Since I started fly-fishing, I have tried A LOT of gear within the short amount of time I have been doing it. When I first got into the sport, I was clueless as to what undershirts to wear; what type of rain gear I would need; why polarized sunglasses were important; and I initially just borrowed whatever my husband, Andrew, had extra of and made it work.
Now, I have had the opportunity to try everything from different waders to socks, and I am now able to make worthy suggestions to others who find themselves in a similar place that I was in not all that long ago.
Here are just a few of my personal recommendations for gear that has worked for me thus far:
For starters: Waders eventually will leak. Simms, Patagonia, Cabela’s, etc. Every company has to design them to be breathable as well as waterproof, so unless you want to wade in head-to-toe rubber suiting, you will find that with enough bush-whacking and hiking through unbeaten trails, your waders eventually will leak no matter what.
Personally, I think each company that makes waders specifically for fly-fishing have their own pros and cons, and each person who tries them, will have different outcomes depending on a lot of factors. Ultimately, it’s impossible to make one recommendation for a single pair of waders that will please everyone.
So, here is my take on it all:
Simms makes the waders that I currently own, and after 2 years of solid hard wear (I don’t own a raft or drift boat, so I am constantly hiking in through trees, bushes, mud, rock– whatever it takes to get to the run on foot), and so far I haven’t had any leaks or issues with my G3’s. It is important to note: I have the men’s G3’s –NOT the women’s, so I cannot speak for the women’s design of G3’s which I noticed are slightly different in stitching and design.
I just recently got a pair of women’s Redington Sonic Pro waders, and I was able to try them out for a couple days on a recent steelhead trip in B.C. I haven’t been able to give them the “full test” yet, as they need more than a couple days on the water for the most accurate review, but as for comfort and fit: They are awesome. They are lighter-weight than the G3’s and for those who are on a budget, you will like the price compared to some others.
I have a Coudveil jacket that is no longer being made, which makes me sad, because I love it. It is light weight, Gore-tex and fits me perfectly. It also has a unique sleeve design than covers the velcro that tightens around your wrists, making it difficult for a line to get caught or tangled in your sleeve. Apparently, Coudveil fishing products didn’t sell well enough to make it worthwhile for the company to continue producing that particular line, but if I could help them change their minds, I would.
My next jacket will probably be the Patagonia River Salt Jacket. I like the design and the way it looks to be quite honest. It is similar in style to my Cloudveil, but doesn’t have the large outer pockets, making it easier to wear off the river and get away with as an every day rain jacket as well. And again, you gotta love that warranty Patagonia offers, making the price point easier to justify.
The bottom line is: Avoid cotton.
After hours on the water– warm or cold climates– you will thank me for avoiding a material that is great for every day, but not for fishing. You want fabric that is quick-drying, warm, breathable and has stretch. REI is a great place to find a variety of brands that make excellent layering pieces. They also have all the socks you will need to keep your feet warm and dry. I recommend “Smart Wool” for underneath waders as well as hiking or every day purposes.
I will start posting gear recommendations every so often, as I think it’s helpful for those getting into fly-fishing and also for those looking to replace or try out different gear.
If you have any specific products you would like me to review or compare, please contact me on W2FF’s contact page.
Online resources for the gear I recommended and retailers to check out:
Categories: Gear Recommendations