4. Clothing, Boots, Waders, Sunglasses, Jackets.
It is important to give serious thought to the clothing and jackets you will be wearing when fishing. Leaking waders don't help when one is concentrating on a rising trout.
The Second Rule my father taught me - Always overdress. (The first rule is always prepare your lunch on an empty stomach.) You can take off a layer or two as the day progresses. So if you are going to fish in the cold first consider layering. It serves to keep moisture away from the body or wick it away and then provide warmth. The advances in clothing for high performance outdoor activities such as skiing, snowboarding, mountain and rock climbing, cycling and hiking have made a range of excellent undergarments available for fishermen. We advocate Helly Hansen products. Helly Hansen is a European layering company which specializes in keeping the body dry and warm. However any ski shop will provide undergarments ideal for colder weather fishing.
In addition, try and limit bulk. For one fishing in the snow, too much bulk and then a crowded fishing vest over the top will impede movement too much.
Sunglasses. A most necessary accessory is a good pair of polarized glasses. They protect your eyes and in addition assist in spotting the fish in the water. Make sure that the glasses you have cover your eyes to keep out the glare and have good polarization.
Waders. There are many brands of waders on the market. However if you want to make an informed choice ask a guide who fishes 100 days a year. Many brands spring leaks after some use. Essentially the problem is in the welding of the seams. Despite what you might hear, the materials nowadays are fairly generic. It is the care taken in fabricating the item which makes the difference. Our guides prefer Simms waders and openly criticize other brands. To be sure, there are cheaper waders available but find out how sturdy the product is and assess whether it will satisfy your requirements.
Waders are either waist or chest high. It is a personal preference. I prefer waist high because I don't like the temptation of wading where I might get into trouble. In addition the waist high waders are not as hot in summer.
Boots. Boots are distinguishable by their soles. The soles can be either felt or composite material and studded or non-studded. When buying boots always try them on with thick socks and waders. One should always purchase boots one size larger than one's normal shoe size.
Foot comfort is important so spend some time trying out different brands to get the size which suits. In addition remember that leather boots will get hard with use. So unless you are happy to keep them wet or soak them before you put them on, you might prefer other more lightweight material.
The other thing to note with boots is that generally they are not made for hiking. So if you intend to hike into an area and then fish you might carry a pair of hiking boots with you. Korkers have developed a boot with an interchangeable sole which can be swapped from a hiking sole to a wading sole. They are expensive and have not become well established in the market place yet. If it is a good idea, I daresay a second entrant into the market will slash the price in due course.
Fishing Vests. The traditional fishing vest is a little under siege from William Joseph. They make a fashionable line of packs which are attractive to new entrants to the sport. On the other hand, companies such as Redington are producing a very reasonably priced vest which serves its purpose.
A couple of comments. First, I think that a lot of vests are too short because they anticipate that the angler will be spending time wading up to his sternum. Second, in colder weather, when one has additional layers, the vest which works well in summer might feel a little tight and constricting.
Therefore, if you are going to fish in all seasons and in different conditions, maybe get several vests or packs which suit your different purposes. Wading on the flats after bonefish requires a minimum of equipment and a water bottle. William Joseph has a range of packs which are perfect for that task. Similarly if you anticipate a float trip for a few hours fishing hoppers and nymph droppers or streamers, you will not need a vest full of flies and accessories. A small pack will maximize your movement.
On the other hand, if you anticipate fishing several hatches throughout the day and evening and are not sure of the patterns which will work, you will be like me and take along half the shop. You will need all the room you can get.
Therefore I suggest that you relax in your choice of vests or pack and don't try to get one which will suit all purposes. They should be considered like clothing. Take that which suits your purpose on the day. Look around and you will find very reasonably priced articles which will do the job.
We offer many of the products noted above for sale. Check our sale page from time to time to see any deals which might interest you.