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Caring For Fishing Waders and Boots

Aug 17, 2007
Waders and boots, to be of any use, obviously must be kept dry inside. In warm weather one often finds himself so damp that he may suspect his waders of leaking although usually it is only perspiration. Waders thus dampened should be opened and hung up so the air can get at them. Waders that are actually wet inside demand more thorough treatment.

I learned how to dry out rubber boots or waders under somewhat distressing circumstances. I was fishing a sheltered bay on Bass Lake, Ind., during a raw, northeast wind one day in the spring. I was casting from shore, wading out as far as the height of my boots would permit. I had a common grain sack tied to my belt to hold the fish which, despite the unpropitious circumstances, were striking well. As soon as the bag grew decently heavy I decided to go ashore and forgetting all about the bag tied to my waist, I turned, stepped on it, lost my balance and took what the youngsters call "a header" into the icy water.

By the time I drove four miles in an open motor car in the teeth of the cold wind a hot fire and dry clothing were welcome, to say the least. My host, Frank Hay, the dean of the northern Indiana anglers, then showed me how to quickly dry wet boots. First he emptied out the water and rubbed the inside of the boots with a dry cloth to remove as much of the remaining moisture as possible. Then he took sheets of newspaper and placed them on the hot stove until they scorched (they turn brown and give forth a "burned" odor when sufficiently heated) and crammed my boots full of this warm material. In a remarkably short time they were dried perfectly.

Heating oats, bran or sand and using in the same way is also recommended but the newspaper treatment is the best I have ever seen so I pass the idea along. Parenthetically, you will note that I do not recommend a grain sack for holding fish, in the chapter on tackle!

As soon as the angler reaches his fishing grounds he should remove his waders from the suit case or duffle bag and hang them up. Do not pack waders that are wet as they are liable to rot. As soon as the angler reaches home he should hang the waders in the open air until they are thoroughly dried. Do not roll them up when storing them between seasons.

Boots or waders with a leak are worse than useless. The best way to locate a puncture is to blow up each boot or wader leg with a tire pump and submerge in a tub of water when small bubbles will tell where the trouble is. The poorest way to find a leak is to have a trickle of icy water tell you about it.

A leak can be patched by either inserting a rubber plug, such as is used for patching tires, or by a round patch put on with tire cement. The quick repair discs, that fit both over and under the hole and tighten, are also handy. A temporary patch can be made with adhesive tape or canoe glue. Best of all, if the material will permit, is to have the puncture vulcanized by the garage man.
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