Lighter Side
March 15th, 1999

Getting the Boot

By Jack Ohman
From Fear of Fly Fishing

There are two types of boots: those that permit the frigid waters of the stream to course through your toes, and those that do not. Leakage is a constant battle, and in warmer climates some fly fishermen just say the hell with it and wade without benefit of protection. This may present a problem when it's 38 degrees and you're breaking chunks of ice off your line guides.

Hip boots are prefered if you're in a dribble of a stream and you have to do a lot of walking. Chest waders, particularly the insulated rubber jobs, make you feel like Neil Armstrong and are difficult to remove should a Bladder Emergency arise.

However, the prime advantage of hip boots is that stepping off into a hole and slipping off a shelf won't require anglers with a better sense of balance to fish you out. That's embarrassing, but it's even more embarrassing to be seen floating upside down, trapped in your Goodyear Blimp-like chest waders.

The disadvantage of hip boots is that they limit your wading to the point where you might actually have to learn how to cast properly. Getting into cold waders in the morning is like trying to forcibly dress a seal in a spandex leotard. It isn't natural, and it's frustrating when you're doing it, but it's great fun to watch somebody else squirming on the ground, legs skyward, and snytax peppered with nasty Anglo-Saxon interjections.

There are the neoprene-leather boot waders, but they're almost too cute for works, and they make fishermen look like they've been dipped in chocolate. Fly-weight chest waders are great, but you have to wear old tennis shoes over them, and, frankly, you'll look like an escapee from a state mental hospital. ~ Jack Ohman.

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