When you being your search for the best fly-fishing waders, you may want to stick to a short list of the most important features and benefits. The reason for following limited guidelines? There are many excellent choices that will deliver the protection and comfort you need. You’ll have to narrow your search according to the factors on this list:
- Water and conditions
- Neoprene or breathable
- Boot-foot or stocking-foot
Why are water type and general fishing conditions important when selecting fly-fishing waders? While most quality waders will work well in saltwater for several years, you should make sure you clean and maintain them correctly. Neoprene is used to make wetsuits for divers and they make their investment last by thoroughly washing the suit and hanging it to air dry.
Fishing enthusiasts also get long-term wear from breathable waders. Again, cleaning and maintenance are important. Your decision between neoprene and breathable seems to be based on comfort more than the effect of freshwater vs. saltwater. For example, if you fish in cold water and the weather is cool or cold, you may want to invest in heavier neoprene waders. However, if you fish in all conditions and all seasons you may be more comfortable with a lighter, breathable product. You’ll sweat more in neoprene. It’s as simple as that.
If you decide to go with breathable waders so you can fish in all weather, plan on using fleece pants or some type of under-clothing when you’re working in cold water. Keep in mind it’s impossible to make those heavier, cold-weather waders comfortable when you fish on a warm day. You’ll also find breathable waders to be easier for packing and transporting, even if you need to bring along fleece under-clothing.
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- 1 How to Choose the Best Fly Fishing Wader
- 2 Top 5 Best Fly Fishing Waders of 2017
- 3 Conclusion
How to Choose the Best Fly Fishing Wader
1. A Major Decision
Not that breathable vs. neoprene isn’t a major decision, but once you’ve decided this you’ll have another question to answer: Boot-foot vs. stocking-foot. As you gather information on the best fly-fishing waders, think about the type of fishing you’ll be enjoying. If it’s fly-fishing, you want to get as close to the fish as possible, obviously. So you will be walking into the water and will need sturdy footwear.
You can get this result in two ways: Buy boot-foot waders or buy stocking-foot waders and a stout pair of water proof boots. Now the question of conditions comes into play. If you like things simple, get boot-foot waders. You can just step into them and go. However, these usually fit like separate rubber boots. They’ll be a bit loose and you won’t have great ankle support. When you’re fishing on rocky, slippery surfaces under the water, this may not be the best choice.
Many experienced fly-fishermen choose breathable, stocking-foot waders and get a separate pair of wading boots or wading shoes. These are designed specifically for wet conditions. You’ll have more ankle support and get better traction than with a generic pair of boots. Give plenty of thought to the type of fishing you’re going to do before making your final decision on waders.
Now, you’re going to have to make a money decision. As mentioned earlier, there are several great choices, from respected manufacturers, in both boot-foot and stocking-foot design. While prices vary, even with the same waders, you can set some general cost guidelines according to your budget and the amount of time you going to devote to fly-fishing. Prices can range from $100 to $300 or more.
Top 5 Best Fly Fishing Waders of 2017
1. Cabela’s Spring Run 5mm Boot-Foot Waders – Best for Saltwater
The goal is, of course, to get high-quality products at an affordable price. This is possible with all of the waders in this top-five list. Cabela Spring Run 5mm Waders are very rugged, boot-foot waders with padded knees. They’ll be great for cold water with 5mm-neoprene and felt outsoles for better traction. They have high-back construction and large, fleece-lined hand-warmer pocket.
This is a durable wader made to stand up to the elements, so you’ll always be dry and warm in colder conditions. Think steelhead fishing! Made with 1,000-gram Thinsulate and insulated boots in men’s sizes 8 to 14.
Stating that the Spring Run wader from Cabela is “Best for Saltwater” is just as difficult as choosing any of the five for a specific category. Two key factors came into play here – neoprene and boot-foot. This means that if you clean them and dry them properly after use, they’ll stand up to saltwater for several years. In addition, the boot-foot design should be fine for saltwater fishing and the surfaces you’ll encounter underfoot.
There are two key differences between this high-end wader and the previous example. These are breathable nylon fabric and they have neoprene booties with rubberized lining.
Seams are double reinforced to make these great everyday waders for the serious fisherman. You can even use a unique suspension system to lower them to waist-high for warmer afternoons.
Multiple interior and exterior pockets. Versatility is the key word with the Orvis Silver Sonic Waders.
3. Frogg Toggs Hellbender Stocking-Foot Waders – Best Overall
This popular, quality product with the interesting name features four-ply, reinforced shins and knees, gravel guards and several convenient pockets (including a chest pocket with fleece-lined hand-warmer pocket.
You also get a fly-box pocket (expandable) and an accessories pocket with zipper. Offered in a subdued gray color, you can also get boot-foot design with the Frogg Toggs Hellbender wader.
It’s extremely difficult to assign a “Best Overall” to any of the five waders on the list, simply because they’re all well-made and designed by people who understand what’s required for fly-fishing. But choosing the Frogg Toggs stocking-foot wader has to be based on what you get for the affordable price. Some waders offer very similar features and benefits, yet cost a bit more. So, price is a major factor here.
This quality product from one of the most recognizable names in outdoor gear is marketed as an entry-level product.
Yet, it still delivers all the requirements. Fit is excellent so mobility is not a problem.
They have neoprene booties with non-slip rubber bottom, for stability inside your wading boots. Three-layer knee construction and taped seams keep you dry.
Other features include built-in gravel gaiters, wading belt and large inside pocket.
If you’re looking for “pro” level waders and are willing to invest the extra money, the Simms Headwaters Pro waders are the way to go.
If you insist on “Made in America” you’ll satisfy that desire as well. Three-layer GORE-TEX fabric and extra-durable seam construction give you the comfort you need.
Chest storage pockets, pass-through hand-warmer and reliable stocking-foot construction with built-in gravel guards.
These waders can also be adjusted down to waist height for hot days.
This is probably the best place to discuss the choices for “Best” in a couple of important categories. When you’re shopping for high-quality waders for fly-fishing, you must include water conditions and weather conditions in your plans. You could select any of the above five products and your fishing trips would be enjoyable, dry and comfortable.
Consider the first mentioned waders from Cabela. They were included because they are of excellent quality and are available at a mid-range price. In addition, they’re boot-foot design, which makes them great for saltwater (neoprene and boots already included).
The Orvis Silver Sonic waders are outstanding waders with stocking-foot design and breathable nylon construction. This makes them ideal for almost all water conditions and weather conditions when you add a pair of quality wading boots on your equipment list. The price is a bit higher than other choices but you are making a solid investment.
Choosing Frogg Toggs for Best Overall was a difficult selection though price was a major factor here. These are not the cheapest wader on the list but they are very affordable for the serious angler. This brings us to the Cabela stocking-foot wader being marketed as an excellent choice for the beginning fly-fisherman. The price fits the “beginner” level but you still get a nice quality wader that will work for even the mid-range angler.
Simms Headwater Pro waders will probably have the highest price of the five listed, which could keep them from your “Best” list. But keep in mind that these are probably going to be your waders for all types of fishing for many years to come. Combine them with a good pair of wading boots and you have everything you need to stay warm and dry.
If you’re a veteran fly-fishing enthusiast, you may not have to pay as much attention to cost. You’ll probably choose based on previous experience and look closely at the benefits you get from the product you choose. With these reviews, the goal was to cover a range of features, designs and prices. Hopefully, one of these will be just what you’re looking for when it’s time to start casting.