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Cool Hand Hodge 10-16-2010 01:01 AM

Taking a dunk with waders on
I have seen two schools of thought latley. The first is that if you fall into the water with your waders on, they act like anchors and pull you down. The second states that it had no effect as the water in the waders is the same as the water out of the waders and a fisherman can still swim. Whats the real scoop. I have never been dunked with my waders on but know that i will eventually. Is it really life threating for a strong swimmer?

Ard 10-16-2010 01:34 AM

Re: Taking a dunk with waders on
I don't think it would be a good thing, I have never fallen in a river or creek with chest waders on so I don't know what happens. Look at this as good news Coolhand, I bought my first pair of chest waders in 1977 and have not fallen in yet so you may be safe too.

In the years before buying chest waders I did take a ride in Little Pine creek and Lycoming creek, both are PA. streams, while trying to wade in hip boots with plain rubber soles. Swimming with hip boots on was extremely difficult but I lived through both experiences. With chest waders I am safe because I never look down while wading. Looking down at the moving water tends to mess with your balance. With hip boots I was always looking down to see how close I was to the top of the boot and this caused problems. A good rule for chest waders is don't go too deep and when wading in heavy water use a Folstaff or similar.


kfisher99 10-16-2010 02:07 AM

Re: Taking a dunk with waders on
lol, I fill my waders up with water when the weather changes and I get hot, feels great.

Ard 10-16-2010 02:13 AM

Re: Taking a dunk with waders on
This sounds like it would work great, here I would have to fill mine with warm ash from the stove. Where do you live?

kfisher99 10-16-2010 02:15 AM

Re: Taking a dunk with waders on

Originally Posted by Hardyreels (Post 152710)
This sounds like it would work great, here I would have to fill mine with warm ash from the stove. Where do you live?

California :D

jcw355 10-16-2010 05:37 AM

Re: Taking a dunk with waders on
I only got maybe a gallon in my waders, I stood right back up after it happened.

webrx 10-16-2010 06:04 AM

Re: Taking a dunk with waders on
Im curious to know the answer as well, I have stepped in a bit too deep with my hippers on, man that water was cold in January, but not with my chest waders.


FrankB2 10-16-2010 07:36 AM

Re: Taking a dunk with waders on
I've fallen in with chest waders on. The first time was 30 plus years ago. I had heavy rubber waders, and fell into a stream. I tried to stand up completely, and fell over again. Of course induced an immediate panic, and I tried to stand once again. The waders were completely open at the top, and big. They were filled with water, and it never ocured to me that trying to stand with all of that weight in there was causing me to fall. I finally stood, and was able to walk to shore with the waders filled with water. Once there, I removed my vest and peeled the waders off. If I had pulled the chest portion of the waders down while in the stream, standing and wading would have been much easier! I've worn only breathable waders for the past 10 years, and they fit well enough not to allow water in. I still fall sometimes, and a couple years ago, I fell over while getting out of my canoe. We were in a few inches of water, and I stepped on a slippery stone with one feet still in the canoe......:o

One video is worth a thousand words, so here ya go:
***Watch the end of the video. The guy dumps the PFD, and swims around with the chest waders on.

Vans 10-16-2010 09:43 AM

Re: Taking a dunk with waders on
I fell in the Lewis and Clark river in NW Oregon once back in the mid 90s. I had just picked up baitcasting for Steelhead and it was late January. Unfortunately I only had hip waders on at the time. The river was cold beyond belief and i had to tough it out for a about 4 more hours since i wasnt the driver that day. lol

The next day i quit being cheap and went out and bought a set of neoprene chest waders. It is a strange thought process that goes through your head when you go into really cold water in the middle of winter. I remember thinking solely about finding the single most direct route out of the river because all i could think of was how shortly it takes hypothermia to set in at those temps. That and somehow drowning in that relatively small river.

peregrines 10-16-2010 09:51 AM

Re: Taking a dunk with waders on
This is a good question--

It's true that water doesn't weigh anything in water- in other words if your waders fill up with water it won't pull you down because the water in your waders is the same density as the water outside them--- but if you try and stand up out of the wader with your waders filled, it'll be like trying to walk around weighing 1,000 lbs--- this could cause a lot of problems if the only way out is up a steep bank.

One things a lot of folks do that fish where getting knocked down is a real possibility like the surf, or where a spill could be fatal due to hypothermia is to wear a water proof top of some sort and a belt cinched tightly over the jacket and waders (When surf fishing or steelheading on dangerous rivers I use one of those web belts scuba divers use to attach weights (umm without the weights :) it ran something like $6-7.00) I've had waves break over me, gotten knocked off rocks and stepped in a hole one time following a fish steelheading and went in over my head--- but just got maybe a cupful of water down my neck each time.

So, depending where you fish, and how steady you tend to be on your feet, you might want to consider some/any of these--- or at the very least you should know that this stuff is out there:

-a wading staff like Folstaff that attaches out of the way to your belt and folds out when you need it,

-Studded wading shoes offer a more secure grip on slimy bottoms--- but tear up a drift boat. Some brands of wading boots like Korkers offer interchangeable soles.

-Korkers also offer a couple models of lace or strap on "soles" with carbide spikes that go over your wading shoes. These are much longer and offer a much better grip than regular studded soles. These are way overkill on most waters, but there are some areas like the rocks at Montauk NY, and some winter steelhead rivers with slick rocks and high flows like Salmon River, NY
where they are standard equipment to reduce the chance of serious injury

- wading belt that can be tightly cinched over your waders

-water proof top under your vest that goes over your waders and is cinched down with a wading belt

- any of these and a pair of inflatable suspenders. These can be ones you inflate yourself by blowing on a tube, or self inflating ones that activate usually after being in water for 5 seconds. These are convenient in that they don't incumber your movement the way that a life preserver would. And the self inflating ones are designed so they activate in the event you are knocked unconscious etc. ( A guy at Montauk was wearing one a week or so a go and was knocked down by a wave. He was fine, but didn't get back up fast enough to prevent the thing from deploying and had to take a lot of ribbing from his buddies. )

Again, many of these may be way overkill for the waters you fish. However there have been several fatal drownings this year, one was a guide on the Snake that was wearing waders but no pfd when his boat flipped, and several very experienced surf fishermen, one just recently on Cape Cod that was wearing waders, belt and dry top (but no pfd) that was swept off a sandbar at night--- so there are definitely areas that warrant special consideration because of some serious conditions.

And since you're in Michigan, one thing you should definitely do if you chase steelhead in the winter, is to keep a heavy blanket and a change of clothes in the truck to change into in the event you do take a spill and take on some water. The same spill that might just be a little embarrassing in the summer could be a real problem in winter because of hypothermia.

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