31 Responses to Self-Portrait in Leaky Waders

  1. Thanks Alesia! Good to hear from you.

  2. Try as I might, I can’t stop worrying that my waders are leaking. I mostly wet wade, but every time I put my wader on, I’m convinced they leak. Having said that, I’ve never had an issue with them and I’m fairly hard on gear. I’ve gone through two nets and two reels since I started fly fishing three years ago.

    • Waders are constant worry or concern. Your pair must be pretty good. I can buy Orvis or Cabela or whatever, and I get about a hundred wears at best. If they don’t develop a tear, they wind up leaking by osmosis, damnit. As I said, though, I mostly hike and climb along creeks, so after about a year or two, they’re cooked, unfortunately. Thanks Douglas.

  3. Les Kish says:

    Walt, I feel your wader pain. I too tossed a pair recently, although I did get a couple of years of pretty hard use out of them. A hundred days probably isn’t too bad.

    I still get excited whenever I see a fresh bear track. Those prints in the snow were nice and sharp.

    Happy Holidays if our blog tracks don’t cross between now and then….

    • Thanks Les. Yeah we have quite a few bears in our neck of the woods but, oddly, I didn’t see any of them this year. Oh, I had the compost barrel tipped a couple of times, but then, on one of our coolest days (just a few days past) I found these tracks in my back yard and followed them for a while. They were clear as day, and it was good to find them.
      Best wishes for a great holiday season in Montana, and happy wading in the new boots!

  4. Brent says:

    Do the leaky waders get the grease, or am I mixing my idioms? I see you’re “bear”-ing the winter so far.

    On a serious note to other readers: While I may be a biased source, these works of literature here are well worth the read, and make excellent gifts!

  5. I don’t know about the waders getting much more than the axe, but “bearing” the winter, yes! Pretty cool, huh. Probably the same fella that’s been sneaking around the yard and compost all season. And biased or not, thanks for the plug. Readers take note!

  6. plaidcamper says:

    Another fine post! Each fish, each set of bear tracks, and even the strange satisfaction of wearing out your waders probably mends our broken world just a little. That’s not superstition, but karmic fact! You certainly raised a smile up here!
    Thanks for this, and have a great week. Hope your bear finds a den to hole up in soon…

  7. Doug says:

    Hell with the waders, they can be replaced, but how’s the foot? You always have been one for rugged fishing and hiking so the waders don’t really surprise me. Cabela’s have great gear. So that’s a pretty fair decision. A bear in your midst? Also no big surprise. You only ran into his tracks and not his trucking speed, so I guess you can be thankful it wasn’t a face to face encounter. You’ll be back in those streams before you can say, Boo bear, boo, with a big ol’ brown or landlocked salmon on the line, sobbing, damn you Walt. Damn you.

    • Doug says:

      Sorry, has great gear.

      • Ha! Yeah, usually I’m bumping into them while they’re eating nuts and berries and have no carnivorous ideas on their mind, but it’s nice to pull up in their wake and be consoled with that. My foot’s fine, Doug, thanks for keeping things in perspective here. So far, no bad arthritic conditions from the wading/hiking madness. Knocking on wood, relying on good old Cabela’s, too. Enjoy December, hopefully from the quiet sidelines!

  8. Mark Miles says:

    Always enjoy your mellifluous way with words. Metaphor
    is the gateway to understanding, and you’ve got the key. Really enjoyed the gloating-getaway salmon too. 😁

  9. JZ says:

    Two hours spent on the water in December with leaky waders, are you crazy Walt! That’s bone chilling cold, but I have been there unfortunately without backups (smile-laugh). Hopefully those days are long behind me, but the fishing surely isn’t. We all scramble as anglers, especially during the holiday season, to find time to fish and cast inspired thoughts along with our flies into the water. Some gladly put down the long rod when the temps plummet seeking more pleasant days and less agony. I reckon I follow you Walt, a little agony goes a long way even when the adventure turns more agonizing in leaky waders. The pay-off is what drives us as fisherman. So don’t feel bad Walt. Look at it this way, that salmon waving the handkerchief while showing off his trademark backstroke, is a survivor like you. Enjoy the next 100 days on the water with your new waders and stop feeding the bears, lol…

    • “A little agony goes a long way,” for sure, JZ, at least in the case of the die-hard crazies with a fly rod. I don’t know what it is, exactly, about the cold weather fishing in flowing water, but the solitude and starkness of the landscape and water are stimulating. Getting older and being more susceptible to the cold, I do prefer fishing, though, when the air temp is above the freezing mark. No more fishing in blizzard conditions for me! Otherwise, yes, there’s a pay-off that allows the angler to wave that handkerchief to mundane life– as long as we’re careful and not taking undue risks. Then, like the landlocked salmon, we survive– without feeding the bears! Wade carefully, JZ, and thanks for the good wishes.

  10. loydtruss says:

    Good post, congrats on braving the elements, too cold for me!!! Thanks for sharing

  11. I once waded wet in a mountain stream in October. Then I woke up and swore I’d never do that again. By the way Walt, maybe this story will be in your next book. I’m waiting.

    • I’ve done that, too, Howard, swear I’d never do that again, never wade wet in winter, but then I was there getting soaked slowly, cussing about it, still trying for that fish, thinking maybe there’s a story here if nothing else, an anecdote for a future book, perhaps, who knows, and words from good people like yourself, for which I’m most thankful.

  12. Bob Stanton says:

    Ah, waders. The damn things always seem to leak in the boot or in the crotch, don’t they? Folks, let me add my two cents if you will. Any title by Walt Franklin will not disappoint you. In any of his collections, you’ll find tales of humility and reflection, humor and guts (yes, guts, as in he and other concerned people standing up to the state of New York under threat of arrest and violence, in opposition to a proposed nuclear waste dump site in their backyard). Anyone who ponders the natural world will relate to his writing; the fly fisherman especially so. With that in mind, I recommend the aforementioned River’s Edge and Beautiful Like a Mayfly – a couple of perfect books to help while away the winter hours as you dream of springtime excursions.

    • Gosh, Bob, thank you very much. And folks, as sure as any of my waders are guaranteed to leak within a year, I didn’t pay Bob to say any of this. However, if he’s willing to fish with me again next year, I’ll be happy to buy him a beer!

  13. Hey Walt – I’ve used the Loon UV wader repair several times now. This stuff is great for repairing pin holes (from a thorn etc) and has saved me from buying another pair twice in the last year. You can use a flashlight down in the waders in a dark room and look for any light shinning through to find the holes. Of course if they are just plain worn out there’s not much that can be done.

  14. Thanks Mark. I agree that a wader repair kit such as you mention is a handy thing to have around, especially for the thorn-puncture variety of problems. Most of my difficulties, though, seem to stem from apparent premature wear, and that usually marks the end of the trail. If I get a year or two, plus some fun, out of the waders, then they’re worth it to me.

  15. rommel says:

    “The fin’s wave was like a handkerchief dancing from the window of a departing train.” Love your musings on the one that got away. 🙂 I actually didn’t know what waders are. 😀 Merry Fishmas, Walt!

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