I thought I would never do this but I am going to go on a bit of a rant here.
Now some of you may have heard this discussion and I got on the topic after reading about the new rubber sole wading boots. I need new waders and wading boots by the way. The beginner ones from several years back are horrible and literally are leaking through.
Ok well here it goes. My problem begins with Trout Unlimiteds ban on felt bottom waders. I know what your thinking "oh great another person discussing this", by the way incase I missed it and someone has already discussed this in the detail below then I apologize. Now to start out I will say that the aquatic invasive species that plague some rivers is a major threat to our beloved sport of fly fishing. I believe there needs to be a solution but it is not going to be easy. That's were the ban of felt bottom boots comes in. How is this going to solve the problem... it won't it's like putting a band-aid on a cut artery in that it won't stop the bleeding(what do you think of that analogy it's the best I could come up with that I have never really heard). This is a minor fix to the problem. First of all as you may know these invasive species can be transported on any part of gear exposed to these waters which include line (sharkskin is probably good for that), backing, waders themselves, eyelets in boots (along with laces and around the tongue of the boot), rough surfaces, nets, etc. So by eliminating one potential problem of many does not solve the problem in its entirety. Why also implement this change when the replacement is yet to be perfected. Realistically I do not see rubber as a suitable replacement so why do they continue to use it in their designs. They need to look into alternative materials and not just go for a quick fix. Now I have never used rubber sole designs and don't know anyone in my area that does. I am going by what has been discussed about these types and the reviews of individuals. First off I understand that they are better when walking out of the water. Great but the real danger is in the water... you know slipping and bashing ones head off a rock (could happen out of the water I know but it is easier to navigate on land) or being swept down stream in fast current that's the real danger. I myself don't have a problem walking on land in felts, even though it might wear them a bit. Sure I have slipped on some mud but really who hasn't. I have slipped down slopes with rubber sole boots on as well. There are also rivers and streams where I live with smooth ledge in them. I do not see rubber soles gripping these surfaces like felt. I really don't want to fall on this stuff. So you might say "hey this helps to stop the threat of invasive species so I am all for it". I can agree there but as I said it is only a minor issue and does not ensure the spread of invasive species. Plus lets also realize what is really the main cause of the spread of these issues............. Human's. Therein lies the problem. You may try your hardest to eliminate the threat but who says the next person properly cleans and dries his gear before heading off to another, uninfected, system. In truth there will, I believe, be people that won't. I hate to sound like I don't believe in the good of people but there are still people who go out fish a location and leave garbage behind, which I end up cleaning up. Can these people really appreciate what they have and will they do the right thing and clean their gear... maybe they will but maybe not. So maybe education is the most important factor in all this.
Since felt is clearly not the only reason for the spread of invasive species then why jeopardize someones safety over it. Some people feel far more secure in using felt and to me that is the safest way to fish. If you feel unsafe using some gear then how can you enjoy this relaxing experience when you are concerned about falling in. I am going to end it there and please feel free to leave either an agreement or disagreement on anything I say. I am open to your thoughts.
If you don't like these rants then that's fine and everyone is entitled to their own opinion. I just want people to think about things and whether some changes are really necessary.
JEff-- while I feel your pain-- the following will put the other side into perspective....
Originally Posted by Troutseeker
This is a minor fix to the problem. First of all as you may know these invasive species can be transported on any part of gear exposed to these waters which include line (sharkskin is probably good for that), backing, waders themselves, eyelets in boots (along with laces and around the tongue of the boot), rough surfaces, nets, etc. So by eliminating one potential problem of many does not solve the problem in its entirety.
I agree, but I still wash my hands even thought H1N1 is not spread solely through hand to hand contact....
//SNIP// Sure I have slipped on some mud but really who hasn't.
this was quoted just for the sole purpose of illustrating that no matter the sole-- you can, and will still stumble at some point....
//SNIP// it is only a minor issue and does not ensure the spread of invasive species. Plus lets also realize what is really the main cause of the spread of these issues............. Human's. You may try your hardest to eliminate the threat but who says the next person properly cleans and dries his gear before heading off to another, uninfected, system. In truth there will, I believe, be people that won't. So maybe education is the most important factor in all this.
Unfortunately, you are right about other people who are less than thoughtful-- exactly the reason that we need to 'regulate' suspected carriers... Also-- I doubt TU would target a 'minor' threat-- from what I have read-- it is one of the most accomodating harbors of the species in question.
//SNIP// Since felt is clearly not the only reason for the spread of invasive species then why jeopardize someones safety over it.
I personally would rather risk my personal safety (likely a scrape or a bruise-- sprained ankle... I'm well aware it could be more severe...) than risk potentially entire habitats and species of these great fishes...
//SNIP// If you feel unsafe using some gear then how can you enjoy this relaxing experience when you are concerned about falling in.
If you have no fish left to target-- how can you enjoy this relaxing experience?
Again-- no confrontation meant or needed-- I just think that you may be a little heated at the moment and, posibly need a moment to consider other factors. (insert 'cheers' smilie here.)
No confrontation felt, as I say I am open to other opinions. I really didn't expect anyone to say anything in order to avoid confrontation. I am not angry honestly maybe I came across that way but I am annoyed by these efforts. I am sure the TU has the best intentions but I think they have a lot more work to do. I would like people to realize that this is not going to stop the problem, at least in my opinion.
I was maybe a little heated but I can see the other side. I understand the risks to the fish and if the great rivers were to be depleted it would be horrible. I will however revert back to this and that invasive species will get in locations whether felt soles are used or not. In this case it just doesn't make sense to me to put a product on individuals if it is not as safe in some situations. If the rubber gripped just as good then I would love it but I worry about the grip. Falling in that ledge with fast water is a very dangerous situation.
Have a good one,
Jeff (and I am happy)
---------- Post added at 07:07 PM ---------- Previous post was at 06:30 PM ----------
I thought I would add something.
I am not sure on the rules. Is the ban a worldwide thing or just focused in certain areas. I am still waiting for a reply from my local DNR office. Where I live there is not a big problem with invasive species. Although I hear that didymo was found in a drainage somewhere. I have never fished that location but the news is not welcome. In the end I must say that I will probably get the rubber soles, especially if the ban comes into effect everywhere. I will have to be more careful I guess or put studs in, expensive buggers especially for just being modified screws. Plus I hear it is like being on ice when you use studs on smooth rocks and they are bad for boats. Can someone enlighten me a little on some of this stuff and how do you place studs. I have read to avoid the middle of the boot and place only on the perimeter to avoid loss of traction from the tread.
As you mentioned in you first post-- education (I had a typo when I spelled 'education'-- struck me as funny when I misspelled that particular word...)
is what it is all about.
Don't get me wrong, I think it is great when anyone fishes-- responsibly.
BUT, It has been my experience that fly guys tend to be more contemplative than the casual guy who throws stink bait with a heavy weight and a bell on the end of the rod. I'm not trying to type cast, but this is where we need to start the education campaign.
At the waters edge-- see someone leaving trash behind? gently correct them. see someone keeping something that they shouldn't? gently correct them. etc. you get the idea...
I find that there are many 'casual' fishers out there that don't give a second thought to conservation and sustainability. They can't be faulted, necessarily-- but they don't know any better... If they were made aware of potentials--I feel they would change their habits.
To get back to felt bottoms-- most guys that have and use them probably already have an idea about potential problems-- but It still doesn't hurt to talk about it, lest we forget of our impacts.
You're absolutely right that other materials are able to transmit invasive species like felt soled boots do (though I think Sharkskin lines are a bit of a stretch). Boot laces, neoprene gravel guards, and other parts of wading boots probably do a great job. But think about it like this- Every part of a sink that comes in contact with raw chicken is going to get contaminated- The sink itself, your hands, the cutting board, etc. But if you use a sponge in the process of cleaning any of it, its going to take 10x the effort to sterilize it that it does for the other surfaces, and its also a much better environment for the microbes to grow. Sponges and felt soles have alot in common that way.
You mentioned that you haven't actually tried the new sticky rubber soled wading boots. To be honest, that made me skim down until I saw a detour in the rant because you've just told us you have no actual experience with what you're ranting about.
I actually agree that I wouldn't feel as secure wading in rubber soled boots as I do in felts, where neither have studs. However, I also think studded felts are a HUGE improvement over the traction of plain felts, and once I get rubber soled boots, I'll be adding studs to those as well. The reviews I've read from experts I trust that have used studded rubber say they are about 95% as grippy in the water as studded felts, and last 4x+ as long.
Your idea about not doing anything to prevent spreading invasive species because so many other guys aren't is like saying that we shouldn't obey any laws because there's somebody out there breaking each one of them. Yes the breaking of laws interferes with achieving ultimate order and civilization, but the more people following them the better. The more people we have working to stop the spread of these critters, the better because less get spread and our fishing improves.
Ah true Bigcliff I have no experience but I could only go on what I have read from others and some of what I read made me skeptical of these boots. Plus it is hard to try out boots. I don't have the money to just buy the boots I want only to find out they don't work for me. I am mainly a person who is just concerned. That is all. Yeah sharkskin is a stretch but not impossible, never overlook the small stuff. As well I can see how felt would soak up more. This is no doubt the reason for the ban.
As you said:
"Your idea about not doing anything to prevent spreading invasive species because so many other guys aren't is like saying that we shouldn't obey any laws because there's somebody out there breaking each one of them. Yes the breaking of laws interferes with achieving ultimate order and civilization, but the more people following them the better. The more people we have working to stop the spread of these critters, the better because less get spread and our fishing improves." sorry forgot to do the quote thing.
I was simply trying to say it is going to be a hard time to prevent the spread if others are not doing their part. You can't keep track off what people do so it is trusting in them to do what they need to. It is hard to describe everything I want to say online.
I like to get people thinking about issues and dig deeper then just scratching the surface of the problem. Had to laugh at the bait fisherman part. I didn't want to say anything so as to stereotype but I clean up a lot of worm containers, line spools, and old lures.
Sorry if I really stirred the pot on this one. We should always be thinking about our impact on our environment. If I am wrong I don't mind to be corrected. The point being more research needs to be done then ditching felt to stop the problem. I wanted to get an opinion from others as there are many who are not happy about the issue.
You have to start somewhere. Felt soles is a start. It's just a responsible thing to do. New Zealand has been studying this since '04. There is a total ban on felt soles there.
There are biologists that have been studying the problem for years now. I'm not qualified to say felt is the problem or part of the problem or not a problem. I'm not a biologist. Just a fly fisher. I can armchair quarterback just as good as anyone, but because of what the biologists recommend or say, I'll listen to them. I doubt if many are fisherpersons anyway.
Now I have vibram soled boots I got for Christmas. I had 5/10 Sticky soles on my previous boots that I got in '01. I like the rubber. Especially fishing in winter. I abhorr felt.
Getting rid of felt is a start. Next work on the shoelaces, gravel guards etc.
I think the biggest problem is boats, motors, anchors and maybe even boat trailers. Boaters (not fishermen) don't realize the impact of this. Fishermen/women- at least fly fishers are the more educated group on the problem of invasive species than boater are I think.
Hopefully that will change.
Like the man said-You gotta start somewhere. The amount of contaminant carried in a felt sole is much larger than a shoelace etc, especially because it doesn't dry out as fast as our other gear. Decontamination methods-rinsing in chlorine solution, for example, doesn't work as well on felt because most people will be in the water longer than they'll be in the solution, and the solution doesn't reach into the felt as well.
I think you'll find that the new sticky rubber soles will grip much better than you expect. Well worth the tradeoff.
As for studs, I've been screwing 5/16X1/4" hex head screws into my felt soles for years. Works fine for me and I duck hunt in the same waders and shoes I fish in. Yes, they wear down after a few years, but they're a dollar a dozen! There are about 8 in each shoe. They don't hurt the bottom of my plastic canoe, but if I go in a boat, I can take them out in 2 minutes with my Leatherman.
I have been doing this long enough to have seen many kinds of calamities destroy fisheries. I remember the sixties when we were trying to re-build the Great Lakes tributaries after a 40 year onslaught by the lamprey eel dam near wiped out the game fish. There was acid mine drainage, algae growth that choked out everything, silt deposition from careless development and deforestation, and of course the famous aquatic defoliant spill at Letort Spring Creek. Heck, the list is exhaustively long, I could go on and on, how bout acid rain?
I remember when whirling disease was a series of isolated incidents on the periphery and have seen it become one of the greatest threats to the Rocky Mountain fisheries. Zebra mussels and Burmese pythons what the hey an invasive species is bad news whether it is an algae bloom or a thirteen foot snake.
Giving up felt soles and making other retrofits to our gear in order to curb the potential spread of already bad situations is nothing to become defensive about. When it comes to good fishing anymore it is a case of love it or loose it.
Like most mentioned TU's call to ban felt soled boots is a start... I will be able to tell you in the very near future what I think of the rubber soled boots. One of my fishing buddies has been using them in the shale bottom streams for quite awhile now, and he says they are great. For summer use he goes with no studs and they work fine for him; winter sees him using the boots with the studs.