With a Northwest upbringing it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that I’m a deep-wading guy who’s elbows are usually settled about one inch above the waterline. So, when the new breed of “half-waders” came out I scoffed a bit and envisioned wading too deep and filling those britches with the cold drink.
But I wanted to try a pair so Bozeman, Montana-based SIMMS sent one out. Unfortunately, those wading pants collected some dust in my travel bag, mostly because I went through an unprecedented stint away from the water and because, well, I kept thinking I needed full waders. But last weekend I took a chance, on a big river, and gave them a thorough test.
In fact, last weekend, for the second weekend in a row, I fished Idaho’s Salmon River for steelhead and banged them up pretty good, if I don’t say so myself. Ten in two days with only a couple tallied on eggs under and indicator, most coming on the spey swing with a Green Butt Skunk off a floating tip. Yea, baby.
Ok, off the podium and back to the waders. These G3 Guide Pants are made of 5-layer and 3-layer GORE-TEX Pro Shell fabric technology—so, basically, the toughest and most well tested wader material on the planet. In addition, these wading pants have front and back leg seams and a solid YKK waterproof zipper fly, which serves one purpose very well. Also, these pants have two laminated front pockets, which provide easy access to split shot, bottle openers, tippet spools, and lighters, etc. Also, they’re nice to rest hands in on cold, windy days when you’re trying to get the fingers back in action. These waders come with gravel guards and 4 millimeter, high-density neoprene stockingfeet. Surprising to me, they are DEET and saltwater resistant.
Ok, so they’re built solidly, that’s for sure. What I found most surprising is how comfortable they are, even on classic steelhead days when the snow was blowing sideways and the wind was gusting to knock-you-off-your-feet levels—I didn’t miss the chest high portion of the full waders and, having dressed for the weather, I was more than comfortable in the elements. I really enjoyed fishing without shoulder straps rubbing under my jacket when throwing a few hundred spey casts a day. When it was time to rid myself of those Coors Light’s and PBR’s it was a snap…or, I mean, an easy zip with the waterproof zipper. When it was time to dress down for the day I didn’t even have to take off my jacket. I just unbuckled the two-inch wide nylon belt and took them down. I actually wore these pants to breakfast one morning and felt more than comfortable doing so.
Pitfalls? I never felt compromised by the pants. I think there are situations where deep wading requires the full waders, but I didn’t find it on the Salmon last weekend. Where I thought the wading pants might limit me, I wouldn’t have been able to cross in full waders either because the current was too strong. These wading pants would be awesome for a full day in a boat and they have saltwater application, too. I will definitely wear these wading pants while wading the beaches and chasing sea-run cutthroats and salmon in Puget Sound and southeast Alaska.
Believe me, I’ll be fishing in these wading pants a lot—aside from wet-wading I’ve never been more comfortable in the water.