Outdoorsmen set high standards when it comes to comfort- including the need to stay warm and dry under tough conditions. Outdoor brands come and outdoor brands go, but those that have established a reputation for quality have a loyal following that serves as evidence of their staying power. So it is with Simms- a well-established brand that knows how to meet the tough demands of today’s outdoorsman.
Simms was founded in 1980 by John Simms, a well-known Jackson, Wyoming river guide. His experiences guiding clients on some of the world’s most challenging rivers, forced John to deal with one the hard facts of the day- the waders available at that time weren’t capable of keeping his customers dry, comfortable and safe on the river. The same was true for the many guides who, like John, lived and breathed the sport 150+ days a year. So, Simms set about creating high
quality neoprene products worthy of a generation of anglers who, like him, wanted to get out on the water earlier and stay out longer, comfortably, in whatever weather Mother Nature dished out.
Whether you’re a seasoned guide or a beginner taking a first cast from the family dock, and regardless of whether you pull a drift boat or drive a tournament-ready rig, Simms wanted his outerwear to make the world’s best fishing rivers, lakes and other open waters fish comfortably for all anglers pursing the Passion. Because the sport of fishing has the ability to unite people, relieve stress, develop character, and ease personal suffering, Simms wanted to offer gear that could facilitate all those purposes. This made Simms a visionary when it came to functionally comfortable gear.
By the late 80's, John had put his products on the map and given them a reputation for being the most rugged and dependable waders on the market. Having designed the products he envisioned, and after setting the company on the right path, John was ready to spend more time on the rivers he loved. After all, guiding was the reason he built those waders in the first place. So he sold the company to Life-Link International, another Jackson-based sporting goods manufacturer.
By 1992, in order to ensure that the Company would continue to craft the type of high-
quality products it had become known for, Life-Link sold the business, turning the reigns over to K.C. Walsh, a lifelong angler raised in a multi-generational fishing family. K.C. had spent his career helping companies grow and flourish as a management consultant, and he had the rare combination of devotion to the sport of fishing and deep management experience- exactly what Simms needed to thrive. In the 25 years of K.C.’s leadership, the quality of Simms products has continued to improve, the workforce has continued to grow and the product line has continued to expand.
K.C.’s first order of business back in 1993 was to move Simms to a 62,000 sq. ft. headquarters and manufacturing facility in Bozeman, Montana. Relocating to Bozeman put Simms a stone’s throw from some of the most legendary fishing waters in the world. This helped the Company tap into a network of experienced, expert anglers that Walsh employed as designers, developers, product managers, wear testers, and craftspeople. That first year also saw the release of Simms’ first-ever waterproof, breathable wader featuring GORETEX® construction. The wader was a groundbreaking success and proved to be the beginning of a long and productive partnership between Simms and W.L. Gore & Associates. Simms has become known as the place the industry looks for the latest advancements in GORE-TEX technology.
In 2012, Simms expanded its presence in Bozeman with a new facility housing its wader
production facility. The expansion has provided the space for product development to thrive, and has solidified Simms as the sole fishing wader manufacturer in the USA. There is little doubt that Simms is the global leader in outdoor fishing clothing. Today Simms employs more than 180 people at its Bozeman headquarters.
Montana has honored Simms as a true economic engine for the state and a business that shares in Montana's outdoor heritage by selling products that remind folks everywhere that Montana is a great place to do business. Simms Fishing Products
continue to be known for innovation in product design and manufacturing techniques. Simms was one of the first wader manufacturers to produce waders specifically tailored to women fly fishers, and in 2006, Simms introduced a high-end zippered wader, using waterproof zippers from the YKK Group in Tokyo. These Simms G4Z waders have set a new standard for zippered waders. More honors came to Simms in 2010 when Trout Unlimited requested they eliminate felt soled waders and boots to help combat the spread of invasive aquatic species. As a number of states implemented a ban, Simms R&D team created a line of products that eliminates the use of felt soles. Simms is also active in philanthropy, contributing to the Warriors and Quiet Waters Foundation, a non-profit project in Bozeman that introduces wounded Iraq and Afghanistan veterans to fly fishing.
Simms has expanded far beyond waders, now manufacturing a wide range of men's and
women's waders, boots, outerwear, apparel and travel accessories for fishermen and outdoors enthusiasts. Its products retail through a worldwide network of independent fly fishing shops, large sporting goods retailers and online retailers. Approximately thirty percent of its sales are international with Simms maintaining warehouses in Europe, Japan and New Zealand. Simms Fishing Products have won Field & Stream Magazine's Best of the Best award eight times since 1998 including awards for waders, wading boots, jackets and travel bags. In 2016, Simms was awarded the President's "E" Award in recognition of its export business. iBass360 is very proud to be associated with a Company of such distinction that knows how to Live The Passion.