Adventures in Fly Fishing
The last several months or so I have been putting off buying a new pair of wading boots. For the last year or so my current pair have been showing increasing signs of being past their best-buy date.
I've been wearing pair of Simms' Rivertek 1 BOA boots since around 2009 - and they have served me well. But after replacing the BOA fasteners once (incidentally at no cost - BOA have a lifetime warranty, so go to their website and they will ship you out replacement kits if yours fail), it has now gotten to the point that all the stitching has gone, along with most the tread on the soles, and it's only a matter of time before I end up on my ass going the wrong way down a set of rapids.
I had been mulling over what to get. We are somewhat limited in New Zealand to really two main brands - Simms, and the River Works. I did find a pair of Korkers recently in an outfitters in Turangi - but was told they are no longer being bought into the country due to the change in the exchange rate. Which is a shame, as they looked to be a solid pair of boots (just not in my size). So I revert t what I usually do - and that was to buy Simms. I am unashamedly a gear-snob, and I havent yet had a piece of gear made by Simms that has failed to impress. Sure, it's espensive - but you pay for quality, right?
I had been quite interested in the Vapor boot that Simms has recently brought out onto the market. This looks more like a hiking boot than a traditional wading boot - and is not nearly as high as some of the other boots Simms produce. And it looked light - which is something I was after. I find a day scrambling over rocks, as well as the long hike back to the car after walking up a rover several hours, to get somewhat tiring when you are wearing a heavy-duty pair of wading boots.
Finally last week I found that Totally Fly in Auckland had these boots marked down from $349 to $220.00. At that price it became too good a deal to pass up, so I bit the bullet and purchased a pair online. I'm yet to take them out on the river - but first impressions are that despite being a "light-weight" boot, they are still of pretty solid construction. In fact more than what I had expected based on the images on the website. I also ordered one size smaller than what my Rivertek's were - thinking I'd probably use these more as a wet-wading boot. As it turns out they are too big for this - but fit perfectly with my waders. I'll just need to get a pair of neoprene guard socks to wear with them on the warmer days when I want to leave the waders at home.
So, first impressions are a really nice boot that is lighter than most - but of a sturdy enough construction that they should last a good several years. I'm going to fish them "as is", and not add the optiona screw in studs and cleats that you can buy for them. I found that when I used these on my Riverteks that writhing a few months most of them had been ripped out. So overall not a huge fan. But if I find I'm not getting enough grip I may re-consider.