Everyone's eventual problem: wader leaks. Yuck. [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Everyone's eventual problem: wader leaks. Yuck.

07-02-2003, 05:46 PM
My old (and I do mean old) Dan B's breathables now have their share of tiny punctures created by (I think all anyway) the points of very small errent fly hook points.

Casting about for a 'cure' on a simple way to find the hole and came across one post that recommended turning the waders inside out and lightly spraying them with rubbing alcohol. (Another way mentioned was to use a cotton swab/ball and dab about if you know the general location of the leak.)

Apparently the alcohol will evaporate at a faster pace where there's a leak and the area turns dark. Mark same, and patch. General recommendation was to use Aquaseal to patch the pin hole WITH THE EXCEPTION OF SIMM'S waders. Apparently useing Aquaseal will void the warrenty. Wonder why?

Any other fun tricks out there to find that tiny pin prick?

07-02-2003, 09:20 PM
If you have a backup pair of waders, you could always send them back to Bailey's as their customer service is second to none!!

The alchool trick works GREAT with Gore-tex but I have never tried it on a treated product such as the Bailey's, Patagonia etc.

Another trick that works really well is to take your waders into a dark closest or bathroom with a flashlight and run the flashlight along the suspected areas. Light will shine through where your pinholes are.

07-02-2003, 11:26 PM

The flashlight trick Ryan mentioned is one of the best and easiest ways to find them.

Another even faster way to find them is by doing what folks do to find small leaks in tire inner tubes. Put a little bit of dish detergent in the bath tub, a large basin, or some other suitable large vessel. Then gather up the waders by the top, hold the top closed and then place the waders into the soapy water. Any leaks will be shown instantly with a stream of bubbles. All you need do then is mark the holes, followed by drying and patching them with a dab of Aquaseal, SA's wader repair, or Loon Suncure.

I've used both of these methods for many years. By the way, I wear my breathable waders as long as I used to wear nylon lightweights. In other words, until the fabric startw to tear from age.

Neoprenes don't last nearly as long for me. It seems the stretching of the neoprene causes it to break down or fatigue and then seams to loose the ability to stay together after a couple years of wear. And even with using Aquaseal etc. on the seams to hold them together, the neoprene starts to split just beyond the seam repair.

07-02-2003, 11:30 PM
of these methods; but both seem like a bit of a pain in the butt ... unless you've got 'large holes' which these arn't. Suspect all were the result of the point of a #10-12 fly going ying, when they should have gone yang on a cast.

Like the tip of the finest needle.


07-02-2003, 11:38 PM
Call Bailey's first thing in the morning...they will take good care of you!!!

07-02-2003, 11:56 PM


07-02-2003, 11:58 PM

I have found the soapy water method very effective for finding those little hook point holes, or blackberry and salmonberry briar pin pricks for that matter. The flashlight method is also very effective; but it is much more tedious than the soapy water.

07-03-2003, 12:08 AM
A tub of soapy water it is tomorrow ... after I come back from the river.

07-03-2003, 12:10 AM

Now that you are no longer with the bank, you can find more rods that you simply must have. Or at least you will be able to use the ones you have to advantage. And I agree, wader repair should never interfere with fishing time.

07-03-2003, 12:12 AM
....plus, when you walk out of the closest with a pair of waders after spending 15 minutes or so in there with 'em, Joan may begin wonder!!

..."Fred dear, is there something you want to tell me???"... :hehe:

07-03-2003, 12:14 AM

Only if he is wearing them when he exits the closet.

Willie Gunn
07-03-2003, 06:57 AM
I have had the same problem recently with my Simms Guides. I read the instructions about rubbing alcohol, we do not have rubbing alcohol in Scotland, drinking yes rubbing no. Its correct name is iso propyl alcohol. Simms Uk recommend this method, but no success.

I then blew the waders up with a compressor in the garage and popped them in a barrel of water, now if anyone had come in and seen me wrestling with these inflateable legs and a barrel: Fred explaining the waders and the closet would be a piece of cake.

Sanity returned and I sent the waders to Simms UK and they dignosed mutipin holes from THISTLES I have not decided whether they are making fun of our national symbol a bit like telling you they are caused by eagles pecking.

Cost of professional repair is less than cost of new guides but this is peak grilse season and , the cost of spare pair of Freestone Waders have added considerably to the bill. I may go for end of season proffesional maintenance from now on. The skin on my foot has started to grow back, it is amazing how soft it goes when soaked in water for a week


07-03-2003, 12:48 PM
My waders are also back to Simms for repair. New feet retape the seams, fix all the pin hole leaks =$75. Not too bad considering I've had these things about four years.

I found out though that Simms only warrenties their waders for two years. And the guy at the fly shop says "wow how old are these? they look like they have really been put to hard use" Duh,,,They are the "guide model" waders. One would assume a guide would be in them all day long seven days a week for the better part of the year(s). I guide I am not. And I was lucky if I got I day a week to fish before I retired.

But now that I am retired & can fish more often, and money being what it is, and new "Guide Model" waders costing what they do, And only being warrentied for two years, I doubt they will get replaced with the latest , greatest, top of the line, most expensive "Guide Models" the next time.

07-03-2003, 03:29 PM
Well, being a rather "Randy" Canadian fellow, I'd probably say "yes, please come into the closet ... I've got something to show you .....":devil:

Malcom, too bad you're on the other side of the Pond; I would have paid money for the ticket to watch that bit of work.

Should have noted: reasonable morning on the Rogue. One king, who took over a 100 foot of line/backing on his first run ... ya, he eventually popped 15# maxima main line leader ... and one small steelhead. The 'treat' though was where I hooked/released the steelhead was loaded with large trout too. First time I've hooked a trout in the main body of the river with considerable size to them. After the first couple (on the 13-9 Burkie) popped back to the car and pulled out my new Meiser switch rod and went after them with that. Now that was fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


07-03-2003, 07:32 PM
enjoyed seeing it, too! The only thing that can top trying to wrestle with air filled waders in a tub or big sink is the "old way".

I once watched a buddy, after I warned him not to, go into his basement, hang a pair of waders by the suspenders on a 16-penny nail in the rafters, and fill 'em up with water. "This always works", he told me. I tried to explain the pitfalls, but he picked up the hose and started filling.

That turkey kept filling 'em even though they started to sag, and kept filling "because the leak was somewhere in the crotch" until the nail pulled out, flooding the floor with water. We were in high school then, and were his parents upset! Fortunately, his dad heard me trying to talk him out of it, or I would have caught hell, too!

This buddy had several other escapades in his basement, especially trying to target shoot his .22 pistol when he "accidentally" shot the gas main and meter, but that's another long story of his misspent youth which involved the gas company, Fire Department, and various government agencies!

I ran out of a regular series of laughs when he moved away - and I can't really say I'm especially sorry about that.


07-03-2003, 08:58 PM

These would have been worth the price of admission!

I knew an old fly fishing Judge (he was 70 and had just been re-elected when I left Montana 12 years ago) when I lived in Montana who would have said, "That lad has a couple of tubes flickering".

For those who do not know what this refers to, I'll explain. Tubes were what were inside radios, stereos, TV's, and even computers way back B.C. (before computers became household appliances).

07-03-2003, 09:54 PM
follow him through life ("I ran out of a regular series of laughs when he moved away - and I can't really say I'm especially sorry about that." ) on this web site.

With luck you'll find him to be a lucky candidate, not an award winner.

Bob Pauli
07-04-2003, 05:06 AM
"General recommendation was to use Aquaseal to patch the pin hole WITH THE EXCEPTION OF SIMM'S waders. Apparently useing Aquaseal will void the warrenty. Wonder why? "

The alcohol and Aquaseal method of repair is prominently encouraged by Simms with the exception of seam repair, which requires return to the factory. I do not know why the seam exception is made.

07-04-2003, 05:55 AM
Hey, Bob Pauli -

It may have to do with the tape used on the seams.... perhaps it acts as a solvent for the cement used?????

That's about the only difference I can think of.


Willie Gunn
07-04-2003, 07:28 AM
Philip Parkinson who is Managing Director of Simms Europe told me that if the the seams are going to leak they leak when the waders are new, three year old waders like mine very seldom leak at the seam. {Although that was where the bubbles were coming from}.

I still have problems understading how gortex works? it lets sweat out and keeps water out, how can it tell the differance. If the hole is big enough to let the sweat out why doesn't air get out?


07-04-2003, 08:10 AM
That's like the old trout fisherman in the back woods. When we were fishing in a sleetstorm, I asked him if he would like a hot cup of coffee. He said yes, so I pulled out my thermos. He had never seen one before. When I poured him a cup of hot coffee, he was amazed and delighted.

He asked, "What do you call that?"

I replied, "It's a thermos bottle ... it keeps hot things hot, and cold things cold."

"Wow", he said, "But how does it know???"


Okay, enough humor... Answer is small porosity in the parent fiber - it lets water VAPOR molecules out, but not liquid water in. But it does lose some warm air in the process and due to evaporation of the perspiration - that's why standing in a January steelhead river, your feet/legs will get cold eventually.:D


Willie Gunn
07-04-2003, 09:42 AM
Reminds of the Irish bricklayer who's wife had bought him a flask, his friend asks him what it was, he replied that it kept things hot and cold. Wonderful said his friend what have you in it?
Ice cream and a cup of coffee.


07-04-2003, 12:01 PM
I forgot that you call them "Dewar Flasks" across the pond. Here in the 'states, we "colonials" always call them "Thermos Bottles" (because it was the first well-known manufacturer that came out with them over here).


Bob Pauli
07-04-2003, 09:16 PM
From the above url:

When it's GORE-TEX fabric, waterproof means waterproof....
the GORE-TEX membrane is extremely porous
it has approx 9 billion pores per square inch
the pores are about 20,000 times smaller than a
droplet of water
so water from the outside cannot get in because the
drops are far too big
this makes GORE-TEX outerwear waterproof
on the other hand, a water vapour molecule is about
700 times smaller than a pore
so moisture in the form of perspiration can pass
through the membrane
this makes GORE-TEX outerwear breathable
How it works?

07-05-2003, 06:31 AM
You got into it a lot deeper than I did, but that's the principle!