Keep your eyes open! Watch the end of season sales. As summer winds down, retailers start to blow out their fishing inventories. Great deals on tackle and lures. Oh yeah, great deals to be had on chest waders as well.
I am visiting family in good old Abbotsford BC. The lower mainlaind of British Columbia is experiencing a fishing obsession. With an ocean and rivers full of spawning salmon, the fishing opportunities are excellent. There are fishing clubs, resorts, and guides working the Fraser river and tributaries advertising everywhere. I decide to hit an old hunting store that I used to buy a lot of my hunting gear and ammo from in Abbotsford ‘Hub Sports’.
I go in and look at their inventory looking for a good deal on some decoys. Perhaps they have some gear in the basement they want to move. My experience is that these BC stores have ‘forgotten’ gear lying around and not a lot of bird hunters. Well the store did have some inventory but the ‘deals’ were not there. I got a conversation going with the owner’s kids (shocking huh?) and got the local intel on the local bird hunting scene. After finding nothing that caught my birdhunting eye, I decided to check out the inventory of fishing chest waders. This tiny store had about 30 different lines of chest waders and I inquired into a cheaper booted style. The owner’s kids searched through their inventory and found a pair of boot foot sized 10. Tried them on, perfect. SIDE NOTE – DO NOT wear a pair that is too large for more that 10 mins of walking. I tried Lyle’s waders on after going for a crippled birds. The Blisters were EPIC! Back to Hub sports. Price was decent at $115. SOLD.
Having a set of Waders for Waterfowl hunting does come in handy. We do most of our hunting over fields but this year with the help of Piper, we plan on working water hunts more. Even after a field hunt, we try and drive to a couple of the nearby water holes and look for cripples or dead birds that made it to water. A pair of waders comes in very handy there. If you got a pair of waders kicking around, excellent, bring them out for the season.
If you are going to buy a new pair, here is some advice. Don’t break the bank unless you are going to wear them for fishing as well. You are probably not going to wear these for the entire hunt, just for the start or end of it (setting up decoys, picking up dead birds and decoys). Breathable waders are great and so are neoprene ones for later in season. If you tear an expensive pair on a submerged stick or barbed wire fence, don’t come crying to me. If you wanna keep it cheap look for rubber or nylon waders and go for a BOOT FOOT. Sock foot waders are great for fishing since you will be using a wading boot over the sock foot. For hunting, keep it as simple as possible and minimize the gear you bring out with you. If can find a decent pair of boot foot, try them on. Just cuz you are size 9 doesn’t mean the sweat shop in China that made them have gotten the foot size right. The boots on those waders are not created equal. Some have insulation in the feet and some are painful and just horrid. Try them on!
Look for reinforced knees and butt, made sure there is a wading belt included, and a patch kit.The shoulder straps will usually be fairly basic. The pair that I scooped up at Hub Sports have padded shoulder straps and a padded wading belt. SCORE!
Colour can be important, no hot pink ones please. I don’t care if you got them for donating to Breast Cancer research. I like them hooters but keep those waders at home! Cammo isn’t too important, if makes you feel more like a man, then go ahead. There are some light tan or grey ones that are nice in the hot sun but not so good in the field. Try and get some brown/darker brown ones, or some dark green ones. Ones that will hide all the crap and stuff that we will be wading through.
We always look good when we are prepared and when one rolls up full kitted out, it shows we are serious and ready to go. We usually do not use waders every time we hunt, but when we need them, we need them!