Fly fishing is very dynamic and the exact placement of your fly can make a big difference in the outcome. Because of this, standing on the shore usually doesn’t cut it – you need to get closer to the action. Unless you want to be completely soaked from the waist down, you’ll need a pair of fly fishing waders before you step into the water.
By keeping your legs dry and protecting your feet, the best chest waders for fly fishing allow you to move around in the water and find your perfect fishing spot. Besides being waterproof, the waders you choose also need to be comfortable, functional, and fit perfectly. To help you choose, this article will take a look at the best fly fishing waders currently on the market, guaranteed to make every fishing session more enjoyable.
If you’re someone that wants to be on the water and feel comfortable hiking long distances, I don’t recommend purchasing any of the boot foot waders available online. Most of the time, these boot waders tend to be cheaply made, and only come with rubber bottoms for the boots attached to the waders. Having only rubber-bottomed wader boots, especially depending on where you like to fish, can be very dangerous at times since you don’t tend to have a lot of traction when wading in faster water. Also, I’ve found through using boot foot waders in the past tend to be quite heavy. If you plan on walking and wading long distances, stockingfoot waders are the way to go. That way you can choose what type of wading boots you are looking for and ensure they’ll fit, rather than purchasing boot foot waders and hoping you purchase the size of the right wader along with boot size.
Fishing waders can be quite expensive depending on their brand and quality. Since I’m a full-time college student, I don’t have a lot of money, but what I’ve found is that investing in one decent pair of waders is absolutely worth the investment. I’m very rough on my equipment, mostly because when I’m not studying or in college, I’m on the water somewhere fishing. I used to fly through pairs of waders in the past since I didn’t want to invest in the more expensive waders. Finally, just this past year I ordered a pair of waders for around $400, and they have shown to have much better protection and are made from stronger material in comparison to my old ones. Was a little pricy but believe me, it’s much better than spending another $250 every other month because my waders got more holes in them!
When looking to purchase waders, ensure they have pockets along with a place for a wading belt to be worn with them. Having pockets with your waders makes reaching your gear significantly easier to do compared to searching through your backpack or fishing pack. Having a wading belt, especially if you plan to fish at places where you might fall in the water, it’s vital to ensure you have a wading belt to stop water from coming into your waders if you do fall in the water. It’s also a huge benefit as well if the waders you purchase have some sort of storage compartment you can use to store things like clippers, pliers, etc. Safety is a must though, which is why I really want to emphasize if you plan on wading sketchy water to ensure your waders have a place for a wading belt.
How To Choose The Best Fly Fishing Wader – Buying Guide
The material is probably the most important feature to consider when choosing the best fly fishing waders. It’s difficult to say outright which material is best because it depends on your fishing location and weather conditions.
Breathable Waders – If you fly fish in warm weather, you need premium breathable waders. The fabric of choice here is usually polyester that provides impressive water protection while allowing moisture to escape so the fly fisher get sweaty.
Nylon/PVC – Nylon/PVC waders are made from heavy-duty nylon fabric with a PVC coating to effectively keep water out. They are lighter and more comfortable than neoprene but don’t perform as well in cold conditions.
Neoprene – Ideal material if you’ll be fishing in the winter. While neoprene waders aren’t particularly flexible, they are the best fly fishing waders when it comes to keeping your legs warm.
The best fly fishing waders need to be lightweight – this makes it easier to walk in water, get them on and off, and pack them when it’s time to go. Unlike breathable waders, heavy models weigh you down and make it significantly harder to move in the water.
In terms of foot design, there are two types of fly fishing waders – bootfoot and stockingfoot. The best design will depend on your fishing style, terrain, and your personal preference.
Bootfoot Waders – Bootfoot waders have a pair of waterproof rubber or PVC wading boots built into the foot part of the waders. Their simple and affordable design makes them great for beginner anglers, short distances, and gentle streams.
Stockingfoot Waders – Avid fly fishers prefer the more expensive but more versatile stockingfoot fly waders. These have neoprene stockings or socks welded into the foot part of the wader. Even though you need to purchase a pair of wading boots separately, they’re the best fly fishing wader design for frequent use, deep water and difficult terrain.
Size and Fit
The proper fit in waders is neither too tight nor too loose. It should be only slightly loose but without extra materials. This relaxed fit will allow freedom of movement, allow you to sit or kneel without stressing the seams, and offer room for insulating layers when necessary.
Based on the depth of the water you’ll be wading in, fly fishing waders are sorted into three categories – hip, waist, and chest waders.
Hip Waders – This type extends from your feet to your hip where it attaches to your belt. They keep you dry from your legs to your hips and are a good style to wear when leisure fishing in shallow, slow-moving waters.
Waist-High Waders – As their name suggests, they extend from your foot to your waist, just like a pair of pants. These waders for fly fisherman the safest to wear as there is no risk of them filling up with water in case of an accidental dunk into the water.
Chest Waders – The top of these waders reaches up to your chest. The design is similar to overalls and has over-the-shoulder buckle fastenings. This is the most common wader height and all the best fly fishing waders reviewed above are chest high.
Fishing waders aren’t something you buy every day, so it’s better to invest in a pair that will last for a long time. If you’re willing to spend a bit more, you can never go wrong with reputable wader brands such as Orvis breathable waders, Hodgman fishing waders, or waders by Patagonia, Cabelas, and Simms among others.
In addition to water protection, the best fly fishing waders often have some additional features that improve their durability, enhance wading safety, or offer convenience while in the water. Some of these features include:
Reinforced Knees And Seat – Extra layers of fabric and additional cushioning improve durability in these high-wear areas.
Integrated Gravel Guards – Built-in gravel cuffs cover the top of wading boots to prevent small debris such as sand and gravel from getting in.
Pockets – Most fly fishing waders feature conveniently placed chest pockets, while some even have an inside flip-out pocket for keeping your phone and valuables dry.
Waist Belt – All the best chest waders for fly fishing come with a waist belt that makes them more secure and prevents the pants from getting flooded if you slip.
Color – The choice of color is mostly a matter of personal preference, but some anglers claim that your waders should blend into the environment so they don’t spook the fish.
Q: What Are The Advantages of a Fly Fishing Wader?
A fly fishing wader gives you the flexibility of stepping into the water and getting closer to where the fish are. It allows you to position yourself and cast the fly better so you can maximize your chances of making a catch. In addition to physically protecting your legs and keeping them dry, waders also provide additional warmth in cold weather.
Q: Do I Need Fly Fishing Waders?
Yes, if you plan to get into the water. Not only do the pant waders keep your legs dry and warm in cold water, but they also provide additional protection from the objects and creatures in the water.
Q: How To Clean My Fishing Waders?
After every wading excursion, make sure to rinse your waders thoroughly with fresh water to remove any residues or saltwater and then leave them to completely dry (both inside and outside). In addition to this, you should give your waders for saltwater fishing a thorough cleaning every two or three trips – hand wash them with a mild detergent or a specialty cleaner for waterproof materials. Make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions and never to use bleach.
Q: What Should I Look For In Fly Fishing Waders?
The most important things to look for when choosing the best chest waders for fly fishing are the fit and material quality. In other words, the waders should be comfortable to wear and keep your legs dry and protected when you’re in the water.
Globo Surf Overview
Fishing waders are a great addition to your gear that allows you to thread in the water and cast your flies more effectively. We hope that our guide and reviews helped you choose the best fly fishing waders for your fishing style so you make your fly fishing experience even better.
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Do you own any of the above fly fishing waders? How’s their performance on the water? We would love to hear your experience. Share with us in the comment box below.