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FLY FISHING WADERS       Back to Categories

Choose carefully my friend--choose very carefully.

flyfishingthings.com/wader groupFor the beginning fly fisherman waders are one of those items that are a necessity.  Waders keep the fisherman dry, and warm. When fishing in cold water, this is important.  hip wader boot

There are 3 types of waders:  Hip waders, Boot waders and Stocking foot waders.

Hip waders only come up to, well, the hip.  They may or may not have felt soles.  They're primarily used for fishing shallow water. Therefore, because of their limited use, they’re not recommended for the type of fishing suggested on this web site.

Boot waders are waders that are chest high with boots built into the wader.  In other words you buy the wader according to the size of your foot.  They are not recommended for the type of fly-fishing talked about on this web site either, not because of the foot thing but because boot foot waders are not generally used to fly fish from a watercraft. I recommend you buy a pair of  waders that are adaptable and are useable for all types of fly-fishing.flyfishingthings.com/nylon chest boot wader

That brings us to stocking foot waders.  These are waders that have a “stocking’ foot made from neoprene, and are designed as a “wading system”.  That is they are design to be used with a wading boot.More about wading boots here.) Not all stocking foot waders have neoprene foot sections. The whole of the wader may be constructed entirely from a single material.  Neoprene waders for example. flyfishingthings.com/stocking foot wadersStocking foot  waders come in nylon, neoprene and breathable material such as Gore-Tex.

Nylon
stocking foot waders are relatively inexpensive, have condensation problems, and provide minimal protection against cold.  They are not breathable, and they can be punctured quite easily.  However, because of their price point; light weight, and pack ability;  nylon waders can be a good first choice.  They’re easy to repair and you can layer up for the cold water.

 Neoprene waders are wonderful for fishing in cold water. Fishing at ice-out is no problem with neoprene. However,  they have a tendency to leak in the crotch. (A construction problem alleviated  by now...I hope.) Fishing with neoprene waders in hot weather is a problem. Like nylon, they also, are not breathable.  They can be extremely warm;  more so than nylon. I’m speaking from experience. Like nylon waders, condensation will form on the inside of neoprene waders. Neoprene comes in two different thick nesses: 3.5mm and 5mm.  I recommend the 3mm because they’re lighter and more flexible, plus you can layer up for the cold weather if you need to.  5mm neoprene waders are the heaviest of all the waders. Finally, neoprene waders will take up more space in the gear-bag than nylon waders. Nevertheless, like nylon, neoprene waders are very reasonably priced(3mm neoprene for less than $50), and would make a good first choice. flyfishingthings.com/neoprene waders
A caveat, putting on and taking off neoprene waders can be a time consuming task.  They don't just slide on; you have to roll them on. 

 GoreTex (breathable) stocking foot waders are the Cadillac of waders.  They are pricey; costing 4 to 5 times as much as nylon or neoprene waders.  However, because of the breathable factor, you will stay dry and comfortable.    The fabric is very strong and durable. They are lightweight, easy to pack and easy to put on. .  Adding a layer underneath, fishing in cold water is no problem.  Did I mention they’re expensive?  I don’t want to hammer the expense thing too much because over time they will last longer than nylon or neoprene.  Plus, they’re much easier to maintain, and like I said, they’re also very comfortable.

Some additional factors for consideration when choosing a pair of waders are:  Do they have a built in gravel guard? This is very important if you intend to do a lot of  stream fishing. Getting gravel in your wading boots is very annoying. 

Are they belted?  Two reasons here: one to keep them up and in place for comfort, and two for safety.  If you happen to fall while wading (everybody flyfishingthings.com/breathable wadersdoes at one time or another) and get swept away in over your head; the belting will prevent the waders from filling up with water.  Belted waders can function somewhat like a floatation device.

Can the waders be adjusted to waist high(and still look nice)? This feature is useful when fishing in warm or hot weather. Take it from me, you’ll be a lot more comfortable if you can roll down and secure them at waist high without having shoulder straps hanging out all over the place.

Do the waders come with storage pockets that close?
 This one is important because you don’t want whatever you put into the pockets to fall out if you happen to bend over to retrieve something; like a box of flies that is floating away for example; or worse yet, a camera.

Are the knee and seat areas of the waders reinforced and flexible? This is important.  Many times you will be stretching  to step up onto or over something like a high bank, or over a log. You might kneel down to do something like admirer your catch.  Or sit down on some rocks or a rough pick nick table. All of these types of activities cause wear and tear on the waders.  The knee areas of waders if not reinforced, tend to wear out first, and you don't want  to be replacing a pair of waders after just one season of fishing.

 Shoulder straps should be fully adjustable to the point that they are not constantly falling off the shoulders, or cutting into the shoulders.

Waders get a lot of use.  Spending a little extra money and stepping up to a quality pair of waders is a decision you won't regret.

flyfishingthings.com/Man kneeling with trout.Remember, you’re going to be fishing all styles of fly-fishing in all kinds of weather conditions; it’s imperative that your waders be versatile enough to accommodate all of them.