at www.simmsfishingproducts.com for a full rundown of features along with other styles available.
Simms dealers in Texas
Angler's Edge 5000 Westheimer Houston
Backwoods Equipment Ft. Worth
Cabela's Buda and Ft. Worth
Fishing Tackle Unlimited/Cut Rate two locations in Houston
The Tackle Box Victoria
Gruene Outfitters New Braunfels
Living Waters Fly Fishing Round Rock