December 16, 2019

Wader Insurance – Lessons Learned the Hard Way

If you are a traveling fisherman and wading is integral to your fishing method, there are some precautions you should take to avoid a ruined fishing trip. Waders or hip boots that leak slowly or get punctured can make for a very uncomfortable or aborted adventure.

Fifteen years ago, I was on just such an excursion, my first trip to the Rocky Mountains, to see if the trout fishing was as good out west as I’ve always imagined.

I stopped at a fly shop that happened to have a river directly behind it that snaked its way through a small town. After getting my license and some local favorite flies. I asked if fishing was permitted in town and I was told it was all public fishing. I was also given a map and directions to more remote fishing locations for later in my odyssey, but I was anxious to get started. I donned my waders and started fishing right behind the fly shop. THe fishing was great, but I had a problem. Unexpectedly, my waders had a slow leak, and it was more than a pinhole. The waders were a bit old and a close examination revealed leakage along quite a length of a seam, so I decided I’d better get a new pair since I had 10 days of fishing in front of me in remote country.

I’m a big believer in quality – buying the best of something that I can afford. Since I do a lot of wading and float tubing in all but the coldest of weather, I justified investing in a pair of Simms waders. They are available in several price points, and I purchased a pair right in the middle price range.

Simms Tributary Stockingfoot Chest Waders are a great choice for the budget-minded angler, at $179. They are durable, comfortable and come with the famous Simms guarantee and repair policy. Simms backs their products with a 60-day no questions asked replacement guarantee. If your waders leak in the first year, Simms repair them for free. After the first year, your waders can be professionally repaired for a flat rate of $60. For those who are able to fish 100 days a year, or for professional guides, you can climb the Simms price ladder with enhanced features for the most dedicated and demanding anglers.

Back to my story, those same Simms waders have been in hard use for 15 years. I have only had one pinhole leak which i covered with a small piece of duct tape. It worked! It stays on and stopped the annoying seepage.

Just one year ago, on a return trip to the same river, disaster struck. Literally my first step into the river on the first day of the expedition, Mr. Beaver left a sharp stick that was hidden in the grassy shallow shoreline and it punctured a hole the size of a quarter about ankle-high. Duct tape wasn’t going to fix this. neither was the best guarantee in the world going to help in a remote location. I resigned myself to an uncomfortable, colt and wet foot for the day.

A good-neighbor camper next to me had a tube of Aquaseal. The waders are supposed to be dry before you apply, then allow 24-hours to set. But on a relatively short trip, I didn’t have the time for that. The hasty Aquaseal repair helped a little, but I had a wet right foot the entire trip. That same camping fisherman offered a bit of advice. He said he always brings a back-up pair of waders for just such a situation. The good news is that when I got home, I was able to repair my Simms waders with Aquaseal. Even though it was a very large hole, by applying it to a dry wader and letting it set for 24 hours, the waders no longer leak.

I did take the advice of that fisherman and as I prepare for my annual trek out west, I bought a pair of the more affordable Frogg Toggs waders for a back-up. Should I experience another accident with my waders, I’ll have a fighting chance to keep my feet dry while repairs are implemented.

Whether you plan an extended fishing journey in remote country, a regional weekend jaunt or even a local outing for the day, consider investing in a back-up pair of waders. Minimally, a roll of duct tape, a tube of Aquaseal and an extra pair of socks can save the day.

John Scherrer

John Scherrer

Erie, PA John is a freelance writer and a life-long Erie resident who has fished across North America. Fly fishing, light spinning tackle, and ice fishing are his preferred methods to fish his home waters of Lake Erie.

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