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John Sherman of Simms talks about what the company has in store for both Fly and Conventional Anglers

Date: 12/12/09
Manufacturer: Simms
Interview: John Sherman
Title: West Coast Sales Rep
Reviewer: Zander


Introduction: John Sherman is a man of many talents, not only is he the West Coast Sales Representative for Simms but also an avid fly fisherman and outdoor photographer. John's recent projects include introducing bass anglers to the joy of catching largemouth on the fly and even a starring role in a Hollywood film titled "Bass - The Movie." John takes time out of his busy schedule to talk about the exciting new products from Simms including the company's push into the Bass market.


John Sherman is an avid fly fisherman and enjoys swinging flies for steelhead

Zander: Thank you for taking the time to talk to us today John, let’s start out with your position at Simms and a little history lesson, how and when was the company started?  

John: First of all thank your for having me and for your interest in Simms.  I’m the West Coast Sales Representative for Simms Fishing Products for the states of CA, AZ, NV and HI.  Simms was established in the early 1980s by Jackson Hole, WY fishing guide, John Simms, and Life-Link International, to provide fly-fishing wading gear and accessories that helped anglers fish longer and stayed more comfortable.  In 1993, K.C. Walsh acquired the company from Life-Link and moved the entire operation to Bozeman, Montana.  Since the acquisition, Simms has been leading technical product advancement for anglers worldwide. 

Zander: I think most anglers know Simms as a premium fly fishing garment manufacturer, what do you think makes Simms so popular among both professional guides and recreational fly fishermen?  

John: Quality, durability, comfort, performance and innovation.  We are well known as a wader manufacturer and our waders keep guides and recreational fisherman dry and more comfortable for longer than any other competing product.  Once someone has worn our waders they tend to expand through our entire lineup of jackets, technical clothing, footwear etc. because they expect and get the same performance throughout our product line.  Our product design, development and production are world-renowned and people respect that we are the only wader manufacturer in the United States.  (One of three Gore-Tex-certified wader manufacturers in the world.)

Fishing at the Smith River Jed Park

Zander: Can you tell us more about the materials that you use in the construction of your gear?

John: We partner with the best raw materials & fabric suppliers in the world so that we can design and produce the best performing products available for fishing.  We consider every part that goes into our products.  Our technical materials from jackets to waders to sportswear are designed to keep the angler dry and comfortable.  A comfortable angler fishes longer and is more focused on catching fish rather than worried about the performance of their gear.  

What makes Simms unique? United States wader production.  We are the only wader manufacturer that builds waders in the US.  Also we are a fishing company – not an “outdoor” company.  Many of our competitors are “outdoor” companies that dabble in fishing.  Most of our employees fish, meaning we wear what we make AND provide input/feedback. 

Zander: Can we talk about Streamtread? What are the benefits and at some point will Simms move completely away from felt soled wading shoes? 

John: Absolutely, StreamTread™ is the talk of the fly fishing industry right now.  Let’s start with why we were looking for alternative forms of wading soles other than felt.  Many our waterways across the US and abroad have become infected with different Invasive Species (New Zealand Mud Snails, Didymo, Zebra Muscles)  by the way of wading gear from one body of water to the next.  These invasive species have spread disease to many of our favorite pieces of water infecting both fish and what the fish eat.   In testing done by Trout Unlimited and many others, felt soled wading boots are most responsible for the transport of these invasive critters.  Even when you really clean them well, micro organism can still survive and spread.   Of course there are many parts of the wading gear that these invasive species can hitch hike onto, but the biggest violator is felt soles.  Simms has had other non-felt options in the past, but we never felt that we’ve had a viable alternative to felt until StreamTread.   StreamTread is a proprietary rubber compound from Vibram® that Simms has been testing and using for over three years and we feel that in most wading situations the traction and performance is on par with felt.  Besides the proprietary compound we also utilize Vibram’s patented 360 degree self- clean lug pattern.  This aids in traction and is designed to accept all of our HardBite™ cleat options. Like felt, there will be times where you will need cleats to improve traction in the most demanding environments.  Unlike felt you have superior traction out of the water.  No more slipping on those smooth angling rocks, matted down grass and no more build up of snow in the winter fishing environments. 

StreamTread is a proprietary rubber compound from Vibram® that Simms has been testing and using for over three years and the company feels that in most wading situations the traction and performance is on par with felt

I just returned from a trip to the lower Deschutes where you have big ledge rock and smooth slime covered boulders and I felt that the traction of StreamTread with our new star cleats was phenomenal in one of the most challenging wading environments on the planet.  I haven’t worn a felt soled boot other then in testing StreamTread in the past 2 years and I couldn’t be happier with the traction.  Last year 75% of the boots we sold were felt soles, and this year 75% of the boots we’ve sold are StreamTread.  Given the recent ban on felt by states and countries (several streams in New England area, New Zealand, and SW Alaska by 2011, and many more to follow) Simms is no longer making Felt Soled wading boots. 

Next: So what does Simms have in store for Bass Anglers?









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