Any regular readers of my little blog may have noticed that I have a penchant for fishing in red plaid shirts. I’ve no idea why or where it came from but over the last five years I seemed to reach for a checked number before anything else. One of them was from Zara, and as such bit the dust soon after it became a fishing shirt. The other was a Superdry effort which was neither good at keeping me dry or particularly super in any way but it was able to take some abuse and so for many years it was my “fishing shirt”. Quite why I need a “fishing shirt” is moot point – a fishing shirt is no more necessary than a “fishing sock” or “fishing underwear” but I had clearly become attached to fishing in red.
Unfortunately the Superdry shirt began to come detached from itself and on its last few outings looked less like fishing clobber and more like a rag to wash the car, and as such had to be retired with honour. This left a huge hole in my armoury – how could I possibly catch a fish without a red shirt? Oh boy did I fret the evenings away through December, hoping and praying that Santa or Jesus or somebody with similar influence might help out. When I unwrapped a brand new Simms Coldweather Shirt in “Fury Orange” I knew that Chris Cringle must have had something to do with it.
Let’s not avoid it, the Simms Coldweather Shirt is not cheap for a “fishing shirt”, and ordinarily I wouldn’t advocate splashing the best part of £100 on looking awesome. The thing is, having pretty much lived in it for a month I can not only see the sense in splashing out on one but I’m thinking of treating myself to another one too…
Simms market these shirts as Coldweather for a reason – they are fantastically warm! The “Waffle lined micro fleece” (that’s micro fleece for those of you not in the USA) is really toasty and has performed in temperatures from just below freezing to an unseasonal (but not unusual for this winter) 15 degrees. Worn as a mid-layer the Coldweather Shirt fits right in to the modern technical clothing system and provides plenty of crucial insulation. I tried wearing it without a base layer but the wind did tend to get through so I would advise a skin tight top below it for maximum performance, and since it isn’t waterproof it would pay to keep an outer shell handy just in case. They’re also UPF50 so you can rest assured on a grey, drizzly March in Derbyshire that at least you won’t be getting sunburn….
The two chest pockets are enormous, big enough for both a medium C&F box and a Tacky Day Box, or the equivalent small lure box. The buttons have all been stitched down hard on to a reinforcing tape and the seams have been moved away from they key wear areas. Mine is a medium and fits really well for a change – I wouldn’t advise going a size down to account for “American sizes” like you may with the Simms tropical shirts. I can’t stress enough how comfortable the Coldweather Shirt is – it feels like a well designed and produced piece of technical clothing and not like a Superdry thing pretending to be something it isn’t.
It ought to feel like that too given the hefty price tag and I’m sure there will be plenty of folk out there reading this review questioning why on earth it would be necessary to spend so much on a shirt to go fishing in – the answer of course is that it isn’t necessary. If however you like to fish in something that you don’t feel like you need to change out of for the apres drinks down at the Dog and Duck then this could just be the answer – the Coldweather Shirt looks as good as anything you might find on the high street and has a level of technical performance way beyond any other fishing shirts I’ve seen. The only comparable product I’m aware of is the Fjallraven Granit shirt which has the advantage of waterproofing on the shoulders but not the extra fleece lining of the Simms product
So in conclusion the Simms Coldweather Shirt is exceptionally warm, thoughtfully designed, well built, smart looking and reassuringly expensive. I’ll leave it to you to decide what value you might put on a really high quality piece of technical clothing – I personally think these shirts are worth every penny and since the weather in the UK is generally crap the chances are you’ll get year-round use from it too. They may not be everybody’s cup of tea but I wake up for a days fishing content that I’ve still got a red fishing shirt and because of that it’s going to be a great day….