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Wading a River 101

Although the act of wading is as simple as walking in many respects, having water rushing against you while you're walking can be a wild experience. I've had people tell me how weird it feels to walk through water up to your crotch in waders, and I suppose this would be a strange experience if you've never experienced it before. To me its second nature, but I do spend quite allot of time wading.

Let's start with your waders, unless of course you like to go o' natural and just put on a pair of shorts and jump in. There are two main types of fishing waders. Neoprene and breathable. I personally prefer breathable waders as part of my fishing gear, but it's really a judgment call. Both types have their strong points. Waders either come with boot bottoms or stocking foot bottoms. The stocking foot waders require that you purchase a pair of wading boots as well. I personally opt for this route, because of comfort, but again it's a judgment call. In my opinion, it's a great idea to have felt on the soles of whatever type of waders you choose to go with. The felt helps with traction on wet and slippery rocks.

The most important thing to remember is to try to always keep in contact with the bottom. You want to have a stable foot hold before taking a step. This becomes easier and easier with practice and before long will become second nature. Waders with felt soles on them will help your grip tremendously, especially on slippery rocks. The felt soles help with gaining stable foot holds as well.

As the depth of the water and current increases, smaller steps will more than likely become imperative. Once I get to about waist deep I start to more or less shuffle my feet. That way I'm never actually picking up a foot. This way I have constant contact with the bottom. That way the current can't get "under me" and sweep me off of my feet and down the river.

Another important tip in heavy current is to "work with" The water. You're natural tendency is to try to fight the current, but this can have very wet results. Let the current push you downstream as you move across the river. In particularly heavy current, I will sometimes end up two hundred yards downstream of where I started. But I get across without taking that wet and wild ride on my back. Just remember the phrase "work with the water", and don't try to fight the water. If you attempt to fight the water, especially in deep fast current, the water will win. If you keep these tips in mind it should be able to avoid taking that wet and wild ride on your back that I spoke of earlier. Soaking yourself to the bone has to be one of the worst ways to end an otherwise perfect fishing trip.

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