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Merwin: We Need Studs on Boot-Foot Waders

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August 16, 2010

Merwin: We Need Studs on Boot-Foot Waders

By John Merwin

The felt-versus-rubber-sole wading-gear debate continues to heat up, now having garnered more national attention via a New York Times article published yesterday. The newspaper cites “...  fly fishers who pride themselves on a conservationist ethic...” as being concerned about invasive-species transport via fabric-soled wading boots.

First, this kind of stereotyping is really dumb. As if spin fishermen and baitcasters, who also sometimes wear felt-soled wading gear, have no conservation ethic. That’s ridiculous. Please, it’s not just fly anglers, although the fly-fishing community has certainly made the most noise on this issue.

As I and others have reported much earlier in various blogs and also in our print edition, there are increasingly good rubber-soled wading boots becoming more widely available. Most work fine but only as long as they have metal-studded soles. Unless you’re wading on nothing other than clean sand or fine gravel, plain rubber soles don’t work nearly as well as studded versions.

The rubber-versus-felt choice is also becoming not just an ethical issue but also a legal one. Vermont has banned the use of felt soles statewide starting in 2011. An Alaskan ban starts in 2012. By all reports, Maryland is expected to enact a similar ban very soon. Other states will inevitably follow. In some areas, at least, you’re going to be wearing rubber soles, like them or not.

One interesting problem at this point is the lack of studdable rubber soles on any boot-foot style waders. So far, the development of studdable rubber has been confined to wading shoes for stocking-foot waders. But I think by next spring you can expect to find studdable boot-foots. I know that Simms is working on this, for example, and surely there will be other manufacturers heading here as well.

Otherwise, those of us who sometimes wear boot-foot chest waders or hippers face an odd problem. Our felt-soles are banned and there’s no studded-rubber alternative. So then what?

Comments (15)

Top Rated
All Comments
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Environmental science is way too "fuzzy" for me. Too many folks more concerned about creating environmental work, and environmental agencies. Think of the dangers of scrapping off a cleat on the river bottom, and adding a dangerous element into the environment...something that renders a Snail Darter unable to breed.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report
from jakenbake wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

I'm not entirely against the felt ban here in MD as felt-soled waders were the likely cause of the spread of the Didymo (rock snot)algae. But yeah, it's gonna be a hassle getting new wading boots. It would be nice if BPS or some of those other big stores did a trade-in day or something to help encourage people to switch over, but even then there would need to be a suitable alternative. Then again, where there is an incentive, industry will provide an answer.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

I have very little knowledge of the science behind banning felt but feel comfortable following the TU recommendation of not using felt.

I see myself scrapping the felt off my old boots and applying either a rubber sole or a rubber sole with cleats. I and not throwing my entire boot away.

I wish there were more conversion kits available on the market.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnmerwin wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Well, whenever I do a product-related post, it seems I learn about something else. I was just reminded that Orvis (my neighbor) does indeed now offer a chest, boot-foot wader with a high-tech studded rubber sole. It's the Silver Label boot-foot model that you can find at orvis.com, or at this direct link:
http://www.orvis.com/store/product.aspx?pf_id=2K12&dir_id=758&group_id=7...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from countitandone wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

And in answer to a big box store exchange program concerning felt to studded rubber...yes, Orvis, Sportsmans Warehouse and Scheels will accomodate all of us. We, at my local tu affiliate, The Sagebrush Chapter, have worked tirelessly to promote that which now is law in several states. Washington State and my former tu Chapter has been garnering support for legislation against the spread of I.S. by sportsmen, FLY FISHERS AND BAIT HEADS since I joined ranks in 1999. Get with it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Better be careful or the environmental science naysayers like 'dtownley' and 'Zermoid' will be flame spraying those of you that heve been obviously deceived by the conspiracy to stop all fishing and hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

WOW! nest thing you know, you have to go barefoot and they woulds say invasive-species transport via under the toenail!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Why can't studs be inserted into rubber soles much as they do into snow tires for the winter around here? Of course it would be to a much lesser degree and as with either it would be permanent.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtownley wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Now WA, you are no stranger to the flame, we all have an opinion and yes, some just...are odoriferous. Fished the Ausable River in Mi. above & below Foot Dam for 15 or so yrs. and it is a noteable stretch of water with trout & salmon. If I.S. are a problem, wouldn't a diatribe be non-productive to the concensous that a slip-on or interchangeable(these ideas must have been brought up at some time ?) sole might solve? We are American Sportman, strong willed and ready to protect the sport as well as the species that feed the sport. I agree with some and am skepticle of others based on (sometimes unfortunately)scientific studies. WA, I have worked in research for 27 yrs and I will not believe everything I am told. WA, I will read what you write but we won't agree on everthing and yes I would fight for your rights to write it. Just me, the old raised in a trailer, graduated in Detriot, tattooed at 19, love our fighting men & women of the military(MARINES), gunshow trader, Christian, Native American Mutt, just like two or three other fellas in this Nation we call the United States of America. now a message fom our spon...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pandrews3 wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

While felt soles may be part of the problem, birds carry stuff - weeds, algae, fish eggs, frog eggs, etc...- all over the place for miles.I've caught catfish in a private pond where catfish were never stocked, but it was less than 2 miles for a bird's flight,and many egrets did make that flight.

MODERATOR - please ban "Christian"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

Pandrew..I'm on your side of the isle. The felts are a needle in the haystack thing, and making that a regulation would help only because it would drive a number of anglers to quit fishing. Over regulation in itself is forcing anglers to give it up...increases the expense, and takes the fun out of it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

Here's an example of the idiocy of the entire subject. In the state of Idaho, if you have a boat 10 ft. and longer, you have to buy an "Evasive Species" sticker for your boat. Pontoon boats under 10Ft. and float tubes do not need a sticker. Amazing how an evasive species knows not to attach itself to a craft under 10 ft. long.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tommy Jansen wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

Guys, I went fishing in North Arkansas last week. Blazing hot. If you havent ever heard of this, you should check it out. It's called a Cool Neck by a company called Delta Gear. They make stuff for you to wear in tough weather. I was priveledged to be able to test a new product called a "Cool Neck". You toss it in your ice chest, when you get hot, toss it around your neck, and it cools you down. Great product. Not sure if it's on their website yet, but it shouldnt be soon as i just tested it last week. They also have a VPac for cold weather hunting. Life saver to say the least. But for my fellow fishermen, check this site out, and look for the Cool Neck when it comes out. You won't regret it. www.deltagear.net
Happy and safe fishing everyone!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from square_peg wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

The facts show that didymo follows fly fishermen. I for one won't wear my felts in a second stream without first completely drying them (dry to touch +48 hours). It's easy to just pick up a second pair of felts while the first pair dries.

Why would any fisherman, fly or other, risk losing a good run to didymo?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from I love Fishing wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

You want studs for wading boots of all sorts? Check out waderstuds.com! Their specialty is providing traction for rubber wader boot soles. The studs they carry can be installed by the end user; you decide how many and what pattern you like to convert your slippery rubber soles into secure waders.

From their web site: "Grip StudsTM wide-auger thread design ensures your studs won’t easily back out like typical sheet metal screws; and unlike other boot studs, Grip StudsTM wader boot studs are made with a SOLID tungsten carbide core extending all the way to the impact surface, delivering the secure footing you need in slippery situations all season long. Grip StudsTM uniquely angled screw base prevents penetration through your wader soles during use."

Check them out.

0 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

from jakenbake wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

I'm not entirely against the felt ban here in MD as felt-soled waders were the likely cause of the spread of the Didymo (rock snot)algae. But yeah, it's gonna be a hassle getting new wading boots. It would be nice if BPS or some of those other big stores did a trade-in day or something to help encourage people to switch over, but even then there would need to be a suitable alternative. Then again, where there is an incentive, industry will provide an answer.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from buckhunter wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

I have very little knowledge of the science behind banning felt but feel comfortable following the TU recommendation of not using felt.

I see myself scrapping the felt off my old boots and applying either a rubber sole or a rubber sole with cleats. I and not throwing my entire boot away.

I wish there were more conversion kits available on the market.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from countitandone wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

And in answer to a big box store exchange program concerning felt to studded rubber...yes, Orvis, Sportsmans Warehouse and Scheels will accomodate all of us. We, at my local tu affiliate, The Sagebrush Chapter, have worked tirelessly to promote that which now is law in several states. Washington State and my former tu Chapter has been garnering support for legislation against the spread of I.S. by sportsmen, FLY FISHERS AND BAIT HEADS since I joined ranks in 1999. Get with it.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Jim in Mo wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Why can't studs be inserted into rubber soles much as they do into snow tires for the winter around here? Of course it would be to a much lesser degree and as with either it would be permanent.

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Tommy Jansen wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

Guys, I went fishing in North Arkansas last week. Blazing hot. If you havent ever heard of this, you should check it out. It's called a Cool Neck by a company called Delta Gear. They make stuff for you to wear in tough weather. I was priveledged to be able to test a new product called a "Cool Neck". You toss it in your ice chest, when you get hot, toss it around your neck, and it cools you down. Great product. Not sure if it's on their website yet, but it shouldnt be soon as i just tested it last week. They also have a VPac for cold weather hunting. Life saver to say the least. But for my fellow fishermen, check this site out, and look for the Cool Neck when it comes out. You won't regret it. www.deltagear.net
Happy and safe fishing everyone!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from square_peg wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

The facts show that didymo follows fly fishermen. I for one won't wear my felts in a second stream without first completely drying them (dry to touch +48 hours). It's easy to just pick up a second pair of felts while the first pair dries.

Why would any fisherman, fly or other, risk losing a good run to didymo?

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from johnmerwin wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Well, whenever I do a product-related post, it seems I learn about something else. I was just reminded that Orvis (my neighbor) does indeed now offer a chest, boot-foot wader with a high-tech studded rubber sole. It's the Silver Label boot-foot model that you can find at orvis.com, or at this direct link:
http://www.orvis.com/store/product.aspx?pf_id=2K12&dir_id=758&group_id=7...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from WA Mtnhunter wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Better be careful or the environmental science naysayers like 'dtownley' and 'Zermoid' will be flame spraying those of you that heve been obviously deceived by the conspiracy to stop all fishing and hunting.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from dtownley wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Now WA, you are no stranger to the flame, we all have an opinion and yes, some just...are odoriferous. Fished the Ausable River in Mi. above & below Foot Dam for 15 or so yrs. and it is a noteable stretch of water with trout & salmon. If I.S. are a problem, wouldn't a diatribe be non-productive to the concensous that a slip-on or interchangeable(these ideas must have been brought up at some time ?) sole might solve? We are American Sportman, strong willed and ready to protect the sport as well as the species that feed the sport. I agree with some and am skepticle of others based on (sometimes unfortunately)scientific studies. WA, I have worked in research for 27 yrs and I will not believe everything I am told. WA, I will read what you write but we won't agree on everthing and yes I would fight for your rights to write it. Just me, the old raised in a trailer, graduated in Detriot, tattooed at 19, love our fighting men & women of the military(MARINES), gunshow trader, Christian, Native American Mutt, just like two or three other fellas in this Nation we call the United States of America. now a message fom our spon...

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from pandrews3 wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

While felt soles may be part of the problem, birds carry stuff - weeds, algae, fish eggs, frog eggs, etc...- all over the place for miles.I've caught catfish in a private pond where catfish were never stocked, but it was less than 2 miles for a bird's flight,and many egrets did make that flight.

MODERATOR - please ban "Christian"

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

Pandrew..I'm on your side of the isle. The felts are a needle in the haystack thing, and making that a regulation would help only because it would drive a number of anglers to quit fishing. Over regulation in itself is forcing anglers to give it up...increases the expense, and takes the fun out of it.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

Here's an example of the idiocy of the entire subject. In the state of Idaho, if you have a boat 10 ft. and longer, you have to buy an "Evasive Species" sticker for your boat. Pontoon boats under 10Ft. and float tubes do not need a sticker. Amazing how an evasive species knows not to attach itself to a craft under 10 ft. long.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from I love Fishing wrote 3 years 34 weeks ago

You want studs for wading boots of all sorts? Check out waderstuds.com! Their specialty is providing traction for rubber wader boot soles. The studs they carry can be installed by the end user; you decide how many and what pattern you like to convert your slippery rubber soles into secure waders.

From their web site: "Grip StudsTM wide-auger thread design ensures your studs won’t easily back out like typical sheet metal screws; and unlike other boot studs, Grip StudsTM wader boot studs are made with a SOLID tungsten carbide core extending all the way to the impact surface, delivering the secure footing you need in slippery situations all season long. Grip StudsTM uniquely angled screw base prevents penetration through your wader soles during use."

Check them out.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from Clay Cooper wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

WOW! nest thing you know, you have to go barefoot and they woulds say invasive-species transport via under the toenail!

-1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Sayfu wrote 3 years 35 weeks ago

Environmental science is way too "fuzzy" for me. Too many folks more concerned about creating environmental work, and environmental agencies. Think of the dangers of scrapping off a cleat on the river bottom, and adding a dangerous element into the environment...something that renders a Snail Darter unable to breed.

-3 Good Comment? | | Report

Post a Comment

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