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Yak Attack Kayaks and flyfishing = ultimate stealth

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Topic Review (Newest First)
11-25-2001 02:07 PM
juro I've taken two swims in waders over the years, one out west in a fast river gorge, another on a bayside tidal flat that flooded suddenly. Two things I can say are (1) you can't be too cautious and (2) it'll never happen again.

Horror stories I've heard and witnessed:

A guy popping up from a 50 yard underwater drift with only his underwear on after he dumped his driftboat - stating that if his suspenders didn't snap he'd be dead when his waders filled.

Bayside flats wader hanging on to a bouy until the tide changed.

Dead fisherman found with his waders pulled down to his ankles unable to get his waders off and hampered by the waders.

*probably not a good idea to try to take them off in the water!*

Pete's heroic rescue at Chatham Inlet.

etc, etc.

In my humble opinion (in no sense do I claim to be nor want to be an expert in this!) the problem is not necessarily having waders on in the water, it's having waders that are full of water and having shoes that you can't swim in. If the waders remained watertight and the boots didn't keep you from making progress then it would probably help. Unfortunately the norm is that they fill up and big boots keep you from getting anywhere.

From a yak, I would think the #1 safety move would be stay with the yak. It probably wouldn't hurt to put a couple flares in the dry hold either if you are on the coast, cell phone is a real plus. GPS would make the event even less threatening, etc.

On shore, a few things I do for safety:

(a) CO2 pfd vest
(b) small roll of duct tape in my chestpack, enough to wrap tops of waders for three people thoroughly to slow or perhaps stop filling up. This only works on shore because you know the tide is coming and you have a moment to prepare.
(c) scuba style boots for flats - you can swim reasonably well in them
(d) compass, constantly take a bearing in fog or occluded vision - knowing where to go is half the battle
(e) whistle - approved designs that resist failure in water
(f) anal retentive on tidal flats on the incoming when on foot - know when to leave
(g) cell phone - watertight container needed
(h) will add a portable GPS this year
(i) use a proper branch or wading staff to wade in current, better yet don't wade where there is risk
(j) carbide studded felt soled boots in fast rivers, very rigid soles and support to prevent compression of the foot between stones
(k) most importantly avoid trouble situations and take safety very seriously

Most of those things are preventative, don't need to quote Ben Franklin there. Of the reactive measures, the pfd is without a doubt the best.

Like Adrian says, I've read the same about facing the feet downstream and trying to float to safety. That's exactly what they say to do when you are whitewater rafting and go overboard.

We've been lucky so far, knock on wood. Let's hope we never have to learn any such lessons the hard way!
11-25-2001 09:14 AM
Adrian I recall many years ago watching an Atlantic salmon fishing program hosted by the venerable Hugh Falkus. He demonstrated the effect of waders in cold water by jumping into a deep pool on a highland river in early spring. By the way, he wasn't wearing a wading belt.

The lessons learned were:

1) If you get dunked DON'T PANIC!! Easier said than done but critical to getting out alive. The additional weight of the waders when full of water is actually slightly less in water than on dry land.

2) Normal swimming techniques when wearing bulky fishing gear may simply not work. If you go over in a river, try to float downstream on you back - feet first - to avoid getting a crack on the head by rocks.

3) When you reach shallow water, don't try to stand up - crawl out on your hand and knees. Full waders weigh a ton ON DRY LAND.

4) Hypothermia is a killer.

I'm fortunate in never having had to take an unexpected swim but practicing these types of survival techniques sound like a very good idea. Smart kayakers practice rescue and survival techniques. Roop mentioned trying to swim in waders a pool. Practicing getting back into a kayak whilst wearing all your gear also seems like a good idea.

Maybe a survival techniques thread would get some interest - anyone know of any good links?

If I could afford the expense I would definitely go for one of the Dry Suits which serious yakkers seem to go for.
11-16-2001 01:23 PM
marvin I tend to view the "don't wear waders in a yak" thing as the fishing derivative of an urban legend. Waders (neoprene, anyway) are *definitely* the way to go in cold weather and/or water. First of all, closed cell foam (neoprene) floats, so you'll actually get a little extra flotation out of them. Make you clumsy? Sure, but whatever water goes in will NOT weigh you down while you're in the water. What they will do is to provide some insulation, which buys you time to get back into the yak. Wading belt? Yes, but primarily to minimize the intake of cold water.

This time of year, I wear my neoprene waders, a fleece, and a wind shell over the top. (PFD too, of course). Works like a charm.
11-14-2001 08:04 AM
Roop Look guys while I can appreciate your opinion, I strongly disagree with the assessment of the dangers of wearing waders in a kayak. Having first-hand knowledge, Iíve swam in both neoprene and breathables, I know for a fact itís not an issue. In fact, itís easier than swimming without them.

Flyfish America (the free magazine at fly shops) had an article where they tested nylon, breathable and neoprene waders and found that the ability to swim was in fact improved. Looked for it on their website but itís not there so you have to take my word for it.

Granted, there are exceptions to every rule but, if you are wearing a PFD and a wading belt, youíre going to have to work pretty hard to drown.

Slugs & hisses,

Roop
11-14-2001 07:18 AM
Nick I figure in the unlucky event that I go over in the Yak with the waders on, I'll be inclined to at least grab the boat. Once I have that, I undo the quick release on the wader straps, wiggle out. Maybe I'm naive and maybe I get knocked out by the paddle some how, but I figure I can lose my $50 cabela's waders in exchange for my life.
Nick
11-14-2001 04:32 AM
FishHawk Good advise Mark that's why I don't want to ware waders in a yak. Will probably get the Choata Mucklucks and zip off flats supplex pants.
FishHawk
11-13-2001 08:16 PM
MarkDoogue Roop, you're too nice a guy to have to drag a pond for. What ever you do, don't kayak with your waders on!!!

I've never tried it, but, I'd have to imagine you could take on enough water to counteract the bouyancy of a pfd. In a deep water situation you are guaranteed that the top of your waders will be below the surface of the water even with a pfd on.

Also, wading belt or not, water will get into your waders gradually. I've seen someone in real danger after falling out of a kayak, and he had shorts on. He spent a solid half hour trying to get back into his yak. They sent the Fire/Rescue squad out after him becuase of hypothermia. You won't be getting back into your yak in deep water unless you have deck rigging, your paddle, and a paddle float(all of which should always be in your yak anyway). Also, the extra weight of the water in your waders would most assuredly make hauling your butt into the kayak impossible.

Next summer, when it's 90 out and you are with friends, put your waders on in someone's pool and try to get back in your kayak. It's an awful big gamble to take, especially if you are going to be alone on the water. We just had a perfectly healthy 22 year old guy drown in Weymouth, and he was with two other guys in a canoe, and none had waders on.

Get some waterproof pants to wear in the yak over fleece.

~Mark
11-12-2001 07:49 PM
striblue Fish Hawk... shorts... naturally.
11-12-2001 03:57 PM
JimW I assume you would be wearing a PFD, if so the waders should not be an issue. I normally wear nylon pant in fair weather, more to keep the bugs off than anything else. If I am going to be getting out and wading I'll go with breathable waders. If there's a chop or rain, I'll throw on a wading jacket too.
11-12-2001 11:24 AM
Roop I don't think waders are an issue, may even be a benefit if you flip in this weather by protecting you from hypothermia. Wading belt REQUIRED!!

Before a fever and the high winds convinced me not to head out, I was going to do some trout fishing on my favorite pond this weekend.

I was planning on either waders or fleece pants with some foul weather pants on top.

Roop
11-12-2001 09:54 AM
FishHawk
what do you ware?

Trying to figure out what to ware in the yak. Do not want to ware waders in case the yak flipps over. I was thinking of a tall boating boat with zip off supplex pants and putting on the waders once on shore.
FishHawk

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