08-13-2009, 05:07 PM
Re: Waders for less than $150
Just keep in mind that waders come in a couple different materials, now mostly neoprene or "breathables" and mostly 2 styles:
Bootfoot, with molded boots built in.
Stocking foot, which require wading shoes that go on over the "stocking feet".
I have a couple different ones. The neoprene style can be real hot in the summer and you'll probably end up wet from sweat. But they offer good insulation in cold water and are pretty tough. I have a cheap pair of Hodgemans that get just thrown in the truck and have lasted for years. They're also heavy and bulky compared to breathables which could be an issue if you plan on flying with them.
Breathables are the lightest, and real comfortable to wear in all seasons, (wear layers of synthetic fleece etc in cold weather). Because some of these have problems with seams leaking, look for brands (or stores like LL Bean or Cabelas) that offer a lifetime guarantee, even on the less expensive models so you can get a repair/replacement if they spring a leak.
Bootfoot waders are convenient, easy on and off, and are great for areas like sandy beaches, and because they don't require wading shoes, can be less expensive for comparable models. They can be a pain to walk in for long distances, and offer a lot less ankle support than stocking foot + wading shoes, and can be a pain if you fish in muddy streams where you may be constantly pulling your foot out of the boots.
Stocking foot waders require wading shoes, offer more ankle support and are great for rocky streams, walking long distances, chafe less, and are generally a lot more comfortable than bootfoot waders. They tend to fill up with sand though if you fish sandy beaches and might be a bit more expensive in total since you'd need to add the cost of wading shoes.
But no matter what type or style you get, waders are a big help to access the stream and get out from shoreline trees and brush and will probably give you more options for backcasting when the water gets too cold for wet wading, and will extend your season if you live in most areas of the country.
Another potential complication is the spread of invasive species like Didymo also called "rock snot". This has led to a ban of felt soled waders/or wading shoes on some waters, and there are now new synthetic rubber type soles that are said to be good for gripping rocks etc if you fish where the footing is treacherous. If you fish these types of streams, I'd look into these newer type soles (on either boot foot or wading shoes +stocking foot waders) because more and more waters are banning felt.
Good luck and keep asking questions if you have them.