Tag Archives: wading

Rivershed Boots

Product Review: Simms Rivershed Boots

Rivershed BootsI’ve been wearing the Simms Rivershed Wading Boot for about 3 years now and while I don’t quite agree with the Simms marketing angle, I sure do like the boot.

Simms describes the Rivershed Boot as, “An athletic design for anglers who want lighter boots to hike into the backcountry.”

At 62.4 ounces, it’s not clear to me what Simms is comparing this boot to. It is lighter than their Guide Boot, but only by a few ounces. I think it compares more to a heavy-duty backpacking boot—good for hiking into the backcountry, but not exactly light.

Just know that if you make this purchase thinking you’re buying a light boot, you’ll likely be disappointed.

Here’s how the Simms Rivershed Wading Boot performs:

Comfort

Awesome. The boots are fully lined with soft neoprene, and the soles have plenty of cushion for my needs. I tend to hike 2 or 3 miles whenever I fish, and I have never had a blister, hot spot, or aching feet at the end of a full day on the water.

Note: I wear extra-thick socks to fit these man-sized boots to my lady-sized foot.

Stability & Support

Excellent. The boot cinches tightly at the ankle, the footbed feels wide and sturdy, and the toe box is stiff and covered in durable rubber.

I’m not the most confident wader you’ve ever seen, so I’m always pleased with the foot and ankle protection these boots provide. I never wonder if I’m going to twist an ankle or crunch my toes while navigating a difficult streambed.

Traction

Out of the water, the StreamTread soles perform just like a serious backpacking boot. I’ve hiked on muddy trails and scrambled up and down steep stream banks without losing my footing.

In the water? You have to install the Simms HardBite Boot Studs or Star Cleats to get trustworthy traction. The StreamTread sole grips wet boulders just fine, but add a little slime and your foot will slide.

I put up with the slip-and-slide effect for a while (good balancing practice I told myself). But when I finally installed the Simms HardBite Boot Studs, they made a world of difference. No slipping. No sliding. Just a solid grip that I trust.

The bottom line: The Simms Rivershed Boot (with studs or cleats) is a great choice for anybody who wants a rubber-soled wading boot that offers comfort, on-trail traction, and serious foot and ankle protection.

You can purchase the Simms Rivershed Wading Boot from Fishwest and receive FREE shipping. (And don’t forget to buy the Simms HardBite Boot Studs or Star Cleats at the same time.)

Simms Taco Bag - Closed

Product Review: Simms Taco Bag

The Simms Taco Bag can really be described in one word. Simplicity.  The bag can be unzipped and laid on the ground in a large circle (a proverbial wader bag  tortilla) to provide an excellent place to stand when getting in your waders at the beginning of the day. When the time has come to call it quits the design of the taco bag keeps your wet boots and waders from dripping into the interior of your car.

Pros:

  • The mesh vents at the top of the bag help to prevent mold and mildew buildup.
  • The 40”x 20” dimensions are large enough to hold at least two sets of waders and boots
  • Price: At 29.95 this bag is an affordable solution for anglers looking for inexpensive wader storage.

Cons:

  • Since the bag has no sections it is hard to keep dry gear separated from wet gear.
  • Once zipped up the inside of the bag tends to get quite dirty from the waders themselves. However if you are diligent in cleaning your gear this does not really make a difference.

Overall this bag cannot be beat for anglers who are looking for a simple and practical way for storing waders and other wet gear.  This is just another example of why Simms is considered one of the best when it comes to fly fishing equipment.

Deep Wading

High-Water Fishing Tips for the Wading Angler

Spring run-off in the west and heavy rain storms in the east cause rivers to rise quickly and often without warning, raising the cubic-feet-per-second by many times, on occasion resulting in water levels reaching that particular river’s flood stage, which is when a river is commonly considered “blown-out.” While many anglers consider fishing high water to be hopeless, in actuality this situation can grant you the opportunity to catch fish you might never have a crack at otherwise. Before reading the following tips, however, remember that fishing high water presents safety risks. Therefore, it’s a good idea to fish with a friend and to not only know your limits as a wader, but to understand how the high water will affect the river’s “wadeability.” For example, if you usually wade a certain spot up to your thighs in normal cfs (cubic feet per second) flows, don’t attempt to wade it in high flows, as the current there will likely be too forceful to safely stand in and cast from. The three tips below will help you turn the tables to your advantage during high water flows.

  1. Up the diameter of your leader and tippet. When the water is high and off-colored, there is no need to fish 5x or 6x fluorocarbon in most rivers. A general rule of thumb is to downsize by at least 2x. So if you usually fish 6x, try up-sizing to 4x, or even 2x fluorocarbon if the river is dingy (some anglers I know use 12 pound test and higher, which you can often get away with). When the water isn’t clear, the trout can’t see your line well, so you should take advantage and use a heavier pound test, which will help you fight a fish out of a blown out river’s stronger than normal currents.
  2. Target the banks and secondary currents. When the water is up, the main current is often too strong for the trout to lie in. As a result, they tend to push toward the banks, where the flow isn’t as strong and the water isn’t as deep. Here, they can comfortably face upstream or circulate through the current and pick off food items. Trout often seek refuge in eddies as well, which is another spot to try. In large rivers, try targeting back channels or river braids when the water is up. You’ll be amazed at how many fish will stack in what looks to be just a small riffle along the flooded bank. If the eddy is suitable, you may even see trout facing downstream in the current, waiting for the eddy current to wash food up to them from below. If this is the case, you want to get a high-stick drift in the current, so your flies will be sucked down by the eddy and circulated back upstream.
  3. Give them the Good Stuff. When the water rises, the proverbial trout buffet opens for business. All kinds of goodies are washed into the water for the trout to eat, not to mention the various hatches that a rise in water will sometimes set off. High water is a classic time to fish a big, nasty-looking streamer (such as a double bunny or sculpzilla), but it is also time to fish heavily weighted nymphs (such as stoneflies and prince nymphs), as well as San Juan worms in a wide array of colors—just think of all the worms and grubs the high water dislodges from the banks and river bottom. For nymphing, be sure to put on a lot of split shot (so much that your cast may look kind of clumsy even) and move your indicator high up on your leader to adjust for the high water. Then try to find an eddy or a smaller offshoot of the main current and fish away. When you see that indicator twitch, give a firm hook-set to the downstream side, then hold tight…big trout are notorious for eating when the water is high and off-color.

 

A Brush With Death On The South Holston

We had anticipated this trip for weeks. Three days with my buddy Brad on the South Holston River, camping and fishing. It was late summer and the reports had told us that the large browns were feeding actively on surface patterns. The thought of hooking into a 20+ inch brown on a dry fly is something that any red blooded fly angler lives for. This was going to be our weekend for greatness.

We arrived at the camp and set up our site which was right on the bank of the river. Drift boats came by one after another and with just about every one that passed, a fish was caught. It was late in the afternoon and the generation schedule was going to make the river unwadable till morning so we loaded up our pontoons and headed upstream with the thought of floating back down to the camp site.

We went to a put in that was about two miles from the camp and our one man toons into the flow. The water was pushing pretty hard and I remember thinking to myself that it would be a quick float back to the camp. I had cast my line out as I rounded a bend in the river and saw a huge elm tree that had fallen into the water directly in front of me.

I tried desperately to row away from it but the current was swift and I hit it head on.

What happened next seemed like an eternity, though it was mere seconds. When the pontoon hit the tree, I was thrown deep into its branches, being plunged down into the water. I remember opening my eyes and seeing the bubbles rolling round my head and hearing that awful submerged roar of the water. To make matters worse, my legs were bent at the knees and wrapped under the trunk of the tree.

People talk about their lives flashing before their eyes; this was one of those times. I knew that panic was not the thing to do so I first oriented myself by letting my arms go limp so that I could detect the surface. My arms floated upward so I knew that I was upright, but still completely submerged. I thrust my hands out of the water and felt the sweet warmth of the surface touch my hands. It was then that I felt a branch of the tree and in what could only be attributed to the assistance of the divine; I pulled my 250 pound body up enough to free my legs and get my head above the water.

When I finally oriented myself, I saw that I was sixty feet or so from the bank, and several drift boats were trying to rescue me.  The problem they were having was the water trying to pull them into the same predicament in which I found myself.  I white knuckled the tree and watched boat after boat float helplessly past.

For over an hour I clung to the branch as icy cold water filled my waders and tried to pull me under. To make the problem more severe, the front of my pontoons had lodged under a branch about six feet in front of me and was loosening. It was obvious that they were going to break free, and when they did, the metal frame of the craft would hit me square in the face.

On the shore, Brad stood watching.  He had brought his craft to ground and was trying to figure out how to get me to the bank.  I tried talking to him but the sound of the water was so loud that verbal communication was pointless.

Finally, a father and son, riding in a home made drift boat, had the wherewithal to come up behind the tree.  They laid their oars across the branches and I slid over them into the boat.  The legs of my waders were bloated with river water, and I couldn’t stop my arms from shaking.  I had clung to the tree for so long that I could hardly open my hands.  Much the worse for wear, but I was safe.  They dropped my off on shore and stayed with Brad and I till they were sure I was okay.

Not ten minutes after I was saved, the pontoon broke free and totally ripped the limb I was clinging to to shreds.  My one of a kind Heddon Bamboo which was reportedly made for R.J. Reynolds of tobacco fame was splintered.  I was able to save the butt section with his name on it…but that is all.

Just like falling from a horse, I knew I had to get back in the water, which I did later that evening and thankfully my return to the river was met with much success.

The story of my plight spread round the local fly fishing community.  Evidently, I was not the only one who encountered the deadly sweeper, but I was the one who got the worst.  Almost a year after the event, I received an email from a guy who owns a fly shop near the river.  He asked a few questions about my perdicament and then told me that he had the frame to my pontoon in his store room.  I have yet to go pick it up…just not ready to deal with that.  I still will stir with panic when I allow myself to relive that afternoon…but who wouldn’t.

I have been to the South Holston many times since that day, and plan on an extended trip there in the fall…but I won’t do it in a boat.  I don’t think I will be ready to jump that hurdle for a long, long time.