Fly Fishing Wading Boots
I've noticed that youngsters seem to enjoy wading as much as fly fishing. Getting into a
fast flowing stream with water flowing around your feet and legs is a wonderful experience
for most guys and quite different from most anything else you experience fishing.....that
is, until you slip and fall in. There not anything wonderful about that. It's a fact anglers
drown wading and one reason that occurs is the anglers feet slip on the bottom and they
go down. This is where a good pair of wading boots comes in. They will help provide
comfortable, solid footing. The first and foremost consideration in acquiring a good pair
of wading boots is traction.
Felt soles are the best type of soles on wading shoes to have good traction on slick or
algae covered streambeds. You also have the option of adding spikes to many models of
felt soled boots. Wading boots should be extremely durable, dry quickly and resist
mildew. They should protect your feet from sharp rocks and sticks and other underwater
hazards. Wading boots are subject to more abuse than any other fly fishing item. We
suggest high quality leather upper sections but you will also find some of the new
synthetic materials is lighter, absorbs less water and also does a good job. The boots
should be well reinforced with extra heavy stitching. They should have solid toe and heel
support. Extra thick soles are better.
One thing that isn't acceptable with wading boots is having to walk around with extra
water in your boots. This isn't pleasant and it can also be tiring. The synthetic leather
upper type of wading boots absorb less water and can offer an advantage in this respect.
The boots should also be capable of draining fast to help get rid of the water. Boots with
mesh type construction built into the sides help accomplish this. By the way, remember
that if you fish cold water, and most trout streams have cold water, you may need an
extra layer of socks. Be sure you have taken this into consideration when selecting a size
to fit. A thin liner sock will also assist in taking care of extra moisture.
Depending upon the particular water you are wading, it may be advisable to use gravel
guards. They provide protection for your waders by keeping out sand and gravel that can
get down in your shoes and cause damage.
As most anglers know, there has been much recent concern over the spread of invasive
aquatic species. Wading boot manufacturers made an attempt to help solve this problem
by creating different types of soles for wading boots. Efforts have also been made to
reduce the amount of stitching and to reduce the pockets and other places that could
harbor invasive species.
Over the years, wading boots used synthetic nylon felt soles to help provide traction. This
was the standard material for wading boot soles. It was discovered that the felt is partially
responsible for the spread of invasive micro-organisms from one waterway to another. As
a result many countries and some states of the U. S., legislated regulations against the
use of felt on the soles for wading boots. Various types of sticky type rubber compounds
was used by various wading boot manufacturers to replace felt. This resulted in another
big problem. The new rubber type of soles failed in almost every respects to compare
with felt when it came to traction. To make it short and simple, anglers began to slip and
fall much easier than they did previously with felt wading soles. It also became very
obvious that this one change would have little effect in reducing the spread of invasive
At one point, carbide tipped studs were thought to be the solution to the problem with the
rubber soles. In some respects studs helped to eliminate the problesm with rubber soles
but in our opinion, the overall rubber sole wading boot construction, studs or no studs,
The single biggest push for non-felt sole wading boots came from the manufacturers
themselves. They did it under the name of conservation but many wonder, including us,
just how much financial gain from having new product was a factor. For two or three
years the manufacturers pushed the ban of felt soles, and attempted to justify it with all
types of what we consider mostly bogus justification. The ban on felt soles failed to the
point that in the year 2011, the nations largest wading boot manufacturer Simms
changed their plans and convictions and again begin manufacturing felt sole wading
The most important thing anglers can do to help with the spread of invasive aquatic
species is to learn how to thoroughly clean their gear.
Copyright 2013 James Marsh
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