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These days most wade guides and anglers use either a chest pack or waist bag to carry their fly fishing essentials. I like to use my chest pack because I think it is a comfortable option that allows for better layering options in any weather. When it comes down to access, convenience and storage capacity, however, nothing beats the fly fishing vest.
Vests offer the ability to grab tackle and flies easily with one hand which is critical for some anglers. This is not as easily done with most bag or pack options. Most fly fishermen started out wearing vests years ago, and each time I change rigs and have to unbuckle my lumbar pack and spin it around to get at its contents, I find myself thinking about going back to my old vest. The Simms G3 Guide Vest is one of the finer vest offerings out there, and if you ever experience the same frustrations as me, it is worth taking a closer look. I changed back to a vest while wade fishing because of the overall performance this vest supplies.
For me, the most important reason to stay organized is to keep from losing things and to be able to rig up quickly and efficiently. Flies, tools, and terminal tackle are not cheap and nothing stings like the realization that your pliers have disappeared, or even worse, your midge box is missing. With a separate pocket for each item, the Simms G3 Guide vest almost does the difficult job of keeping organized by itself. A big downside of the newer lumbar packs, is that while they may have numerous small pockets, they are oriented around one large compartment. This means that anglers who are in a hurry tend to throw things in what becomes a large pile of gear making rigging quickly very frustrating. The myriad of gear specific pockets featured on the G3 vest encourages us to put things back where they belong which, in the end, keeps our tackle organized longer.
My favorite thing about the Simms G3 Guide Vest is how easy it is to get at its contents. Every necessity is close at hand. Four of its twenty two pockets are foam molded for easy access. The foam ensures a clean zip and unzip every time, even with one hand. These are great for small or medium sized fly boxes, weights, or strike indicators. The built in tool retractors come with magnetic “docking stations” that keep your pliers and nippers where they belong, with you.
There are very few packs out there that can rival the storage capacity and volume of a well-organized fly fishing vest. A good vest like the G3 remains comfortable even when loaded with a ton of gear, fly boxes and extra accessories. Lunch, water and rain jackets can all be carried with ease.
Fly fishing style is something that gets taken a little too seriously these days in my opinion. We all want to look cool, and for some reason, the vest just does not do it anymore. For me, the advantages of the vest are starting to outweigh the imagined problem of the goofy, old school look. Especially for winter fly fishing, the vest is still the most practical option for carrying all your flies, tools, and terminal tackle. Visit the fly shop in Edwards to try on all of the Simms fly fishing vests.
Andy “Otter” Smith, Guide and Content Writer