Female fly fishing enthusiasts listen up…No longer are the days of over-sized, sloppy fishing shirts, unflattering zip-offs, and drab floppy hats. Fishing apparel companies have finally heard your cries. Many of these companies are trying to reconstruct the image created by years of men’s fishing fashion seen in several companies catalogs. Frankly, some updating was long overdue and necessary.
Recently, I was fortunate enough to be able to not only view some of the latest women’s fishing apparel but, I was also able to put a few of these items to the test in several weeks of guiding. Let me just say, I was pleasantly surprised by most of the items I tried. The apparel I tested was from three of the most predominant apparel companies in the fishing industry to date, Orvis, Simms and ExOfficio. Short of Patagonia apparel, which has always been an industry leader in climbing and outdoor gear, I had to keep my testing to a reasonable amount.
One nice thing I am seeing across the board from these companies is color. This is an important detail to me because I like color. I am not crazy about khaki, nor am I too hip to tan. Maybe its me but I have not noticed a lack of fish in the boat if I wear a blue shirt versus wearing a dusky green or sand colored one. Although color is not the primary reason I buy an item, it is nice to have an item that functions well and is also bright and colorful.
This brings me to the next important point in my test—function. Functionality is really first and foremost the primary reason I buy gear. Simms’ Solarflex Hoody was high on my list of favorites. I really like the lightweight fabric and long sleeves to cover my hands. The only point I wasn’t crazy about with this shirt is what to do with the long sleeves when I’m not fishing. The Hoody was also sized a bit bigger than the Solarflex LS Crewneck. The crew was quite fitted and may not be roomy enough if you are to doing a lot of rowing. I was comfortable in it but personally prefer a little less fitted shirt. Also, my Simms Rogue Fleece Hoody was a great piece of gear for me, especially here in this windy area. It is warm, attractive and wind-proof. I have worn it almost every day I have been out this year so far.
Both ExOfficio and Orvis have increased their womens lines to include more female specific fishing and outdoor gear. The Trout Bum series from Orvis features some very attractive items that reflect a strong western lifestyle. The sizing on the Trout Bum items is the only thing I would be conscientious of since they did run a bit bigger than the other brands. The ExOfficio ladies clothing I tried was both very attractive and user friendly—kept me cool and comfortable on the water and off. In my opinion, the ExOfficio gear I tried was a little more “Adventure Clothing” style versus just fishing specific. I appreciate this because I don’t always like my clothing to scream ‘fisherman’. ExOfficio also offers an extremely comfortable line of travel underwear. The appeal is the quick dry abitlity and its Aegis Microbe Shield to control odor—key for some guides more than others maybe!
After the joy of testing these products, I have great confidence recommending any of the clothing to a customer of our fly shop. We have many of the items in stock and are adding more ladies items all the time. If you are interested in any of the items I have described, you can either stop by and shop or give us a call.