I am not going to try and justify using a pair of Simms G4 Pro waders for a lot of my work and fishing these days, indeed the thought of wearing a pair of waders that cost what these ones do is most likely going to cause many people to wonder what on earth the world is coming to, but at the end of the day it's all about personal choice. For years now I have been of the opinion that a decent pair of lightweight (breathable ?) chest waders are as important to me as a decent rod and reel, and please also bear in mind that my waders also get used as a working tool alongside my camera gear on "purely" photography jobs like the one I did out in Canada recently (see some photos here).
Up until I met and started doing stuff with Nick Hart many years ago now I had never even seen or heard of these lightweight chest waders that the fly guys wear with wading boots. If I wore chesties back then it was either neoprene or some other PVC kind of material that makes you sweat like a pig, but through spending time with Nick I came across waders from the fly fishing world, and they made perfect sense to me almost straight away. From memory I am pretty sure I made various programmes from my second TV series wearing lightweight chest waders, indeed when I first started wearing them out shore fishing I can still remember other anglers looking at me like I was mad when I went wandering out into the sea to land a fish. "Why's he not getting wet ?" or "Does he think he can walk on water now ?". Via the various consultancy jobs I have done within the tackle trade I have worn fly fishing/lightweight waders and wading boots from Scierra, Ron Thompson, Greys, Hardy and now Redington. Aside from trashing numerous pairs of wading boots (some much faster than others), I have never really had major problems with any of the various waders. Sure, some last better than others, and some are more comfortable to wear, but I don't tend to walk through a lot of brambles like many of the fly guys do so I'm not getting those infernal pin-prick leaks, and if I rip a pair of waders on the rocks (my fault entirely) then it's usually pretty obvious with cold water suddenly pouring in. So I reckon I have a fair bit of experience now with the kinds of waders that I am seeing more and more lure anglers out and about in.
But I have never, ever worn a pair of breathable chest waders that are as good as these Simms G4 Pro ones. Holy cow. I know all about how good Simms are at making fly fishing clothing, indeed it would be fair to say that they are at the top of the tree in their field. Aside from a few pairs of Patagonia waders and wading boots, virtually every single cold water guide I have ever worked with anywhere on this earth wears Simms G3 or G4 waders. It's interesting to note that when being out and about on the (cold) water is your job that the guides for the most part turn to Simms. Granted, most of them I assume would be on the Simms guide programme, but that still means they have to pay a certain amount for their gear - and Simms stuff ain't cheap as you will find out if you go looking around. But the best stuff is always going to cost............
I went for the Simms G4 Pro waders over the slightly "cheaper" G3 ones as I personally wanted that extra bit of protection up around my (ample) backside area, but I know plenty of lure and fly anglers who are doing just perfectly with the G3 waders. For some time I held back on getting a pair of high-end Simms waders because I (stupidly) assumed that the heavier-feel material they use on the waders had to surely mean that they could not possibly "breathe", and that they surely had to be a bit cumbersome to wear for moving around a lot. Talk about being way off the mark Henry !! How wrong I was. In no way am I saying here that you should all rush out and blow serious wedge on a pair of Simms waders - all I can do is tell you what I am using and if it works for me, and no other pair of waders I have ever used have come close to these Simms ones. Seriously. I have worn them for most of the year so far and I like them more and more.
But why ? Those much, much cheaper Redington waders I reviewed the other day work just fine for fishing, as indeed do the more expensive Greys Platinum ones for example. But the Simms are in a different universe. Firstly, I have never worn a pair of waders that are cut so well, and I mean really tailored if you like, to actually fit your body and how you move around. The neoprene sock is actually like a sock instead of a balloon, and so far the neoprene gravel guards on my Simms look as good as on the first day I used them. I can't say to you that these mere factors justify the cost of a pair of waders like these, but at the end of the day you'll spend what you can or want to, and I can't tell how "right" it feels when I wear, fish and photograph in these G4 Pro waders. Perhaps it's as simple as that.
But what about the material the waders are made from ? I am assuming here that "5-layer and 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro Shell fabric technology" does not come cheap for starters. I have never used a pair of chest waders that feel as tough and robust as these ones, and as I alluded to the other day in my blog post here, these Simms G4 waders have now opened my eyes up to what a pair of "breathable" chest waders actually are - in that they "breathe". Depending on the weather I am wearing either those Cold Gear or Heat Gear leggings from Under Armour and everything now seems to work really well together. I have worn these Simms G4 Pro waders in warm and cold weather, and while I did think that perhaps I would end up overheating in them when the weather is warm (ok, not that often this year !!), again I could not have been more wrong. Look, they are what they are and they cost what they cost. I can't imagine that loads of saltwater anglers are going to rush out and spend potentially north of £500 on a pair of waders, but to me these Simms G4 waders are worth every single penny when compared to the other waders that I have experience of. Like with a new rod, it does not suddenly mean that all "lesser" waders are suddenly not worth using, but a pair of waders are as important to me as a rod and a reel. I firmly believe that with these Simms you are getting what you pay for - pure, unadulterated class, and that level of class is always going to cost........
I have put a photo gallery up on this website from my recent trip over to Kerry and the Copper Coast in Ireland - check here. As you might have guessed, I have a serious thing for photographing bass fishing !!