It goes without saying that you should always have a good fishing jacket on hand when you’re out in the elements tangling with our fishy friends. It can make or break a day when the wind gets up, an unexpected squall rolls through, or you leave the house knowing full well it’s going to be a downpour kind of day.
A good fishing jacket has three simple characteristics; waterproof, breathable, and packable; these are the non-negotiables. So the real question is just how much of each feature do you really need for the type of fishing conditions you’re likely to find yourself in most of the time?
Not everyone needs the full protection of a three-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell day in and day out, but at the other end of the scale that lightweight windbreaker might be great for summertime hit outs but not so much when you’re standing waist-deep in a river as the dark clouds roll in.
THE 2022 LINEUP OF SIMMS FISHING JACKETS
We’ll always say that a Gore-Tex shell jacket is best for any and all conditions, and for good reason; they’re easy to clean, simple to repair, and will last a lifetime if you look after them; but there are plenty of Simms fishing jacket solutions worth looking at for your specific needs and budget. We’ll run through the range of shell jacket options from top to bottom and you can decide which one (or two) fits your individual requirements best.
SIMMS PRODRY JACKET - $1199.99
WHO IT’S FOR: Salty characters, weather deniers, and gear geeks
This is the jacket to end all jackets. Three-layer Gore-Tex Pro Shell means you get best-in-class breathability, a tough barrier layer that keeps moisture and wind out, and a fully loaded, feature-laden shell that has every want and need of the professional fisherman considered. That’s why it’s called ProDry.
If you spend a lot of time on the salt then you’ll know the limitations of a classic PVC jacket so when skippers like Tony Orton of Journey Of A Fisherman and Eddie Lawler of Peak Sportfishing are switching to ProDry you know it’s good.
SIMMS G4 PRO JACKET - $999.99
WHO IT’S FOR: Backcountry adventurers, light and fast freaks, and multi-use maniacs
The Simms G4 Pro Jacket is the high-end freshwater shell jacket most used in our guiding community. Mike Kirkpatrick of Latitude Guiding is a fan so that’s saying something about the utility of this shell in the most extreme of NZ backcountry fishing environments, and the G4 Pro has saved Matt Tripet’s bacon in the Snowy’s.
Again, the three-layer Gore-Tex shell Pro shell is the bee's knees in fabric performance, spend a few hours hiking in this jacket and you’ll be amazed at its moisture-wicking ability
The slightly longer fit and dialed back pocketing means this is not “just a fishing jacket” and will be just as at home out hunting, on the boat, and on the sidelines at the footy field.
SIMMS G3 GUIDE WADING JACKET - $949.99
WHO IT’S FOR: Fly fishing guides, everyman anglers, and deep wading dynamos
Again, we have a Gore-Tex three-layer shell jacket, so you already know what’s up. Where does the G3 Guide Wading jacket fit in the mix? This is your core fly fishing jacket that’s full of handy features and pocketing, and designed with a slighter shorter cut for spending more time in the river and in waders. A more “front country” themed jacket, the G3 Guide is a classic wading jacket turned up to 11.
SIMMS FLYWEIGHT SHELL JACKET - $599.99
WHO IT’S FOR: High-end minimalists, weather watchers, and space savers
The Simms Flyweight jacket is just that, super lightweight and definitely fly. Made using the legendary Gore-Tex Paclite fabric, the Flyweight still has the excellent breathability and wind/water protection of the three-layer jackets but without the super hard-wearing exterior. The result of this is an extremely lightweight, packable, grab-and-go jacket for changeable summer and autumn weather conditions.
SIMMS CHALLENGER JACKET - $499.99
WHO IT’S FOR: ProDry guys on a budget, canal crushers, and conventional anglers
The Simms Challenger jacket uses the high-end Japanese Toray breathable and waterproof fabric which has long been a staple material in a lot of Simms products. So you know it’s very good. If you’re looking for a Gore-like jacket but are happy to slightly compromise on top-end performance then the Toray built products are amazing value for money.
The Challenger jacket has a similar cut and build as the ProDry, so saltwater anglers are well catered for, but the more extreme freshwater environs like winter canals and stillwater is where the Challenger also shines.
SIMMS FREESTONE JACKET - $599.99
WHO IT’S FOR: Everyone
Price accessible and does what a good jacket should. The Freestone jacket uses a three-layer Toray breathable fabric with a couple of bells and whistles to create a tough shell that just does what it’s supposed to, which is keep you dry and protected from the wind.
When we say this jacket is for everyone we mean it. This might be your primary fishing jacket, your backup shell, or your daily driver – the Simms Freestone jacket is a real winner.
SIMMS WAYPOINTS JACKET - $249.99
WHO IT’S FOR: Fairweather fisherman, strategic planners, and bargain hunters
Try and find a better jacket for the money. Go on, we’ll wait. The Waypoints jacket is suited to those who don’t spend a lot of time in crappy weather but like to have a good jacket on hand just in case things get a little spicy. The 2.5 layer Toray fabric will get the job done in a wide range of conditions, is friendly to the bank account, and looks really, really good.
SIMMS FASTCAST WINDSHELL - $149.99
WHO IT’S FOR: Wind haters, sun seekers, and good lookers
So the name of this jacket is a dead giveaway as to its functionality. Sure, it’ll withstand a quick sunshower or two but the real utility is for beating the wind. Perfect for chucking on when you’ve got that long steam back to the boat ramp, or when the wind chill starts to bite but the sun is still out. And it packs down crazy small so you can take it with you anywhere and everywhere. A very handy piece of kit!
So that’s the lineup of Simms shell jackets. We think there’s something in there for everyone's specific needs plus a few models that cover lots of bases.
It all comes down to if you’re a single solution type of person, or like to have a few options at your disposal – either way you’re definitely not short on fishing jacket options from Simms.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Tailing loops, bad knots, and trout strikes on kingfish are part of Chris Sharland's ever-growing repertoire of fly fishing skills. Thankfully he makes up for it by being ok at some other stuff that we find useful from time to time.