Simms arms anglers with facts about rubber-soled boots
Anglers across the country are gearing up for the start of a spring fishing season that will likely be different than past seasons – at least where gear is involved.
From Maine to Alaska, anglers wading into waters in 2011 will have to contend with regulations and advisories concerning the use of felt-bottomed wading boots. Maryland and Vermont have banned the use of felt-soled waders and wading boots starting this year and Alaska is set to follow suit in 2012. At least three other states – Oregon, Montana and Maine – are considering bans on felt-soled boots that have been implicated in the spread of aquatic nuisance species like Didymo (or “rock snot”).
Simms Fishing Products took the fly-fishing industry’s lead on this issue in 2009 – voluntarily removing felt-bottomed wading boots from their product line. As the industry’s leader in Vibram® soled wading boots, Simms offers these tips and tactics for anglers figuring out how best to go felt-free this year as the “rubber meets the rowed.”
- ALL RUBBER IS NOT CREATED EQUAL: Manufacturers have been making rubber-soled boots for years, but recent advancements in rubber-making technology have produced new rubber compounds designed for maximum grip in aquatic environments. Simms was the first fly-fishing manufacturer to partner with Vibram® to produce a rubber compound that provides ultimate traction.
- PICK A PATTERN: The lug pattern on the sole of a rubber boot can greatly affect how much traction a boot affords an angler. Look for aggressive tread patterns that provide grip in multiple directions.
- STUD AND CLEAT OPTIONS: Felt soles provided maximum grip when they were studded. The same holds true for rubber boots. Many of today’s rubber-soled boots are equipped to handle screw-in studs and cleats. Simms offers HardBite™ Studs and Star Cleats, as well as molded AlumiBite™ Cleats that are easily inserted into the sole of the boots.
- WHAT TO DO WITH OLD BOOTS: Some cobblers are equipped to resole old wading boots with new rubber soles. Check this link for a list of cobblers authorized to resole boots with Vibram® soles. Additionally, old boots loaded with a few flowers make for nice centerpieces on tables at Trout Unlimited banquets or in fishing lodges.
- KEEP IT CLEAN: While felt soles have been implicated in the spread of aquatic nuisance species, simply switching to rubber-soled boots does not make the problem go away. Now, more than ever, anglers are urged to “Inspect, Clean and Dry” all fishing gear – not just wading boots – after each use. Anglers are encouraged to log on to the Clean Angling Coalition’s site for more information, as well as cleaning and drying tips.
- KNOW THE LAWS: Maryland’s felt ban goes into effect March 21 of this year. Vermont’s felt ban begins April 1. Alaska goes felt-free across the state on January 1, 2012. New Zealand had been felt-free for several years. Other states and provinces are expected to follow.
About Simms’ line of StreamTread® footwear.
In 2010, Simms became the first fly-fishing manufacturer to discontinue the use of felt in its wading boot line. For 2011, Simms is offering seven models of Vibram® soled wading boots, including the new RiverTek® featuring Boa® lacing system and a women’s specific boot