If you are a fly fisherman who has ventured out on the lake or lough in a boat you will know that from time to time you will get caught in a deluge of rain with little or no protection. This is why most experienced anglers will purchase good quality waterproof clothing.
These can come as a bib and brace set, a waterproof jacket and a hat. Another addition to these items is the need for good quality footwear as getting about in a boat can be tricky especially if there is chop on the water. It is for this reason this post is written to talk about flat boots for boat fishing.
Breathable waders for boat fishing are you sure?
As part of the waterproof clothing setup a lot of fly fishermen have gone for wearing a pair of waders which are waterproof and can keep you comfortable during cold wet days. There are many options in waders and a pair or breathable chest waders are ideal. The pros and cons for wearing breathable waders can be found here.
There are many anglers who would not recommend wearing waders in a boat for fear of falling in and them filling up with water and you drowning. I have a different opinion on this and if you are a good swimmer and wearing a wading belt they can actually help by keeping you buoyant.
Another use for an old pair of waders!
This aside I don’t want to risk anyone’s life over a difference of opinion but what I have found is an old pair of breathable waders that have started to leak a bit at the seams or have a few too many holes to fix can be used for fishing in a boat. What you need to do is cut the stocking foot from the wader.
That way you have an outer almost waterproof coating that will keep you dry and comfortable for those wet days on the water. If you did fall over board the water can escape from the bottom and so the risk of drowning is reduced.
OK you will not be able to use them again for wading but now the have extra life as a bib and brace set for the boat or even bank fishing. In fact I have used them around the house when power washing the drive etc. They are light, loose and comfortable and a better choice rather than wearing other forms of clothing that would leave me sticky.
Don’t damage the boat man!
With breathable stocking foot waders usually comes a pair of wading boots which are designed for wading in rocky rivers and lake sides so they are usually heavy, bulky and some have studs for extra grip. You shouldn’t wear studded wading boots to go in a boat as those studs will cause a lot of damage to the fiberglass or wood in the boot and not make you popular with your skipper.
If fishing in a rubber dingy which is very popular these studs can bust the boat and make for an awful experience. In fact they are quite often banned. Also as these boots are usually fairly heavy the thought of having to swim after falling in would not appeal to many or indeed me.
As an alternative flats wading shoes designed for fishing the flats for bone fish are an ideal solution. They come in mainly slip on form so there is also the additional bonus that there is no grips, laces or tabs to catch on your fly line as it lies in the boat during the retrieve or while playing a fish.
The soles are usually made from rubber and designed for walking around flats boats and sandy bottoms. These should have the ability to give you decent grip in a trout fishing boat even when wet. The upper material is usually made from neoprene and stretchy so easy to pull on and off and will keep your feet dry as long as you don’t go over the depth of the shoe.
They are light weight so you will not feel tired after a long day on the water and if the unwanted event of falling in happens they are easy to swim with. If you are used to going out in boats to fly fish I would recommend getting a pair of flat boots to make your fishing trip more enjoyable.