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MartinlfSeptember 3rd, 2019, 5:49 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2902
Hi, I'm fishing out west next summer and will mostly be in driftboats or relatively smooth bottom rivers. Don't want to haul my Chota leather boots out due to weight, especially when they are wet and I'm heading back to the airport to go home. I'm looking for an inexpensive and very lightweight pair of boots for the trip and easy streams back home. I have an old Pro line pair that have fit the bill in the past, but they are much patched, and may disintegrate at any time. Can anyone recommend a cheap very lightweight pair of boots? They don't have to be super sturdy.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchSeptember 7th, 2019, 4:52 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2498
Louis I'm assuming you are referring to wading shoes? I had the same issue with my Simms Freestones. They weighed a ton and I had to leave some stuff at home to meet the 50# max checked baggage rule.

I bought a pair of Caddis Explorer wading shoes with felt soles. They also come with Eco-smart soles, kind of like Vibram. They list for $70. I wish we had talked about your trip a little sooner as I just gave away my size 12 pair felts to a newbie. They work find for the river you intend to fish for most of your trip but I wouldn't advise them for wading rivers like the Madison or any western boulder strewn river.

I have a pair of #12 with the Eco-smart soles you can try to see if you like them.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfSeptember 9th, 2019, 12:15 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2902
Matt, thanks. This is just the kind of recommendation I was looking for. I hadn't thought of simply asking you--silly me. So here's a question I meant to ask you last time we talked. I'll be renting a drift boat for a few days, and will need a net. I have an inexpensive aluminum handled long rubber net that I may be able to disassemble and take, if the handle will fit in my bag. Do you know if WCA rents boat nets for a reasonable fee? I'll take my stream net for wading for sure. As for the boots, my Chota STL plus boots may be light enough to take. I'm still chewing on this, but I have plenty of time to decide. The Orvis ultralights look appealing in terms of weight, but I understand they are sized weird, plus they are costly. I think I'd use the Caddis boots some around here too, so I'll look hard at them.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchSeptember 9th, 2019, 1:39 pm
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2498
Louis,

A long handled, rubber mesh, net is provided in the cost of a drift boat. I have left my Freestones at home the last three trips and used either the Caddis Explorer shoes or the Caddis Northern Guide felt sole shoes. The Explorer are the lightest but Caddis sent me the Northern Guide free as a good will gesture for an issue I had with another pair where the felt came unglued from the uppers. I like the Northern Guide. What size shoe are you? The wading shoes I have are #12 but they are made large to fit neoprene booties.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfSeptember 9th, 2019, 7:03 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2902
Thanks, Matt. So a boat net is one less thing to worry about and pack. I wear a size 12 in most boots. My Chotas are very roomy, and the Orvis Pro boots I bought from Bruce are snug, but OK.

I did some research and the Caddis boots have had mixed reviews, mostly in regard to quality control. One idea I have is to find something very inexpensive and light primarily for the trip. But I reserve one pair of boots to use only on SC due to the mud snail issue, and those boots are about shot, so I might spend more money and plan to use a more expensive pair of new shoes for Montana and, after I return, SC here in PA. Patagonia seems to have an ultralight boot that I may look into further. I have plenty of time.

We'll fish together at some point before then, and I'll take a look at the Caddis. The Explorers sound like what I'm looking for, and I'd get rubber soles. Do they seem like they're holding up? I'm very encouraged to hear that Caddis treated you right when you did have a problem.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchSeptember 10th, 2019, 9:42 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2498
Louis,

mostly in regard to quality control


Agreed. That is why they sent me two pairs for free because the felts came off the uppers after a short time. I have a pair of the rubber Eco-smart soles in #12 with removable cleats. They are in great shape and I re-glued the soles with Weldwood contact cement which holds well. You are welcome to try them and if you like them use them for the Montana trip.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfSeptember 10th, 2019, 7:54 pm
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2902
Thanks, Matt. I'm also looking at the new Simms lightweight boots now. They are 2.5 pounds, probably the lightest around with solid quality. Turns out the Patagonia boots also had quality control issues. I've always had good luck with Simms, and still have a pair of Riversheds and Freestones that I purchased about 6 years ago. They've been glued (contact cement) and restiched a time or two, but I still use them off and on. The Freestones are especially trouble free.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell
WbranchSeptember 11th, 2019, 7:34 am
York & Starlight PA

Posts: 2498
Yes, but the Freestones are quite heavy to lug around and also may bring you up to the 50# checked bag limit. They are totally unnecessary for where you are going to wade most of your trip. Since I got the free pair of Caddis Northern Guide shoes I have not worn my Freestones. I wear the Northern Guide in Montana, on the Delaware, and while steelheading in Ohio. I bought a package of 20 Chota carbide cleats and may put them into the soles of the Freestones. I like to keep one pair of wading shoes free of cleats for when I use the Hyde. Thank you for the feathers.
Catskill fly fisher for fifty-five years.
MartinlfSeptember 11th, 2019, 9:10 am
Moderator
Palmyra PA

Posts: 2902
Matt, you are most welcome for the feathers. I pulled out about half of what I had in the usable lemon ones. Most of the feathers they guy gave me were other colors. If you think of any other materials you might need ask, and if I have extra, I'm happy to send some. I appreciate all the materials and flies you've shared, and as soon as I get time, I'm going to start tying.

I like the Chota cleats, and have them in my Chota STL Plus boots, but have been trying the grip studs Dom recommended in my Orvis Pro Boots, which I've been using when I need more ankle support on the J or Penns. Take a look and see what you think. https://troutbitten.com/2018/09/09/gear-review-grip-studs-are-the-real-deal/ It is a bit tricky to figure out exactly what to buy though. They come in many sizes and styles, and were originally designed for other uses.

I'm starting to lean toward the Simms Flyweights. I'll likely be able to use them for years on SC and in drift boats. They are a little pricey, but are very light and I think will not need too many repairs. Next time I'm at TCO I'm going to try on a pair. Back to schoolwork now. I have a pile of papers to grade.
"He spread them a yard and a half. 'And every one that got away is this big.'"

--Fred Chappell

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