How long does it take to develop a specialised garment?
We started in summerof 2009 when a customer visiting our shop was interested in adapting one of our Cotton Analogy Assynt Jackets for salmon fishing. Initially we were a little reluctant because angling garments were not part of our main business although we sell Glencoe Ventile Jackets and Páramo Pajaro Jackets to anglers, river wardens and gilles.
After discussing it with the customer we felt that Cotton Analogy was a good fit for the application. In the past several companies made wax cotton wading jackets, which were warmer and more robust than the Goretex equivalents which are now the trend, but not very breathable. Fabric technology has now moved on since the era of wax jackets. Cotton Analogy in contrast offers toughness due to the Ventile outer fabric and high breathability due to a Nikwax Analogy Pump Liner.
Why is high breathability required for angling ? When standing in the middle of the river slowly moving while covering the water – probably not!
Imagine however the perspiration generated in a warm wet day when walking from the fishing hut to the start of the beat. Where does the perspiration go? With shell jackets and traditional Wax Jackets the answer is nowhere due to the wet saturating the outside of the jacket. Perspiration gets trapped under the jacket and when you are out standing in the river you stop perspiring, the accumulated sweat cools down and you get cold. Not too comfortable when you have to spend the next two hours concentrating on the fishing.
After deciding that Cotton Analogy was the best fabric solution we made a test jacket for the customer based on his requirements and a year later we are still getting excellent feedback from him.
We decided to make a standard Hilltrek product, reviewed other wading jacket designs and consulted with local salmon anglers in Deeside. This process took many months.
The design was tested in the field, tweeked several times and a final prototype made. The design was tested at the Leeds University test facility and finally approved by Nikwax Fabrics, the owners of the pump liner concept.
One of the River Dee fisherman who helped us was Davie Murray of the Monaltrie/ Lower Invercauld beats near Ballater.
Davie commented on the jacket in October at the end of the season on the Dee:
‘I’m very impressed. Very smart and nice colour.
I tried it out in the worst conditions possible, in very heavy rain with a gale force upstream wind.
These are the worst conditions for a fisherman because you are getting the storm in the face! It stood up very well. The wired hood was very good and kept the rain out.
I thought the sleeves stood up well without the neoprene cuffs and I actually liked the way the cuffs slacken and allow you to roll up a sleeve quickly. This is handy when you have to put a hand / arm in the water to return a fish. It also allows you to take off the jacket easier when wet. I’m not sure if all customers would agree with that, they might insist on neoprene but I did not find much water wicking up the sleeve.
The front pockets opened easily but it might be an idea to put another piece of velcro on the other side of the cover flap for bad weather mainly, although I noticed you had drain holes in the pockets. That is a good idea’
See more details on the Dee Wading Jacket on our website