The 2020 Fly Fishing Film Tour Goes Digital

Get your ticket today for the Special Virtual Release!

That’s right folks, the greatest selection of fly fishing films is about to go live online. For one week only, starting on August 27th the good people over at the F3T have decided to release a special edition of the 2020 Fly Fishing Film Tour, available to stream entirely online! While we can’t all get together in a theater to cheer, raise a beer with friends and enjoy epic fishing footage, we can still gather from afar.  The online version will include special content, more prizes than you can shake your phone at, and stoke- lots and lots of stoke. This is going to be just like your usual F3T event, just from your couch. So join us for the first-ever Virtual Fly Fishing Film Tour between August 27th to September 2nd!

Featuring exclusive shorts from our friends coast to coast, and beyond, the 2020 F3T will tell the stories of everything from fishing guide fairytales, to serial steelhead semantics, canyon conservation in Colorado, mountain biking for marlin, jumping jaguars and jungle fish in whitewater rapids and the audacious Aussies who explore the largest coastline in the world. From saltwater to fresh, this year’s film will undoubtedly get you fired up to grab a rod and get out on the water!!!

The Details:

This is for one week only! From August 27th through September 2nd, you will be able to purchase a digital ticket, which will allow you to watch the 2020 F3T for one week after purchase. Once you have purchased your ticket you will have access to a special 10 minute waiting room video before the event begins! If you watch the entire wading room video, you will have an opportunity to put your name into the raffle prize drawing twice. This is a special offer.

As far as prizes are concerned, there are more than ever before! Because this is such a special occasion, the team at F3T wants to hook you up. With your ticket purchase, you will be entered to win over 50 different sponsor items, totaling to upwards of $50,000! There will be 8 Dry Creek Z Backpacks given away, a Men’s G4/Womens G3 prize package raffled off, as well as prizes from Yeti, Costa, Thomas & Thomas Rods, Scientific Anglers, Ross Reels, Oscar Blues Brewing Company; you will even have a chance to win a trip to the Seychelles courtesy of Yellowdog Fly Fishing Company & Alphonse Fishing Company. Everyone that wins a prize will also receive a free membership to Trout Unlimited.

In addition to the 2020 films, F3T will also be announcing some free content that comes along with your purchase. You won’t be disappointed.

If you choose to purchase your ticket to a national tour event, a limited number of F3T hats and buffs will be available for you to pick up from the fly shops listed on the event page. You can also find links on these pages to support raffles or donate to local conservation and non-profit groups.

To learn more, make sure you head over to the Fly Fishing Film Tour website to learn more about this one-time virtual event. There, you can see all of the film trailers, find out more about how to access the films, and see all the other great prizes on offer. Also, make sure to follow along with their social channel for updates throughout the virtual week- @flyfishingfilmtour.

Simms Signs the Outdoor CEO Pledge

Simms is proud to announce that our CEO, Casey Sheahan, has signed the Outdoor CEO Pledge – an initiative launched through the In Solidarity Project. The Pledge’s goal is to bring the outdoor industry together to help improve representation and access for underrepresented communities across the country, an initiative Simms is firmly invested in. 

As a company committed to conservation, clean water and equal representation, having diversity in our sport is essential for creating more advocates for our natural resources. Let’s move the industry forward collectively.

To better understand what the Outdoor CEO Pledge is all about and what is expected from Simms, check out the interview below with Teresa Baker, the Founder of the In Solidarity Project and the Outdoor CEO Pledge. She sheds light on the origins of the movement, what brands are expected to do after signing, and so much more.

SIMMS: Why don’t we start at the beginning. Can you please tell us who you are what you do?

Teresa: I’m Teresa Baker, and I founded the Outdoor CEO Diversity Pledge back in January of 2018, and launched it at the summer OR show that very same year. The purpose of the pledge is to simply engage with outdoor brands and help them with the work of inclusion in their marketing and social media campaigns as well as their hiring practices. 

SIMMS: What was the inspiration back in 2018 to launch the CEO Diversity Pledge? Were you working in the space prior to launching the pledge? How did this all begin for you?

Teresa: Most things that I do are prompted by me being pissed off and angry. I don’t try and hide that from people. So this initiative was born out of frustration. I was taking to social media, especially Instagram, and not seeing anyone that looked like me on the various outdoor brands’ platforms. I wasn’t seeing people of color, and that was frustrating. I thought, ‘let me start reaching out to some of these brands and make them aware that they need to do better.’ That was the purpose behind me creating the pledge. 

I felt like that we could give a space for brands and retailers to do better. Once we started having those conversations, it became clear that yeah, there’s an issue. It’s not to say that things have changed dramatically over 2 years because they haven’t, but things have started to change and that’s good. People are having these conversations, I’m seeing more representation across social media platforms, and that’s awesome to see. 

SIMMS: We are roughly 2 years in the lifespan of the pledge- how’s it been going so far?

Teresa: Busy as hell lately. I would say for the first year of the pledge, it was us reaching out to everyone, making sure they were aware of the pledge. We spent lots of time walking the floor of the retailer shows, speaking to heads of marketing and doing a bunch of outreach on our behalf. It was challenging in the beginning. In saying that, 2020 has been amazing. People have continuously reached out to us and asked for help with their attempt of taking on this work of DEI. In the past 2 months alone, I think we’ve signed on 85 new brands, so its super busy at the moment. 

Some of the industries like cycling and fishing were the hardest to reach. Cycling is still hard. I believe angling is starting to come around, and that’s a good sign. 

SIMMS: If cycling and fishing were two of the hardest industries to break into, what were some of the easier activities to break into?

Teresa: The hiking and the climbing community were definitely the easiest. The misconception out there is that people of color “don’t.” They don’t hike, don’t climb, don’t ski, don’t cycle, or are not fishing. It’s easy to do away with those perceptions when brands show us doing those things. 

As you can imagine, it’s easy to show people hiking. Even if it was just down a straight trail, that’s easy to find. Wherever you go, there’s a hiking trail. Fishing on the other hand, there has to be water around. You have to actually get out and seek those images. So, it’s a matter of getting out there and reaching out to these underrepresented communities and saying ‘hey we want to work with you on some of these campaigns, can we tag along on your next outing.’ For me it has always been that simple. But that message wasn’t getting to marketing directors like it is now. 

SIMMS: What are your thoughts about the fishing community in regard to taking on inclusion and diversity? 

Teresa: You know it’s funny, growing up, fishing is all my dad did. He had a boat and he would go fishing almost every weekend. Fishing was never uncommon to me, I just don’t like it. My point is that it’s not a matter of people of color not being out there fishing- we always been fishing. I think the difference now is that we see the importance of sharing these stories and sharing these images of us doing that so that it does become common place. 

For those of us that work on matters of diversity and inclusion, getting the word out to other people saying ‘hey show us your photos, share them on social media, tag this brand, you know include this hashtag so that we become more visible.’ So I think it’s a matter of us making ourselves more visible.

SIMMS: Sitting here today, it is an absolute no brainer to get on board and support the In Solidarity initiative. Was there any push back from brands when you first started? Were people saying no to you?

Teresa: It wasn’t a matter of people saying no, it was just a matter of people not returning my emails or calls. I guess in a way that’s a no, but I think people see this. I have way too much faith in humanity to say they don’t see the problem. People see the problem. I think the concern is that brands want to be certain in how they address the problem. They don’t want to make mistakes, they want to get it right. What I try and get across to people is to not let that be your focus- you’re going to make mistakes, you’re going to get it wrong. What we need to do is give people the opportunity to try, fail, then try again. And that is the message we have and are still trying to get out into the industry so that people don’t feel so pressured to get it right all the time. 

SIMMS: As far as the pledge itself is concerned, what does the relationship look like after a brand signs. What are brands expected to do once they sign? Can you give us a quick rundown of what happens once someone signs?

Teresa: Sure. What we want to get across to people is that we can give you the tools, but you must do the work. We can’t do the work for you. We can’t write out a game plan and say ‘here follow these steps and you’ll be successful.’ Brands have to have skin in the game from the CEO, which is why its called the CEO pledge. The CEO does not need to take the lead but he or she must be involved in this work. Once they sign the pledge, we say ‘okay- ready, set, go!’ Get out there and talk to your marketing director, come up with a game plan and look at how other signatorees are going about doing this work. follow their lead, follow their example. You don’t have to recreate the wheel. 

For me, the easiest part of the pledge is the visibility part of it. Show more images of color across your social media platforms. Chris Perkins, who works with me on the pledge, thought that putting up a pretty picture was way too easy and we needed to add other elements. So we also look at the hiring process. I believe companies need to advertise in spaces that reach a wider range of candidates and not continue to post in your usual places because you’re constantly reaching the same candidates over and over again. Next, we look at the ambassador team. We want to make sure that your ambassadors are from diverse backgrounds. The fourth component is simply working with other pledge signatorees. To show that as a collective, you’re doing this work. Work with one another to come up with a plan. So those are basically the 4 elements.

SIMMS: You mentioned the job board, which we think is an extremely valuable component of your initiative. Could you give us a bit of background on the start of the job board and how its speaking to a different audience base than your typical job boards?

Teresa: The Insolidarity website is where the pledge and the job board are housed. When we first started in 2018, the pledge was housed on the website of diversify outdoors because we didn’t know how well the pledge was going to do so we didn’t really see a need to create a webpage behind it. Brands started to constantly reach out saying where can we post about jobs. So, 3 months ago Brian from the outbound collective reached out and said let me build a website for the pledge and the job board, so we created the In Solidarity website. That way they can reach communities of color, communities with disabilities, the LGBTQ community, so it’s a wider range, a wider reach that this job board provides. 

SIMMS: Have people been finding jobs through it?

Teresa: Yes. I get emails all the time from people thanking us for providing this service to them. And that’s basically what it is- its providing a service so that people will know, if we post here we will have a better chance of reaching a more diverse pool of candidates if that is indeed what they are looking to do. We’ve gotten tons from people that have applied for those jobs, so yeah, its definitely working. 

SIMMS: Where do you see this going in a year from now? How about 3 years from now? What’s your outlook on this whole situation?

Teresa: Over the next year or two I want to pledge to continue to grow. I want people to see how positive of a resource it is. It can connect so many companies with DEI agents across the country. Under our community tab were building a database of DEI agents and creatives across all of outdoors- be it hiking, skiing, whatever it is. These are all amazing people who can help do this work of DEI. 

In 3 years I hope to do away with the pledge. I don’t want the pledge to be around forever. When they look for ambassadors, they automatically include people from underrepresented communities. When they hire, they automatically seek out diverse candidates. Whatever aspects of business they’re in, I want the role of the pledge to just be automatic and there not need for a pledge or to sign onto a pledge. In 3 years I’d like to do away with the pledge.

SIMMS: We’ve spent a lot of time talking about what is being done on a brand level. As Simms, we signed the pledge and are taking steps to make changes in our organization. What do you think the average outdoorsmen can do to help with the diversity issue? It’s all well and good for a company to say and do something, but for the millions of individual recreationalists out there, what do they do?

Teresa: As a consumer, if I see a certain brand and I’ve grown accustomed to using, and at some point I start to notice something that could possibly help them, I am going to reach out to that brand. For someone who enjoys fishing and understands the importance of conservation or the protection of outdoors spaces- if they see that certain individuals are not represented equally- I would certainly reach out and say hey this work can definitely use more X, Y, Z. You fill in the blank. More women, more people of color, more people with disabilities. So that would be my ask of the public. These are some issues that we are facing around environmental protection and in order to bring more people to the table, look at who you are missing from the conversation. And when you see who’s missing encourage these brands that you use to be more inclusive of them. 

SIMMS: Is there anything else you’d like to say to the Simms audience?

Teresa: I think what’s important is that you guys use your voice. You know, we get reached out to all the time from publications and what not asking for interviews and I’m like sure, but what say you? What do you all think? The brands, the marketing directors, the CEOs, what do you all think? Because your voice matters, too. I would encourage brands, their marketing teams, their ambassadors, to speak out and speak up and share with the public what your thoughts are on diversity and inclusion. The public hears from loud mouths like me all the time, but we don’t hear from marketing directors or CEOs directly. Signing the pledge is a public announcement, yes, but put some words behind that. Why? Why are you doing this?  Why is it important to you? That’s what I would encourage you all to do. 

Simms Pros Take Over the Podiums

Last week was a big week in the tournament circuit for the Simms Professional Anglers. Multiple events, multiple trophies.

It’s been a big few weeks for the professional angler circuits. Because of the crazy start to 2020, fishing tours across the country are in full swing due to the delayed starts. From Walleye to Bass, professional anglers have been grinding away the summer doldrums, chasing trophies across the nation. For a few individuals, the chase was fruitful in the form of huge cash prizes and hoisting trophies on the big stage.

Bassmaster Elite is Back in NY, and Simms Pros take the top two spots

Entering the final day at Lake Champlain, the field was insanely tight. The top 10 anglers were separated by a meer 2lbs 12 oz., and the weather pattern that held for the first 3 days was finally breaking. Enter, Brandon Palaniuk.

Palaniuk went into the final day sitting in 5th, 1lb 1oz off the leader Jamie Hartman, but he was feeling good. A lot of Palaniuks practice fishing was done under similar windy, overcast conditions, so he knew leaving the dock he stood a chance, a real one.

“I had a really good practice and I felt like I could literally drive around, look at my (Humminbird) LakeMaster charts, pull up on a spot and catch big ones. I think the wind this morning helped push those baitfish up and it moved a lot of those fish up. Those fish aren’t resident fish; they chase schools of bait,” recounts Brandon after the final weigh in.

And boy did he catch the big ones- lots of them. Palaniuk finished the final day with the biggest bag of the entire tournament at 21lbs 6oz, earning him his first Bassmaster Elite Series trophy in over 3 years. When he went up on stage to collect his cup, he also collected a total prize purse of $100,000 dollars. I’m not a betting man, but I have a feeling that trophy felt priceless…

Not to be outdone, fellow simms pro Seth Feider put up a stellar performance at Lake Champlain, falling short of Palaniuks mark by 1lb 3ozs to claim the second spot. Feiders approach to the tournament was far more centered around flipping docks chasing largemouth in the early stages of the event until Sunday when he shifted his whole focus towards smallmouth. Feider kept himself in the running by scoring some monster fish, stating “I got really lucky and caught two great big ones that gave me a chance. It just wasn’t enough.”

While Feider couldn’t close the gap on the last day, he did go home with the Phoenix Boats Big Bass title, scoring a 6lb 6oz largemouth on day 2. Two anglers, two trophies, and a one, two finish- not a bad showing for the boys up in Champlain. Onto the next one.

Sprengel crushes the competition on Green Bay

Just like everything else in 2020, the start of the National Walleye Tour was off to a rocky. Originally scheduled for mid April, the anglers waited patiently for the revised start date- July 23rd. No one was more excited for the opener than Simms pro walleye angler Korey Sprengel, perennial Walleye champion. Since the National Walleye Tour’s inception, Sprengel has won 5 of 29 events, and has been in all of the top 10s of the Angler of the Year since 2013. 2019 was still a stellar year with a 4th place AOY finish, but his season’s success was overshadowed by a few other story lines, namely fellow Simms pro John Hoyer’s three tournament run of two first place and one second place finish.

As you could imagine, redemption was on Korey’s mind. And when he saw that the opening event was to be hosted on Green Bay, he knew only he could beat himself. Time to reclaim the unofficial title of the greatest walleye fisherman the tour has ever known.

And wouldn’t you know it, that is exactly what he did. Korey had a good grip on what to do in Green Bay, and his plan played out perfectly. “The whole key this week was my first bite on day one,” recalled Sprengel. “With the northeast wind, I knew it was going to be a needle in the haystack. But I also knew the recipe. I just needed to know if the recipe was going to work. That first fish bit twice, if not three times. It was only like a 20-incher, but I knew if they were going to bite multiple times, there was something to be had. From there, it was all about fine tuning it.”

After putting up a huge bag the first day with 5 fish to 42.13lbs and his closest competitor scoring 36.03lbs, he was in great standing for day 2. Come weigh in time on the last day, the victory was nothing short of comprehensive. Sprengel finished the tournament with 77.48 pounds, obliterating the rest of the field. His margin of victory was 17.17 pounds, the biggest margin in the tours history. With that win, Sprengel took home a purse of over 92K dollars. Not bad a few days work.

Welcome back to the top, Korey. Go get that throne.

A Win For All Things Wild

In a great showing of bipartisanship for the sake of our national parks, equal outdoor access, and preserving the wild places that we hold dear, the Great American Outdoors Act cleared its final hurdle. Let’s all raise a glass and celebrate this monumental win for conservation.

A signature from the president putting the Great American Outdoors Act into legislation — for all outdoor enthusiasts, is a big deal. In fact, some are calling it the biggest win in conservation since the days of Theodore Roosevelt.

After passing through the Senate in mid-June and through the House of Representatives at the end of July, POTUS made the legislation official today by signing the historic bill into law. The bill, which has been in contention for years, can be thought of in two major parts. On one side, the bill will provide permanent funding for the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF), and at the same time, the bill will also create a separate fund to improve a drastically underfunded national parks system.

The goal for the national park fund is to make sure that parks have adequate support, ranging from fixing access roads to maintaining trails, all the way to bathroom access. With the LWCF, this will be the second time since its inception in 1965 that it is fully funded. It will help ensure access to public lands for recreation- including fishing, while protecting and expanding the public playground from the most remote wilderness areas to local municipal parks. This is helping access and usage for all, no matter where you live, using zero taxpayer dollars.

The LWCF has been a highly contested fund for years, and Simms has been on the front lines in support of full and permanent funding of LWCF for decades. Since his earliest days at Simms, K.C Walsh, Simms’ Principal Owner and Executive Chairman, recognized the significance of conservationism and the importance of working towards maintaining clean air, clean water, and protecting wildlife habitat for all to enjoy. During his tenure as Board Chair for the American Fly Fishing Trade Association, Walsh became intimately familiar with LWCF and its significance to the fishing industry from longtime conservation lobbyist and founder of Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP), Jim Range. From that point forward, Walsh and other leaders of the Simms team have leaned into the conversation wherever and whenever possible.

This is a step in the right direction. The world is a crazy place these days, and nothing is going to get fixed overnight. This, however, is a huge win that warrants celebration. It’s a win for public land access, a win for bipartisanship, and most importantly, its a win for natural resources.

The administration feels it is such significant news that from here on out, August 4th will be known as the “Great American Outdoors Day.” That means that entrance fees will be waived on public lands managed by the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. As a special bonus, Wednesday, August 5th will also be a fee-free day on all the aforementioned public lands.

So remember- the next time you’re on the water or recreating on public land, give toast to the Great American Outdoor Act and be grateful it passed.

For information on this historic milestone for the outdoors, click here.

Simms Fishing’s Guide to What to Wear Under Waders

Unlocking the puzzle of what to wear under waders

Today’s the day. You’ve got big plans to spend a long day hiking around in waders, looking for risers, and playing in natures’ playground. You pull out your rod and reel, some flies, maybe a libation or two, and you’re ready to go. You’re about to step into your waders, look down at your blue jeans and think to yourself, “there’s got to be something better than this.” And wouldn’t you know it- there is.

From the hottest days on the Henry’s Fork to the coldest days swinging for steelhead, base layers are essential items to stay comfortable in your waders. That part is obvious. However, choosing the right layer for your particular fishing situation might be less obvious.

Continue reading below to hear what we think are some of the right clothing options for layering up under waders for different fishing scenarios throughout the year.

Here’s What We’re Covering: 

  • Best Materials to Wear and Avoid Under Waders
  • Under Stockingfoot Waders
  • Under Bootfoot Waders
  • Types of Socks to Wear
  • What to Wear in the Summer
  • What to Wear in the Winter

Best Materials to Wear Under Waders

Something to keep in mind when layering up before putting on your waders- despite the season- you are likely to sweat to some degree. Whether it’s a long hike in through the snow or baking in the sun on a hot summer day, you get hot in waders. Wearing clothing underneath waders that breathes and wicks moisture away from the skin is key. Look for base layers that contain polyester, which is a tried and true moisture-wicking material. Other materials to consider are: 

  • Nylon
  • Wool
  • Bamboo 

Neoprene waders

If you by chance have a pair of neoprene waders, what you wear under your waders will be a bit of a different story. Neoprene waders are less breathable because they’re meant to keep you warm in the wintertime. You’ll want to wear moisture-wicking materials that make polypropylene and fleece excellent options for under-wader wear. 

Pro:tip – Avoid cotton!

No matter your waders’ material, all waders have one thing in common: avoid wearing cotton underneath at all costs! Cotton is extremely hydrophilic (i.e. water-loving), meaning that if it gets wet, you’re pretty much out of luck. No one wants to be soggy and damp while fishing, especially in colder temps, so nix the cotton on your next fishing trip.

Best Options Depending on Wader Style

Stockingfoot waders

Stockingfoot waders are ideal if you’re planning on doing most of your fishing during the warmer months. They’re more lightweight and less bulky than bootfoot waders; however, you’ll need to purchase a separate pair of wading boots before you set out on the water. It is always a good idea to wear socks that go above your ankle to prevent rubbing against the neoprene in the booties of your waders.

As for what shoes to wear with these waders, there are a wide variety of wading boots for both men and women out there. If you plan on wading into rocky waters, you’ll want to make sure that your wading boots or shoes have solid traction. If that’s the case, look for boots that have a Vibram or felt sole. Otherwise, rubber sole wading boots will work just fine. 

Bootfoot waders

Unlike stockingfoot waders, bootfoot waders come with the advantage of built-in boots, which means there’s one less piece of gear for you to worry about. While bulkier than stockingfoot waders, the burliness of bootfoot waders makes them perfect for colder days. Bootfoot waders are also ideal for those who plan to do some fishing from the beach, since there’s no way for sand to get through. 
Whether you choose to go with stockingfoot or bootfoot waders, you’ll want to invest in a quality pair of wading socks. Again, avoid wearing cotton and instead opt for a pair of wool or neoprene socks.

Something to keep in mind when layering up before putting on your waders- despite the season- you are likely to sweat to some degree. Whether it’s a long hike in through the snow or baking in the sun on a hot summer day, you get hot in waders.

Best Socks to Wear With Waders

Let’s start at the bottom- the socks. Simms offers a whole line of merino wool socks for any season and any scenario. It is always a good idea to wear socks that go above your ankle to prevent rubbing against the neoprene in the booties of your waders. Longer socks also give you the option to tuck your leg layers in to prevent bunching and cold spots where the skin is directly against the waders. 

For the warmer summer months, the Merino Midweight OTC (Over the Calf) Socks are going to be your best friend. In the cooler months when air temps are more variable and the water temps are on the chillier side- Guide Midweight OTC Socks are going to be the perfect fit. For any cold-weather fishing or water that’s constantly below 45 to 50 degrees, we recommend the Guide Thermal OTC Socks. You have to be careful about layering socks when the weather gets cold- constricting blood flow to your feet in cold weather is only going to make you get colder faster.

Wader Base Layers by Season

Of course, what you wear under your waders will vary slightly depending on the seasons. Here’s a brief guide on what to wear under waders in cold and warm weather.

What to Wear Under Waders in the Summer

Depending on where you live, summer temps can range from pleasantly warm to blazing hot. When shopping for summer fly fishing apparel, you’ll want to make sure that your clothing features both moisture-wicking and sun protection materials. When summer hits, it’s smart to invest in an assortment of warm weather fly fishing apparel to wear under waders, including:

Shoes and sandals – Warmer temps welcome almost bare feet. A good pair of wading sandals or shoes can be worn both in the water and from the shore or boat.

For the remainder of the year, you are going to want to focus more around the base layers and thermals we have on offer. Even on hotter days when the water is on the colder side, you will always be more comfortable with some level of insulation.

On the women’s side of things, the Women’s Lightweight Core Bottom and the Women’s Fleece Midlayer Bottom‘s apply to the same scenarios. The fleece midlayers are on the warmer end of the spectrum, so those are best served in the early spring and fall temps.

Summer Leg Layers

During the warmer summer months, you can usually get away with a pair of light pants under the waders rather than a core bottom. Since wool is a little more insulating, focus on the quick-dry pants like the Superlight Pants. Our female pros and ambassadors swear by our Bugstopper Leggings or, for slightly cooler water temps, the Midweight Core leggings. MC B from Bozeman, MT, says “…They’re great under waders because they’re so tight, don’t slip down and no adjustments needed throughout the day.” This way you will still have a barrier between your legs and the waders to draw a bit of moisture away from the skin, but won’t insulate heat towards your legs.

What to Wear Under Waders in Winter

When it comes to winter fly fishing, there are three things you’ll want to keep in mind: layers, layers, layers. It’s better to be over prepared and shed layers you don’t need than to be left out in the cold. There’s an abundance of women’s and men’s base layers for you to choose from, but some basic pieces to include in your cold weather fishing outfit include:

  • Wading jacket – Look for a hooded, insulated jacket to keep you warm and dry. 
  • Fleece sweater – A half-zip fleece sweater is the perfect midlayer for cold weather and can be worn on its own on milder winter days.  
  • Long johns/leggings – A quality pair of long underwear or leggings is a must for winter fly fishing. They can be worn under pants for added warmth, or worn alone under your waders on early spring days. 
  • Insulated pants – Perfect for those exceptionally cold days, a solid pair of insulated pants will provide you with unparalleled warmth all day long. 
  • Sungaiter – A sungaiter not only protects your face from the wind, sun, and cold, but it also adds extra warmth around your neck. 
  • Hat – Invest in a quality beanie to keep you as warm as possible. 
  • Gloves or mittens – Cold hands or fingers are a surefire way to cut your fishing trip short. Invest in a quality pair of gloves or mittens to keep the cold at bay. 

Boots and socks – Make sure your wading boots fit snugly to keep your feet dry, and wear a pair of high-quality merino wool wading socks underneath for maximum warmth.

Winter Leg Layers

If you are anticipating spending the day in freezing air temps and frigid water, finding bottoms that have multiple layers is going to help with trapping heat close to the body. This is the point where you should start looking towards our Men’s Thermal Midlayer Bottom or the beefier Fjord Pants, as well as the Women’s Midweight Core Leggings. The Mid-layer or Midweight core bottoms are going to suit you well for that late fall/early winter situation where you need insulation, but also might be moving around quite a bit from spot to spot.

The Fjords and the Insulated pants are for those extreme conditions where you know it’s going to be cold the whole time. Consider combining layers if you are going to be spending long days wading rather than hiking. For anyone that has spent a day swinging for winter steelhead knows that the heat slowly gets sucked away from your legs the longer you spend standing in 35 degrees water. Combining a few layers together like Midweight Core or the Fleece Midlayers under one of the heavier Fjords or the Midstream Insulated pants will give you optimal warmth without adding too much bulk under the waders.  

Being Prepared While Fly Fishing

It often takes a bit of time coming up for the perfect layering formula for each fishing scenario, so mix it up until you find what you are most comfortable in. Nothing is worse than trying to take your waders off to adjust your leg layers during the middle of a freezing cold day, so do your best to plan accordingly.

No matter the season or weather, it’s essential that you dress properly for fly fishing. Not only will it make for a more enjoyable experience overall, but keeping the elements at bay is crucial for your health and safety out in the wild. 
Simms Fishing Products is the No.1 destination for all of your fly fishing needs. Whether you’re seeking the perfect pair of waders or some new clothing to wear under your waders, we have you covered. Shop our men’s and women’s fly fishing apparel today to meet your new favorite fishing companion

The Modern Surf Fisherman: A Different Breed

It can take months to get proficient in the surf fishing game. It takes years, if not a lifetime, to master catching large striped bass from the surf. Unlike the boat bound anglers, the surf fishing crowd is a different breed. They spend countless nights sleepless and skunked, even going as far as dawning a wetsuit and swimming out to normally unreachable structure. If you ask around, you will hear all sorts of surf fishermen stereotypes, but the one that always comes up- they have a screw loose. That’s what these fish do to this dedicated group of anglers. They are tight-lipped, scientists of their craft, and constantly pursuing that next epic bite.

We decided to pick the brains of Simms Ambassador Frank Goncalves– plug builder and big fish enthusiast – on what it takes to be successful from the surf. Frank spends his whole spring, summer and fall targeting large striped bass from the beach and rocks, often in the middle of the night. He is a bit of a jedi knowing where to be on what tide, what moon cycle to fish, and which hand-built plug is going to serve him best on any given night. If you want to learn about what it takes to be successful from the rocks, check out the conversation below with one of New England’s best.

Simms: Hey Frank, good to hear from you man. We are sitting down for this talk at the end of June, which means your season is already well underway – how’s it been so far for you? We just have to know…

Likewise! As for the 2020 season, thus far, it’s had its solid nights followed by some really slow nights. Which is expected, of course. It seems to be another season, where some serious dedication and sleepless nights are the only thing that yield solid results. Which, of course, I’m all for but I won’t argue stumbling across some easy bites. Hoping as we enter summer, patterns from previous seasons mixed with what has been working for this season all comes together. Fingers crossed!

Simms: Alright now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, tell us a little bit about you- who you are, how long you’ve been surf fishing, what you spend your fishing time doing, what you are targeting, etc.?

Frank: I’m a surfcaster living in South Eastern Massachusetts, where I was lucky enough to be born and raised. Although I fished most of my childhood, from boat and shore, I was drawn to surf fishing about fifteen years ago. If I wasn’t already addicted enough to fishing, the combination of targeting striped bass from rocks and doing it through-out the night, made for my perfect recipe.

Simms: Now let’s get into the knitty gritty of it all. Can you give us some insight into fishing during the day versus the night game? I have a feeling I know your preference, but I’d love to hear your thoughts about your favorite conditions?

Frank: Like most surf rats, I primarily fish nights, dark ones preferably. I do, however, really enjoy day time fishing early spring and late fall. Hard to beat topwater after a long winter or after a long, tiring season.

As for conditions, it’s mostly dependent on the spot. In saying that, it’s tough to beat a big tide around the new moon. I love finding light wind out of the southwest and just enough swell to drown out any noise. The fish just seem to feel much more comfortable in tight to structure during those times. There’s always a balance with the wind though- I like just enough to cause some surface disturbance but not enough to dirty up the water.

Simms: The fishery changes a ton throughout the season. Aside from the obvious- hotter/colder longer/shorter days- what changes do you see throughout a fishing season? 

Frank: Fish behavior for sure. Often spring and fall, I feel like I’m targeting a completely different species than in the summer. They often take up residency wherever they feel comfortable for the warmer months and they’re a lot less charged up than the migratory months. This makes targeting them a little less run-and-gun and a lot more finesse fishing. For me anyway. 

Simms: You mentioned the big tides and the structure around your home waters; what factors are you looking at when deciding when and where to go? Is there a golden formula?

Frank: Our tides aren’t as large as some other places so I try to take advantage of the larger tides each month. If you can pair those tides with structure where that already fast-moving water is being forced through, you can usually find larger fish. They tend to be lazy looking for easy meals, so you’ll often find them using the same structure in the same types of choke points.

Simms: Okay, hold on a second here- we need to know more about this whole moon tide situation. We hear people talking about the new moon bite, the flood tide full moons, and all sorts of strange lingo about tides. Please enlighten us.

Frank: The tides around the moons (full and new) are generally larger, therefore faster, which bass seem to use to their advantage and maybe more so tight into shore. However, if you asked any surfcaster, they’d most likely tell you they despise fishing full moons. The full moons are a love-hate relationship- if you get some cloud cover the bite can turn on, but for whatever reason the bass don’t like feeding under the bright moon light. This leaves the new moon, ideal for most surf rats. 

Simms: So conditions and locations aside, surf guys love their gear, to the point where they often start making their own. I’ve seen the plugs you’ve built over the years, and it’s left us drooling over at Simms. Tell us a bit about what got you into plug building?

Frank: Since I started surfcasting, I’d use a variety of plug styles from various builders. Most from small volume builders that I grew to respect. While most were great swimming plugs that were extremely well built and caught, I thought I could build my own and make them specific to the spots I fished. Much like tying flies, I guess.

After toying with the idea of building in the off-season, I built my first few plugs about thirteen years ago after buying an old lathe. I had success on some and each winter, I’d try to improve on those styles while creating new ones. I’d also clone classic styles and fish them to see what made them popular for so many years. Not much has changed in design over the years, so you can learn a ton from any plug.

Simms: I need to know, do you still have the first plug that you built? Did it actually work or was it just a throw away?

Frank: I actually do! Well I have the first plug that actually caught fish from the first set I built. It was no eye-catcher, but I did manage a handful of fish on it including a 22lb bass. Before losing it, I decided to fish a duplicate and hang that one up. I’ll spare everyone a look at the monstrosity but it still hangs on my shop wall, slightly hidden.

Simms: If you had one lure/bait to fish for the rest of your life, what would it be? Swimmers, Jigs, eels ? 

Frank: Tough one here, BUT, I’d have to go with a darter. A rigged eel would be a very close second! Although, it’s still early on in the season, and metal lips have produced more for me than any other plug- I’d be surprised if that holds true all season. Season after season, darters just produce for how and where I fish.

Simms: By your standards, what is the mark of a trophy striper?

Frank: I mean, I consider a fifty-pound Striped Bass a “trophy” like most, but I always feel some amount of luck comes into play with a fifty. I won’t say a forty pound fish is considered a trophy but I’d be just as happy with a forty that I targeting used wind, tide and some experience over a blindly caught fifty.

Simms: What’s your most memorable fish that you have taken from shore to date? Can you give us a rundown of how that experience went for you?

Frank: Ah, another tough one. A few stand out but most of my memorable fish wasn’t the largest, actually. It was more so just how everything played out. The most recent was topwater fish at dusk last fall. Not sure a day time fish gives a surfcaster the same satisfaction as a large fish in the night, but this particular fish did. It was late season, I had dropped two or three fish that weren’t huge but I would have been happy landing. Right before I was thinking about throwing in the towel and taking a break until the night bite, I made a few more casts hoping to raise another. After feeling almost certain it wasn’t going to happen, my plug got absolutely crushed. It was one of those times when you’re actually watching it and didn’t just catch it out of the corner of your eye. BUT unlike the previous fish, I dropped it. I feel like I didn’t really have pinned- it almost seemed like it clamped down on the plug so hard it took drag before letting go of the plug. After throwing my head back and rolling my eyes with frustration I started to burn my plug back in. Two fast cranks in, it came back and hammered it. All shoulders and tail and twice as angry. I’m almost positive it was the same fish as they’re certainly weren’t many around that size and like I mentioned above, I don’t think I ever hooked it, as it’s rare a hooked large fish comes back. Anyhow, after one of the grittier fights I can remember, I got her in and I remember mumbling while out of breath “I freaking love this stuff”. 

Bassmasters is Back!

The Bassmaster Elite Series Resumes at Lake Eufaula

After a 3 month hiatus, the Bassmaster Elite Series is finally back up and running. The tension was palpable leading up to the event with the entire field itching to get back onto the water. Simms decided to catch up with Elite Series angler Jeff “Gussy” Gustafson about what it was like going through quarantine as a professional angler, to hear his thoughts about the tournament and what it is like getting back to what he does best- fishing. 

Simms: So it’s been almost a 3-month break from tournaments for you- what’s it feel like finally getting back to work?

Gussy: It was SO NICE to get back at it last week.  I missed the competition – I live for it – and I missed my buddies.  We have a good travel group including Seth Feider, Chris Groh, Chris and Cory Johnston and we will usually rent houses for the weeks of our events.  It was great to reconnect with these guys and just get back to fishing.  Like many others out there, it’s been a tough few months with little opportunity to earn income.  

Simms: What was it like when you got the call that the Elite Series was starting back up? I’m guessing you were excited? Were you feeling anxious about competing again?

Gussy: BASS did a good job keeping us in the loop with multiple plans for resuming our season.  We had a few events canceled during the spring and rightfully so, but when we got word that we would be able to continue the season with some social distancing and safety measures in place, I think we were all very excited. I didn’t have a lot of anxiety, there was more anxiety about not being able to fish, compete and try to make some money for me.  Once we get back out there on the water, it’s just business as usual. 

Simms: For someone that makes a living traveling and fishing, what was it like not being able to move around and fish?

Gussy: It was a strange few months for me, for all of us I think.  I live in Canada and we’ve been locked down pretty tight.  In my home area of NW Ontario (Lake of the Woods), we have had very few cases so we were lucky on that front but our area is suffering pretty bad right now because we rely so heavily on tourism, mostly from US Midwest anglers who travel here for fishing trips year after year.  None of that is going on right now. I do some guiding when I’m home so I missed that big time. 

Simms: What were you doing to pass the time during quarantine?

Gussy: Luckily, where I live is an amazing place if you like outdoor activities.  When my wife Shelby and I returned home after the Classic, we got in a few weeks of ice fishing – caught a bunch of big walleye, crappie, pike, and lake trout. When the ice started to break up we got in some shed hunting for deer antlers, and once we could get the boat back in the water, we were back on the fishing train.  We are lucky here to have world-class fishing for several species so there is always something to catch out there.  

Simms: You quarantined up north, didn’t you? Did it feel weird getting thrown back onto a southern lake? Did you feel out of your element or any rust throughout the weekend? 

Gussy: Getting back to fishing last week wasn’t too unusual but I was not really prepared for the heat down in southern Alabama.  It was in the 90’s every day and humid.  I’ve found the best way to make it through the long practice days down south in the summer is to cover up.  You’ll very seldom see me fishing in the summer time anywhere without a SolarFlex Hoody.  The hood covers up my head pretty well and also helps with keeping the sunlight out of my glasses.  I can’t imagine fishing anymore without wearing one of these shirts.  

Simms: Tell us a bit about your thoughts on lake Eufaula and what your strategy was for the tournament? You’ve come close to winning there in the past- did you feel confident going into this one? 

Gussy: I almost won an FLW Tour event on Eufaula in 2015, throwing a topwater lure.  I hadn’t been back but I was excited for sure because of the good experiences in the past.  It’s a great tournament lake because it’s big and you can choose to target bass with almost any technique you like.  The lake is also in really good shape right now, fishing wise, so we knew it was going to be a fun week. 

Simms: Eufaula is a big lake with a ton of structure in it- how did you break down that size body of water? Did you go searching for brush piles, or did you want to take a different approach from the rest of the field?

Gussy: So, my first day of practice I checked a few of the areas where I caught them last time with the topwater, got a few good bites and felt confident I could catch some fish doing that.  I then spent the majority of my practice looking offshore for both brush piles and schools of fish on the river ledges.  Because of the time of year, we all knew that there would be good numbers of fish offshore but they take time to find, especially the sneaky spots that a lot of the competition might overlook. Heading into the tournament I was confident that I could do okay because I had a few options on where to fish and techniques to employ.   

Simms: After the first few days, did you feel like you were on a good bite? give us a breakdown on how your strategy changed throughout the weekend, if at all?

Gussy: Both days of the tournament that I fished, I caught one big fish out deep and then put the rest of my limit together fishing shallower.  A few groups of fish that I found disappeared so that hurt- I felt like these were really going to pay off. It turned into a grinder tournament for me, just trying a bunch of different things to put the best five bass together that I could.  I ended up with a 43rd place finish, which is not awesome because the top 40 fishes a third day and makes a little more money, but I made a few bucks and didn’t bomb so I didn’t hurt myself too badly in the points standings.  Obviously, the goal for everybody fishing the Elite Series is to make the Classic next year.  At this point I’m sitting on the bubble, tied with my buddy Feider for the last two spots but we are heading north for the next four tournaments so I think we’re both in pretty good shape.  

Simms: We were watching the leaderboard all weekend and it looked like it was a roller-coaster with different guys shooting up and down the board- why do you think that was happening? Was it just the fishing pressure, or was it the amount of boats buzzing around the lake in general?

Gussy: It was pretty interesting, all of the different ways that guys were catching fish and it seemed to change every day.  The first day, the shallow guys got’em, the next day brush piles seemed to be the deal, then the third day, ledges were the best.  It would have been fun to watch for sure!  Not many lakes where you’ll see the variety of techniques the guys were using.  Pressure was a big issue there for sure…there was a big tournament on the lake the week before we arrived and there are a lot of local anglers around Eufaula, it’s kind of in the heart of bass fishing in the south.  

Simms: What was it like fishing a tournament during these strange times? Did it feel surreal not seeing a crowded dock when you pulled in for weigh in?

Gussy: It was different fishing the tournament last week for sure, not having the usual fan engagement that we do, but I think we were all just happy to be fishing.  The social distancing requirements were all pretty standard for the situation we’re in right now so we did what we had to do.  Hopefully moving forward, things get better and at some point we get back to normal with some high fives and hugs.  

Simms: Your next few events are back in the northern fringe in New York starting with Lake Cayuga- are you excited for that spell up north? 

Gussy: I’m excited for the run of tournaments we have coming down the pipe up north.  On paper the schedule is really good for me, but I still have to catch the fish.  We are going to Cayuga, the St. Lawrence River and then Lake Champlain three weeks in a row in July, what bass angler wouldn’t be excited about those places.  I can’t wait to get back at it out in New York! 

To keep up with how Jeff is doing for the remainder of the season, follow along on his website and social channels- Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.