Welcome to the second part of our series designed to help you get ready for this upcoming fly fishing season; today we are going to discuss waders.
For our part today I am going to discuss stockingfoot waders and not boot waders. You may own and do well with boot waders but I personally am a big fan of stockingfoot waders and the number one reason is that it allows me to wear my waders in my float tube and you couldn’t do that with a bulky boot wader.
There are basically two types of waders; breathables and neoprene. Both types have their good points and frankly I own pairs of each. I use my waders more due to the temperature of the water and my comfort level than anything else. In the summer when things are hot I primarily use my breathable stockingfoot waders; now there are many, many different companies selling these waders…but please believe me that you pay for what you get and for sure at some point you are going to have a leak or problem with your waders and will need a reputable company to help you out. For me…Simms is just such the company. Their waders, in my opinion, are simply the best. They fit well and look good and more importantly are comfortable. Let me interject here that as you will see in the video I love and wear 100% of the time a pair of Cabela’s underwaders or wader liners and typically I like mine to be the 400 weight fleece in black; I like these because I can wear them to and from the stream and they look appropriate. So….when it is hot use your breathable stockingfoot waders either on the stream or in your float tube. One more note here…be cautious in walking to the water while float tubing in your waders…I have to admit that I have had to fix more than one small hole due to the scuffing of my feet along the way.
What I have found is that there is a snobbiness out there amongst some folk that seem to turn their nose up when neoprene pops up. For me it is the end all and so moderately priced that it seems ridiculous not to have a pair, or two, in your arsenal. Neoprene is the best and sometimes only bet when the water is cold. If you fish a spring creek the water is consistent and somewhere between 54 and 56 most of the time…however standing in this cool water long enough will also tend to cool your core. For cool water I would recommend a 3mm pair; Cabela’s sells very good neoprene waders and moderately cheap with stockingfoot models in the 50 dollar range. If however you will be fishing in a tailwater or cold water I would strongly recommend you going to a 5mm pair and just like before a good 400 weight fleece pair of wader liners will help keep you warm and comfortable. I fish about half of the year in neoprene while in my float tube and staying warm on a long day in cool to cold water is very important.
As I said…your waders are probably going to develop a leak at some point whether it is from a rock in your wading boots (always check your boots each time prior to putting them on for rocks!), running into a sharp object in the water or possibly a clumsy fall. Getting them fixed is and can be a problem. One recent find I have made is a product call Aqua Seal and it is the only way to go. Fixing your breathables is relatively easy provided the hole is small…dab a small amount of Aqua Seal over the hole and let it dry…repeat as many times as necessary. With neoprene…the same hole can and should also be fixed with the same Aqua Seal product. Continue to apply small amounts until you no longer have the leak…with this product a little goes a long way. One emergency fix that I just read but have not tried…for your breathable waders; turn them inside out, make sure they are dry and place a bead of hot glue over the tear and place a piece of duct tape over the entire leak or tear…allow to dry and go. This is apparently a very good way to make a repair while out fishing or on the road.
So…now you have the skinny on waders; like always, if you don’t agree with everything…welcome to America where we are all entitled to our own opinions. I am basing my knowledge and like/dis-likes off of a lot of wear and tear; for me, most of my information has come at the expense of experience.
Join us next week as we discuss wading belts and safety, there is nothing worth dying over and we will go in depth into some safety concerns while wading.