Fly Fishing Waders

There is a good chance you'll need fly fishing waders if you're not fishing exclusively from a boat. I even wear my waders when I launch my boat off its trailer in the spring and fall. Certainly in New England they are a necessity.

It may be warm and sunny, but when you're fly fishing you tend to spend lots of time in the water or at least getting wet in most locations. Unlike other types of fishing, for example spin fishing, you are going to be in the water a lot both because you have limited casting range and for line control. You can try wading wet, and it may work, but after an hour or two most of us will wish we had waders. Now in a boat it's a different story and if you exclusively boat fish then you can probably skip waders.

For fly fishing we are pretty much talking chest waders, Hip waders simply don't give the fly fisherman enough flexibility, and the few times I've tried them they always ended up full of water.

Currently I'm using Cabelas midrange breathable waders and I'm very happy with them. Durable, easy to walk in, I don't sweat my ass off, and comfortable. And not super expensive.

If you already own a pair of waders, for example for freshwater use or spin fishing, by all means use them. There is nothing magical about waders for fly fishing or waders for the ocean - they are just waders.

Chest waders come in both boot foot waders, which means that the boots are attached, and stocking foot waders, which means you need a pair of boots. Usually fishermen use boots specifically designed for waders - you may want to make sure they are designed for saltwater as any hardware on them may rust, but waders and boots don't last forever anyways. I'm happy to get two or maybe three seasons, one season when I'm fishing very heavily, out of my waders and boots.

Boot foot waders keep your feet warmer, if that's an issue for you.  Stocking foot waders may give you better footing. You have more choice over the boot style obviously as you're buying them separately. Many fishermen also like to use corkers for additional traction, especially on rocks.

Most fly fishermen prefer stocking foot waders but it's a question of personal preference. I used to strongly prefer stocking foot waders so I could use highly quality boots, but have switched to boot foot waders for my last two pairs. I find the built in boots on decent boot foot waders adequate, even when hiking a couple+ miles, and it's just faster and easier to put boot foot waders on. Also there are no problems with getting sand or rocks between my boots and boot foot wader, something that always happened, even with special gaiters to keep the stuff out.

Rubber and Nylon waders: These are the cheapies, and the best you can say is "they don't suck too bad." If you never use better waders you won't know the difference and they are OK, especially if you're not walking far or moving around much. Starting at US$30 at a Walmart near you. Make sure you buy some wader repair compound for your type of waders as eventually you'll need it. Nothing wrong with these entry level waders - they work.

Neoprene waders: Neoprene waders, before breathable waders were developed, were the best you could get, and still the best for keeping you warm. I've owned everything from the cheapies that would start leaking well within a year (hint: with cheap neoprene waders, buy some wader repair compound like Aquaseal and seal all the seams BEFORE you use them!).

I've owned the cheapest of the cheap neoprene waders to the top of the line Simms waders. Simms top of the line waders are overkill for striper fishing in my opinion, although I'd buy another pair in a second if I were, for example, doing a self guided September/October float trip in Alaska again where I'd be essentially living in my waders.

Breathable Waders: I'm currently using breathable waders, which I strongly prefer. If it gets cold, I simply wear polypropylene underwear underneath, and more importantly, I don't sweat like crazy as I do in neoprenes when walking in and out of fishing spots. There are plenty of reasonably priced and durable breathable waders available today, unlike when they were brand new, expensive, and in my experience very leak prone and unreliable.

For all around striper fishing at least , I'm sticking with breathable waders!

Waders, you probably need them, especially come fall when you have the best chance of a big bass but it's cold! Waders I've been happy with include Cabelas, Hodgmans, and at the high end, Simms. Cabelas has a great wader selection - I have trouble finding my preferred style and size locally.

But if you're getting cold and want waders right away, go to your local sporting goods or department store and grab any pair that fits. Even Walmart has a decent selection from about $30 on up.
Any waders are better than no waders when you don't have any and you're cold!!

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