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fly fishing wading pants
Fly fishing wading pants are the answer to the question "how can do anglers spend all day in cold water?" Thanks to technological advancements, these wading pants are no longer heavy, unbreathable rubber pants dragging you down. Today, slipping on a pay of fly fishing wading pants is no more different than putting on your favorite pants.
Despite the advances in wading pants, anglers still have trouble knowing what's appropriate, and what's just decorative. To keep you from picking the wrong fly fishing wading pants, we've put this guide together. Let's dig in.
When is it Okay to Skip Waders?
Just because fly fishing wading pants are a regular part of most anglers' wardrobe doesn't mean they're absolutely necessary. Depending on your regular fly fishing spots, you may never need one at all. Here are some situations where it's completely okay to go without wading pants.
Warm water and weather
You can probably ditch your wading pants if the water and weather are warm. Wading pants are designed to conserve heat, which might be a problem on sunny days. The only reason to wear wading pants on sunny days is if you're worried about leeches, or some kind of stinging insect in the water. Otherwise, you can totally go wader-free.
Fly fishing in very shallow water.
Wading pants are intended to protect up to your waist. If you're hunting for game in shallow waters that don't reach up to your knees, you have absolutely no need for wading pants - even if the water's freezing. A pair of wading boots will suffice.
Fly fishing from a boat or at the shores.
Common sense dictates that if you have no hope on jumping into the waters with the fish, there's no need for wading pants or boots. Just make sure you don't change your mind.
If you've eliminated all the reasons for forgoing wading pants above, and decide you absolutely need one, check out the types of fly fishing wading pants in the market, and some key features to look out for.
Types of Wading Pants for Fly Fishing
Bootfoot waders: extend from the angler's foot, all the way to their chest. That is, a boot is attached to the pant, so there's no need to buy and attach a wading boot. As great as this may seem at first, the disadvantages are many. First the whole thing can be quite heavy. Second, it's harder getting into them. It'll be like trying to get into onesies/coveralls but made of wading material. Lastly, you can't separate them, meaning you can't use them for different occasions or if one part spoils before the other. If you're fly fishing in warm shallow waters, you'll have to bear the brunt of the whole wading pant and boot.
Stockingfoot Waders: instead of being attached to boots, they come attached to light neoprene stockings. So the angler can buy the wading boot of their choice and pair them together when needed. Stockingfoot waders come in many designs, some reaching the chest, others stopping at he waist. It has the advantage of being lighter than bootfoots, and you can choose to wear the complete ensemble or not, depending on the weather condition, and the water depth. If you want to upgrade your boots to a different size or type, you don't have to worry about giving up one section of the outfit.
Hip Waders: literally never get past the hips. Some may come attached with boots, while others may not. Hip waders are intended for slow moving, and shallow waters on slightly chilly days. They're a lot more comfortable to move around with, and 100 times easier to wear. If you have no plans to venture deep into the water, you can get this.
Neoprene: most fly fishing wading pants expected to be used in cold water are made with neoprene. The thicker the neoprene, the more cold it'll block out. The problem with this is that it's not breathable, so not only will you end up with condensation around your legs, you'll also won't be able to use this in warmer weathers.
Breathable waders: are made from materials like Gore-Tex. They keep water out, while allowing sweat escape. So you can wear it, stay warm and dry for a full fishing day. These tend to be more expensive, so be sure you need one.
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