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Thread: Lessons learned: Wading belts, wading staffs...

  1. #1
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Lessons learned: Wading belts, wading staffs...

    Years back, when distant lightning threatened a golf round with buddies, we debated continuing play until the older one said, "Live to play another day!" Put it all in perspective for us.

    While reading a good PFD thread (http://forums.outdoorsdirectory.com/...764#post452764), I thought about stuff that helps us "live to play another day".

    4 days ago, I floated the Upper Kenai. A friend joined me, offering to coach some rowing tips if I'd give a few flyfishing tips. Great deal for me! In a late decision, his 16 y/o son joined us.

    Well below the Russian R confluence, we pulled up on a small gravel bar island. After working my way down the back/slough side, I put a cast on the main stem side to work my way upstream. Back at the top of the island, 100yds or so away, I saw his son, wading far out into the main stem (we were on a back braid), maybe 30 yds out on a gravel shoal, apparently to retrieve a fly.

    In slow motion it seemed, he then stepped into a hole, lost his balance, fell in, got up, lost his balance again, moved into another, bigger hole, began swimming, started to panic... before making it out. In the course of trying to help, a nearby fisherman also stepped into a hole, lost balance and fell in. Both were briefly caught by the current while neck deep, but made it out fine.

    Over the years, I've found myself more consistent about wearing a wading belt, but never needed it. The habit though, prompted me to suggest a belt to my raft-guests. When I asked the young man afterwards about his experience, he said the water was cold, but didn't really get down into my legs at first". Eventually it did, maybe that second fall, but it bought him a little more time.

    Wading staffs, I use when fishing alone more too... maybe it's age, having a family, or a couple of experiences, but same idea: "live to play another day".

    Good luck to all this season!

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    Member 9601's Avatar
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    I own one of those belts that has a CO2 activated (pull cord) PFD inside of it. I've never had to use it, but I like the fact that it doubles as a wader belt and is there in a pinch if I need it. I always wear it even if I'm fishing shallow water. It has become habit to put it on.

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    Member LItoAK's Avatar
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    Do you have any preferred brands for wading belts. Seems like some thing anyone who is walk in fishing should use.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LItoAK View Post
    Do you have any preferred brands for wading belts. Seems like some thing anyone who is walk in fishing should use.
    If you're inquiring about one that has a CO2 activated PFD incorporated into it, Stearns makes the one that I own. You can find them at Sportsman's Warehouse.

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    Member danattherock's Avatar
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    Neat story. Something we all should be mindful of. Thanks for posting.
    The two loudest sounds known to man: a gun that goes bang when it is supposed to go click and a gun that goes click when it is supposed to go bang.

  6. #6
    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Gear that's easy to wear...

    Quote Originally Posted by 9601 View Post
    I own one of those belts that has a CO2 activated (pull cord) PFD inside of it. I've never had to use it, but I like the fact that it doubles as a wader belt and is there in a pinch if I need it. I always wear it even if I'm fishing shallow water. It has become habit to put it on.
    Being convenient and easy to wear is a real plus. Stearns also makes a chest pack version with similar features. A friend of mine uses one because "I always have my flotation with me". Another uses a "Sospenders" brand vest, but the weight is more than I'd wear all the time.

    I suppose the "near misses" make us stronger. Sometimes it's the experiences of others that instruct.

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    Member raoul duke's Avatar
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    Default wading belt

    never been without one, neo or breathable, where else ya sposed to hang your gun?!

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    If your looking for new waders with the inflatable wading belt, these might interest you. I own the Drynamic Waders from them and love them, these came out after I bought mine, otherwise I might have gotten them instead:

    http://www.kaufmannsstreamborn.com/C.../Waders/WJWST/

    Fish On!
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    I like wearing a wading belt (and always do) for three main reasons.

    Safety: duh

    Convenience: it's where the dr. slicks or other tools go

    Wear and tear: Most folks don't realize that if you let your waders slump down by not using a belt and just the suspenders, your knees tend to bag and thus rub together more, often causing a leak in these rubbed areas. Several waders have now turned the knee seams to the back which helps but for what some of us pay for those waders it really helps to keep em intact.

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    Those of you that do wear chest high waders, why do you bother with them when you fish rivers? From my expirience in moving water, there's not much chance of getting above your waist due to water velocity, center of balance issues, etc.

    I have been wearing waist high waders for years and they are so much more comfortable, easy to walk in, easy to get in and out of, the wading belt can't be forgotten since that's what holds your waders up, etc...the list goes on and on for the advantages. Maybe some of you guys can open my eyes, I have some chest highs for lakes but on the river all they are is cumbersome to me.

    I agree though...always wear the belt if you're using chest highs!!

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    Member bigcox's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishnPhil View Post
    Those of you that do wear chest high waders, why do you bother with them when you fish rivers? From my expirience in moving water, there's not much chance of getting above your waist due to water velocity, center of balance issues, etc.

    I have been wearing waist high waders for years and they are so much more comfortable, easy to walk in, easy to get in and out of, the wading belt can't be forgotten since that's what holds your waders up, etc...the list goes on and on for the advantages. Maybe some of you guys can open my eyes, I have some chest highs for lakes but on the river all they are is cumbersome to me.

    I agree though...always wear the belt if you're using chest highs!!
    You don't always need chest waders, but I wouldn't want to go to any place knowing that I may be limited to the areas I can fish because my waist high waders aren't high enough to get me to a hole to fish. A couple weekends ago, all the good fishing was in a spot where you have to cross water that goes up to your thighs, I crossed it with no problems, my buddy had hip waders and got completely soaked(fast current pushed the water over). It's all personal preference, if its hot out and I don't want the waders on completey, I can fold mine down and they become comfortable waist highs, with the wading belt holding them up. The deepest I ever go to is my waist, anything deeper and it starts getting a little to hairy for me...

    Fish On!
    You know your not catching any fish when you start talking about the weather...


    http://www.alaskansalmonslayers.com/

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    Member garnede's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FishnPhil View Post
    Those of you that do wear chest high waders, why do you bother with them when you fish rivers? From my expirience in moving water, there's not much chance of getting above your waist due to water velocity, center of balance issues, etc.

    I have been wearing waist high waders for years and they are so much more comfortable, easy to walk in, easy to get in and out of, the wading belt can't be forgotten since that's what holds your waders up, etc...the list goes on and on for the advantages. Maybe some of you guys can open my eyes, I have some chest highs for lakes but on the river all they are is cumbersome to me.

    I agree though...always wear the belt if you're using chest highs!!
    I have started to come to the same conclusion. The only time I have realy need chest waders is while dip netting. When I buy a new pair they will probably be waist high. I have had a few instances though where the water was deeper than it looked where it would have toped over waist waiders.
    It ain't about the # of pounds of meat we bring back, nor about how much we spent to go do it. Its about seeing what no one else sees.

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Why chest waders...

    While streamside fishing, esp summertime sunny days, hip waders seem a more comforatable option. Just when travelling along streams, or wading further out to retrieve a fly, etc that chest waders can be so handy.

    Hiking up an unknown stream, crossing at unfamiliar points, stepping into a hole or the occasional monster fish that takes you downstream into unknown waters... are the times chest waders best appreciated.

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    DO you all live in Alaska?....I do....and how often where you live in Alaska is it so warm that temperature has anything to do with taking clothes OFF? (ps, this is a rhetorical question) And please tell me where that is so that I may procure employment and female companionship in the area.....

    My more serious question is how often do you take a stumble while thigh deep, and the only thing that saves your butt from a thorough soaking is chest waders?....(this is also rhtetorical) I've got pretty good feet in a river but I still take diggers now and again, or need to cross somewhere and am angling downstream at belly button level bouncing along to get to the other side....at a depth I would never fish (or couldn't even stand) at and thus chest highs will keep me covered. Hippers are good for duck hunting, hiking, putting the boat in and out and breaking your butt on slippery rocks....that about rounds out the list.

    Any chest wader comes with suspender clips that will click into each other and thus making it a pants wader.....try doing the opposite with a pants wader......


    I find my chest high gore tex waders with a belt and good boots to be as wearable as street clothes and as adaptable as my imagination.

    And I always have a spare pair along so you hippers and pantsers are free to borrow them if you top out your stuff in my vicinity (seriously, wet and cold sucks, I understand)
    Last edited by Catch It; 07-13-2009 at 23:18. Reason: typo

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    Some good points guys, interesting. The biggest drawback to me seems to be lack of movement (unless the generic M-L-XL actually fits you perfectly) and getting hot in them. I suppose in AK getting hot isn't usually a concern like Catch It said. I have never seen the clips that make chest highs into waist highs, but I also don't spend $250+ on waders.

    The belts are very important on all waders, guy I know was lake fishing without a belt and ended up with his face in the water and butt in the air, and an air bubble in the waders keeping him that way. It turned out to be a funny situation but in a river I'm sure it would not have been.

    I've swam in my waist highs, bushwacking upstream and stepped where there was no more shore, right off of an undercut bank and into a deep hole, current flushed me downstream about 15 yards into another deep hole, I swam to the side and got out. I was very wet, but my waders never filled up, I was pretty amazed and make sure to keep my belt fairly tight!

    Be safe regardless!!

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    Member 6XLeech's Avatar
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    Default Simms web wading belts...

    Quote Originally Posted by LItoAK View Post
    Do you have any preferred brands for wading belts. Seems like some thing anyone who is walk in fishing should use.
    I like this one by Simms. Wide webbing with very positive lock up. I usually hang a wading staff and a sportsman's holster on it. Click and go.
    ...Four more months...
    Last edited by 6XLeech; 03-16-2010 at 23:15.

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    whenever i am fishing a river with current, cold water and water more than 4ft deep i always wear my inflateable PFD. It never gets in the way and you never know when you will need it. If you do need it your life may be saved.

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    Default Good points, even leather belts...

    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    I like wearing a wading belt (and always do) for three main reasons.

    Safety: duh

    Convenience: it's where the dr. slicks or other tools go

    Wear and tear: Most folks don't realize that if you let your waders slump down by not using a belt and just the suspenders, your knees tend to bag and thus rub together more, often causing a leak in these rubbed areas. Several waders have now turned the knee seams to the back which helps but for what some of us pay for those waders it really helps to keep em intact.
    Leather can be an option too if the "tools" get heavy enough. I started using an old, wide (Carhart's) leather belt. It holds my revolver holster better (less sag), and Buck folder better. Whatever works.

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    I'm probably gonna die
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Premium Member Wyo2AK's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ak_powder_monkey View Post
    I'm probably gonna die

    Aren't we all...



    I'd just like to postpone it as long as possible.
    Pursue happiness with diligence.

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