Fly Fishing Clothing in Review

Fly Fishing Clothing in Review

Trends, Style or Functionality?

When did fishing become a fashion contest? The last time I checked the fish didn’t care what I was wearing!

The real questions is, “Were you fishing when it was too cold, windy, hot, snowy, rainy, or the water was too high?”

There are no doubt some serious prima donnas in fly fishing that I often think are more serious about making a fashion statement than actually bending a rod. In reality, it’s not just fly fishing, its every sport. Have you hit the slopes yet this year?

What it comes down to is  not just wearing “pieces of flair” but rather, functional fly fishing clothing and outerwear that coincidentally looks really sharp!  First and foremost, products that keep you fishing longer and more comfortably in any weather.  Simply put, there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing. Here are a few things I look for in clothing and some winners that I have really come to appreciate.

Choosing Quality Fly Fishing Clothing

1. Versatility
The first thing I look for is versatile clothing that lasts.  I like clothing that can be worn year round for fishing, working out, or doing yard work.  I  like the light weight, quick dry clothing that offers sun protection, stays cool, and can be worn as a base layer during the winter.  The Simms Solarflex Shirt is my favorite under this criteria.
Simms Solarflex Shirt

  • UPF 30 sun protection
  • COR3™ technology offers excellent wicking & anti-odor performance
  • Exceptionally light, soft, stretch-knit 100% Polyester fabric for comfort and mobility
  • Flat seam construction for maximum comfort
  • Raglan sleeve design for unrestricted movement
  • Crew neck design with higher back collar for ultimate sun protection
  • No-scratch inner label
  • Reflective Simms logo

2. Functionality
How clothing is meant to function is also important.  If I am wade fishing, I like pockets.  If the conditions warrant it, nothing beats the G3 Guide Jacket.  It can hold as many fly boxes and other gear as any conventional vest I have ever seen.  On sunny warm days, I prefer a lightweight tech shirts with readily accessible pockets for floatant, split shot, a spool of tippet or whatever you don’t want to go digging through your pack to find every time you must make an adjustment. The absolute best, lightweight, functional bang for the bug tech shirt is the Simms EbbTide Fly Fishing Shirt. At $49.95 you won’t find a better fly fishing shirt anywhere.

Simms EbbTide Shirt

  • UPF 50 sun protection
  • Lightweight 100% Polyester ripstop fabric – breathable and quick-dry
  • New back venting design for improved ventilation and range of motion
  • 2 Fly box compatible chest pockets with hook & loop closure
  • Accessory loop inside chest pocket
  • Off-shoulder seams for added comfort
  • Features Simms Sun Cuff design – lengthens the sleeve to come over the back of the hand and provide greater sun protection

3. Made for the Elements
As a guide, I’ve seen a lot of bad clothing make what could have been an epic day a little less enjoyable for those not prepared.  Nasty weather and amazing fishing is not a myth. Being on the water everyday in Wyoming during early spring, makes you appreciate quality outerwear in a hurry.  For me, it’s a combination of three layers that have kept me comfortable in rain, wind, snow from temps of 0 degrees on up to 50 degrees.  As a baselayer I go with either the Simms Rivertek Top or the Solarflex Shirt depending on how nasty it is supposed to be.  Over this, I have come to love the Windstopper Softshell Jacket or the Guide Fleece Top depending on the wind conditions.  As my final outerwear layer, the Simms G3 Guide Jacket is built for anything Mother Nature can bring.  When I wear this jacket, I almost get excited when it starts to rain, snow or blow!  For the lower half, the Simms Cold Weather Pant is great in the dirftboat or underneath waders when you are wading. These layers working together will not weigh you down, and still keep you warm in any weather situation you can encounter.

Simms Windstopper Soft Shell

  • WINDSTOPPER® Softshell fabric offers total windproofness and maximum breathability
  • A combination of the comfort of a soft mid-layer and the water resistance of a shell in one garment
  • New Raglan sleeve improves fit and range of motion
  • Low-profile zippered chest and hand warmer pockets
  • Adjustable neck and collar offers greater protection from the elements
  • Audio cord system for iPod®/phone compatibility

4. Style

It’s nice to have a few clothing options that softly say, “I fish” can still be worn on the water , and you can get away with at the office or on a date with the significant other.  There are certainly some VERY hokey fly fishing shirts out there that I would not be caught dead wearing and a few that I’ve really come to like.  My two winners of 2012 are the Simms Big Sky Long Sleeve Shirt (coal is the best color) and the Simms Bugblocker shirt (which actually does keep the bugs away!)

Simms Big Sky Long Sleeve Shirt

  • 100% Performance Cotton with EZ finish
  • Back yoke venting
  • Western-style pearl snaps
  • 2 Fly box compatible chest pockets with hook & loop closure and faux pearl snap
  • Accessory loop & internal license pocket
  • Sunglasses storage opening in left chest pocket
  • Shirt tail hem

If you want to get a better feel for all the clothing options available, be sure to come see us and we’ll be happy to help you find something right for you!

It’s time to nail down your 2024 fly fishing trip with Minturn Anglers.

About the Author

Justin Nolan

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