My old Simms Freestone jacket was getting the worse for wear, as it was a bit holey in a few places. Partly due to catching on things like barbed wire fences when trying to get to rivers and partly I would hazard a guess, due to some sort of chemical burns. What they are is kind of hard to determine but I had these spots that had made the material brittle and eventually it resulted in holes. So with Christmas coming I was treated to a new jacket by my other half and with the new G4 just out, and a slightly discounted price enhanced by one of their 10% off offers I got it about £70 less than RRP from Fishtec, not bad for a new model ( though an expensive jacket just the same).
I was not disappointed by the jacket at all, being that its made from Goretex Pro shell material. This is a seriously heavily made wading jacket – streets ahead of the cheaper material of my old Freestone. The jacket has numerous pockets closed by quality zips. Two velcro closed chest bellows pockets ideal for fly boxes and bigger items you need to hand all day while fishing, which sit in front of two ( one right one left) other pockets sealed with what appear to be waterproof type zips. Below these are fleece lined handwarmer pockets. There are water-resistant zips on a further two outer pockets on the front of the bellows pockets too- so thats 6 storage pockets and two hand warmers. There is a small pocket on the left sleeve, which I find a great place to store leaders and flatter items of tackle while fishing. There are zingers on the chest pockets, and a net ring on the back under the hood, which can be tucked into the collar if need be. The jacket while made for wading so not ” full length is actually a reasonable length, again compared to the old Freestone and frankly the jacket would be fine for boat fishing if paired with some sort of water proof trousers. There are a couple of water-resistant zips on the underside of the sleeves also which I haven’t been able to identify quite what these are for never having had cause to reach inside my sleeve for anything. Above the left breast pocket there is a covered foam fly patch.
There is a large load carrying pocket on the back of the jacket which takes your sandwiches or a small bottle of soft drink. There is one inside pocket for your car keys and the like. The sleeves have velcro cuffs lined with a synthetic material not unlike the finish on neoprene so you maintain drier sleeves when you have to put your hands into the water past the wrist. I would hesitate to say they will allow you to stay totally dry when you put your hand and forearm into the water , as it depends I suppose how neat a fit you get round your wrists. I have quite narrow wrists so need to tighten the wrist closures as tight as they can go and a little water can still get through but its way better than other jackets I have tried, and you can get away with quickly dipping your hand in the water , say when you drop something in the river at your feet- like I am always doing!
But the main thing about this jacket that its really all about is its waterproofness. Does it keep you dry? Oh yes! In my recent years of fishing I have only rarely been caught in really wet weather, but this summer 2015 changed all that and I was caught in several deluges wearing the Simms jacket. I never got so much as moist! Not a drop of dampness made it through. I was utterly dry underneath. And the high zipping, corded hood kept you functional in the downpour. I have been very impressed on this front.