Pro Tip: 5 Qualities of Excellent Waders
- Durability – A good pair of waders should last a long time; this will depend on how demanding your usage is. With all the bushwhacking I do, I’m happy to get 3 seasons out of a pair. Look for layered material, usually nylon, that is at least 4 ply. When you accidentally stick your waders with your fly hook, that 4th layer can make all the difference in saving you from a time-consuming repair job.
- Affordability – Your waders, no matter how expensive, will not last forever. Some expensive waders are great, such as the Redington Sonicdry Fly. Expeditious drying is great, however, three seasons of hooks, rocks, and briers will take their toll on $100 and $500 waders alike.
- Fit – Unless you only fly fish in Belize, you will need waders that suit a variety of weather conditions. Make sure that there is enough room to comfortably wear a pair of fleece pants inside your waders. Wear the fleece in cold conditions, wear a pair of thin cotton long johns or nothing in warmer conditions. This way you will get the most out of only one pair of waders.
- Stocking Foot – This could be a personal preference issue, but I think it is smart to have your boots and waders separate. With Boot Foot waders you are forced to replace the entire rig when something irreparably breaks or tears. Also, wading boots seem to last a lot longer than waders; keep the boots and replace the torn waders.
- Belt & Pockets – A wading “belt” is usually a glorified strap and clip that runs through a few belt loops around the waist of the waders . It can be very useful on hot days if you tighten the wading belt, unclip your shoulder straps, and roll down your waders to your waist. The belt will hold up your waders while you stay cool from the waist up. The most important pockets to have are one large interior pocket to hold and keep dry your valuables (phone, camera, license), and one exterior kangaroo-style pouch to keep your hands warm.
My Pick: The Encounter series of waders by Orvis performs nicely and touches on all 5 qualities mentioned above.
Test out your new pair of waders on the superb waters of Spruce Creek!