April 02, 2022
Simms Fishing Products brought home nine awards from the International Fly Tackle Dealer (IFTD) show this week in Salt Lake City, including Best of Show for its latest iteration of its workhorse G3 wader. The G3 is celebrating its 20th year of production this year.
Simms's Diane Bristol also won the Lefty Kreh Industry Award, while Scott Hed of the Sportsman's Alliance for Alaska and Captain Benny Blanco of Guiding Flow TV were awarded Jim Range Conservation Awards.
Bristol is the Vice President of Culture and Community at Simms, and over her 30-plus years at the company she has been responsible for customer service, marketing, brand operations, and product development.
“I’ve known Diane for more than 25 years," Fly Fisherman Editor and Publisher Ross Purnell said. "We’ve worked together, fished together, and she’s always trying to either personally help the people around her, or boost the sport of fly fishing through conservation or through social outreach. I can’t think of a better person for the Lefty Kreh award—she’s spent her whole career building our sport up, and making it inclusive.”
She is currently on the boards of the American Sportfishing Association, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation, and Casting for Recovery. She has also served on the boards of AFFTA, the Warriors & Quiet Waters Foundation, and International Women Fly Fishers.
“I’ve owned Simms since 1993 and Diane has been alongside me, and this brand, every step of the way,” said Simms Executive Chair, K.C. Walsh. “This recognition is a direct reflection of Diane’s passion for fly fishing, dedication to Simms, commitment to sustainably progressing our industry and her determination to ensure a bright future for fishing.”
Previous recipients of the award include Jim Klug (2018) and Joan Wulff (2019).
Hed is the Founder and Director of the Sportsman’s Alliance for Alaska, which works to bring people and groups together to defend Alaska's environment. He has been at the forefront of the fight against the proposed Pebble Mine in Alaska's Bristol Bay region since murmurs first surfaced nearly 20 years ago. Hed's award was actually from the cancelled 2021 IFTD show.
Blanco, a veteran southern Florida fly-fishing guide, has championed the protection of Florida's waters for many years. He was worked with groups like Captains for Clean Water and ceaselessly advocates for healthy fisheries and educates other anglers on his TV show Guiding Flow.
Other winners included: R.L. Winston Rod Co.'s Air 2 for Best Freshwater Fly Rod; Sage's R8 Core 990-4 for Best Saltwater Fly Rod; Sage's Trout Spey G5 for Best Spey Rod; Sea Run's Expedition Classic fly rod & reel travel case for Best Luggage/Backpack; Redington's Tilt for Best Freshwater Fly Reel; Abel's ROVE for Best Saltwater Reel; Scientific Anglers's Amplitude Smooth Creek Trout for Best Freshwater Fly Line; RIO's SlickCast for Best Saltwater Fly Line; Scientific Anglers's Absolute Supreme for Best Leader/Tippet; Fly Pattern/Freshwater: and Blane Chocklett’s Changer Craw for Best Freshwater Fly Pattern.
For a complete recap and list of winners, click here.