When enough is enough

My wading boots are about 4 years old. I can’t remember the model name but they were made by Scierra. They have traveled with me to beautiful remote hill lochs, to less remote lowland lochs, to my local rivers and streams, and even to the odd night out. One boot has been missing a sole for about a season and a half, which has increased its soul value considerably.

But I think there comes a time when enough is enough. The left boot is in a particularly bad state, with the entire upper boot now threatening to come away from the remaining sole unit.

Both boots are currently held together with 2.5″ nails which I’ve hammered through the soles and into/out of the uppers. I feel I’ve had pretty good mileage out of them, particularly given that friends of mine with the same boots used them for barely a season before replacement.

So I’ve been on the lookout for a replacement pair which don’t cost the earth. On Sunday I made an misfortuned visit to an unnamed giant fishing shop in Glasgow. Due in large part to my own absorption in choosing tapered leaders I overshot the closing time and ran out of time to try new boots. So now I’m looking at mail order, or one of Edinburgh’s few tackle shops.

I quite like the look of the Orvis Clearwater boots (I have the same line in waders), but I’m not sure about sizing… Perhaps this week I will have to get down to the local store and try some out. The much-touted Orvis warranty seems like a good idea with items like waders and boots.

Many anglers seems to view items like waders and boots as completely disposable, only expecting a season or two out of a pair at best. Mr Corporate over at urbanflyfisher.com and I have discussed this before, both agreeing that anglers should expect much more of their often overpriced gear. A season or two for a £200 pair of giant plastic socks? Barmy if you ask me, but perhaps I’m already becoming a tight old git completely out of touch with the ‘modern way’.

9 comments

  1. Cutthroat Stalker (Scott)’s avatar

    Mike,

    Yes, you probably are becoming a tight old git–just like the rest of us!

    Those boots look very familiar. I went soleless for about a year (my wife would say I’ve been soulless much longer). I’m a bit concerned that I don’t see any signs of duct tape–I think you’ve got another 20-24 months left in those if you get some duct tape applied.

    I too expect my gear to last much longer than it does. I would like a minimum of 5-7 years before they looked like those boots. It’s more like 3-4 though. Good luck with the search for new boots (I ended up purchasing a pair of Korkers a couple of months ago–we’ll see how they do).

    -scott

  2. Alex’s avatar

    Power to you Mike!

    I had those same boots (a long time ago now – probably four years!). Mine only lasted a season or so, but then again I didn’t even think about repairing them. I think you’ve shown the angling World what can be achieved with a bit (perhaps a lot) of tenacity, some nails, and a desire not to get ripped off.

    I for one will be following your example and not consigning my current wading boots to the bin quite yet. Out with the nails and sewing kit!

  3. mike’s avatar

    Hi Scott, nice to hear from you. You are totally right, there is a gross absence of duct tape… and that’s just not acceptable. I’m going to remedy that right away this evening. I reckon there’ll be a good few trips left in those boots once the Duct has spoken. I’ve had my eye on the Korkers for a few years now, but have never got up the courage to shell out for a pair. Maybe that’ll have to change.

    Alex my man, great to see you still popping up around here. I’ve been thinking quite a bit about ‘the Loch’ up your way, possibly planning a summer adventure.. For some reason the hill lochs have really been calling my fishing heart this year (this may be related to the piss-poor opening to the season I’ve had).

  4. alan atkins’s avatar

    Mike, all very familiar !! I had a hell of a time traversing the mud flats on North Uist last summer in a pair of wading boots that were just beyond the pale !! In fact, to call them boots at all would be gross exageration !! My new Orvis ones seemed to be made of sterner stuff until this season splits , cracks and floppy felt soles have appeared and so I too feel the call of the duct. Being an equally miserable old git ( 40 now), I hope to make repairs and get the rest of the season out of them. Has anyone thought of just buying soem cheap pair of hiking boots in one size too big, might do the trick??

    1. mike’s avatar

      I’ve wondered about that too Alan. Certainly for wet wading (not that I do it very often) I think walking boots make a lot of sense. But I’m not sure whether walking boots as ‘permanent’ wading boots would last any longer than the commercial fishing ones.. Perhaps it’s worth trying though.

    2. Cutthroat Stalker (Scott)’s avatar

      Alan, my first pair of “wading” boots were indeed hiking boots. They were just a bit past prime for wearing them hiking and I had just started fishing. My neoprene waders didn’t quite fit in the boots, so I used a sharp knife and slashed from a couple of centimeters from the toe to within about 3 cm of the laces. This provided enough relief to squeeze my foot in. I used them for about 4 years and they were in good shape (other than the cut). I stopped using them because I bought a pair of proper wading boots – that lasted about two years. I should have kept the hikers!

    3. mike’s avatar

      That’s a great tip Scott. Did you add any felt to them or were they good enough with their inbuilt rubber sole?

    4. Cutthroat Stalker (Scott)’s avatar

      Mike, I used “as is.”

      Funny thing, they are banning felt in most places in the US (I’m sure it will be banned everywhere pretty soon), so the new “wading boots” are really just becoming “hiking boots” with an upscale price for us sucker anglers.

      For slick places, the hiking boots were not so good. But then again, the expensive Korkers I have with their “Kling on Sticky Rubber Soles: High friction rubber is designed to excel in and out of the water…” don’t excel at slippery conditions. I’ve nearly twisted my back out and dislocated a knee on two different rivers with slick bottoms.

      I’d imagine screwing some “studs” into the hikers would be just as effective. And cheap: http://www.questoutdoors.net/gear/articles/diy_studs/ (I have a friend who did that and they work fine).

      The hiking boots I had initially were all leather, so they also stretched a bit when they got wet. I’d just buy a slightly bigger size next time.

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