Waders are like the holy grail of fishing tackle. Find a good pair and you’re onto a winner!
Getting a decent pair of waders nowadays is pretty easy, irrespective of the price. Most waders are made to a considerable standard, but with the higher end offering a few more ‘luxuries’ as waterproof zips, hand warmer pockets and padded straps. The usual rule fishermen go by is ‘Pay more and they’ll last longer!’… But waders don’t always read the rule book. You can pay upwards of £6OO for a pair Simms that last half or several seasons.
Waders leak for 3 main reasons
Usage – User problems/accidents
Well, this is an obvious one. Jumping of fences, forcing and shoving your way through brambles, woods and thistles will all puncture the lest and most vulnerable parts of any garment. Standing on the feet or main body of the waders when dressing or tackling up doesn’t do them any favours, sometimes it’s inevitable although try and avoid it!
Purchase waders that fit. It’s not always easy to try on a pair of waders before you buy, depending on the proximity of your local fishing tackle shop or dealer. Waders that don’t fit your body can cause all sorts of problems. If their too tight, the material will strain and stretch on the seams when you walk, kneel, climb or sit. The fabric isn’t that tough, it only needs to be stretched a matter of minutes and will already start to part.
This is a good’un. I speak to a lot of people who’s waders always seem to ‘go’ in the same places, around the ankles where the boot or stocking foot meets the waders, knees or along one of the many seams. Leaving your waders crumpled in the back of your car after a day on the water, tightly rolled up in a dry storage bag or tidily laying on the floor of your garage can create long thin leaks, usually around your knees, calfs and shins – with waders normally tight around this area anyway, the added pressure inside the waders of water seeping its way through your clothing isn’t very comfortable.
Hanging a pair of boot-foot waders by their braces puts pressure on the seals and joints around the boot, and will also stretch the braces. Putting this amount of pressure on the seams between the boot and wader fabric can cause leaks which are hard to repair.
Manufacturing problems are normally the first kind of problems seen within a pair of waders. Is the tape on the seams secure? Are the neoprene feet waterproof? Are there any holes? The list goes on, once purchased there’s only one way to test them.
The more the waders are used, wear on the seams and tape become more common. Most of the tapes on seams use a heat reactive adhesive which is heated and the glue then melts and sticks to the surface covering the seams. This should make it water tight. The more the tape flexes and stretches the more prone it becomes to leaks as the flexing over time causes cracks within the tape.
Get the most out of your waders
Keeping your waders stored correctly will help their life. Keeping them hung up correctly, on a clothes hanger or strapped to an over head beam letting them hanging (unless boot-foot) above the ground will give them a chance to dry out and reduce the risk of the material being folded or creased. Using a mat to stand on, on uneven or stony ground will help reduce the risk of puncturing the feet. Be attentive – look where you’re going; waders don’t like spiky things!
How do I find a leak?
Repairing your waders can sound quite daunting if you have many pin holes from thorns and such. If you have GoreTex waders, a thin layer of alcohol spray on the inside of the waders can reveal with small black dots, where the pinholes are.
Filling a bath with a few inches of water and squeezing from the opening of the waders pushing the air down the legs and submerging the suspected problem area under water can sometimes give away the puncture.
Can they be repaired?
Some repairs can – rips, tars and pin holes are all pretty straight forward to repair. A tube of Aqua-sure or Storm-sure a waterproof adhesive can be applied to the problem area in thin layers, inside or out. Most waders come with a small puncture repair kit which consists of a small tub of adhesive and a few strips of tape which can be applied over the seams or as a patch on holes.
Cleaning your waders
It’s not necessary to clean waders after each days fishing, but from a personal view keeping your waders neat and tidy can shows you look after your kit. Warm water and a sponge can wash off dried on dirt, mud and fish slime! Washing your waders in Nikwax Techwash at the correct temperature can help re-proof and clean your waders.
To get the best out of your waders, treat your waders with nothing but respect!