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Old 10-31-2009, 09:12 PM
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Mac Mac is offline
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Default felt or studds for rock hopping

I realize that this might not be the correct forum for equipment questions but I have learned to value everyones opinion here on this site. Looking for a pair of new wader boots to use in the backcountry. Most of my flyfishing is in locations like the Chimney tops where you have large boulders to climb and hopping from rock to rock. Requiring lots of leaps of faith. Does anyone have any experience with studded wader shoes for this type fishing or would it be better to stick with felt only.
I will be looking for something lightweight but with ankle support for backcountry backpacking, any recommendations appreciated.

Thanks for your thoughts
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Old 10-31-2009, 09:24 PM
pineman19 pineman19 is offline
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Mac,

I would go with felt. Studs will slide on those slick greenback boulders on the WPLP. I have a set of studded felts, one day I tried them on another freestone stream and it wasn't a good experience. Abrams is the only stream in the Smokies that I would consider using studs on, but I haven't tried them there yet.

Neal
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Old 10-31-2009, 10:11 PM
Grampus Grampus is offline
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I've used studed AquaStealth boots for years. They really help if when you walk across a log. When walking on rocks, you actually have to step heavier to engage the soles, otherwise the studs can slide. I would not recommend felt. Felt wears out much faster and retains parasitic microorganisms such as those atrributed to whirling disease.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:15 AM
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rivergal rivergal is offline
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My felt soled waders dry out between trips to limit cross contamination
from one stream to another. I have also read where you can put your waders in the freezer to kill hitch hiking parasites.
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Old 11-01-2009, 08:54 AM
Jim Casada Jim Casada is offline
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Grampus--While we may reach a point where felt becomes illegal for the reasons you mention (although there are steps which can be taken to mitigate them and still allow one to use felt soles), I disagree with you on the felt vs. studs issue. I have yet to wear studded boots, and I've tried a lot of different types, which provide the same traction as felt. Indeed, you give a hint of one of the the problems when you mention having "to step heavier." I'm not sure how you do that (although given my personal avoirdupuis maybe it's a given). On the freestone streams of the Smokies, where slick, rounded rocks, as opposed to algae-encrusted ones are the norm, I think felt is the way to go.
I will close with one caveat--a long-time fishing friend tells me he had some new boots with rubber "teats" and that they work far better than metal cleats or studs.
Jim Casada
www.jimcasadaoutdoors.com
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Old 11-01-2009, 06:52 PM
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Plunker Plunker is offline
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Cool Dry rocks....baaaaaad!

Financial constraints relegate me to owning one pair of waders, which happen to be boot foot felt with studs. I use them everywhere, and have fished GSMNP, Helen GA creeks with some success. In the water they are great, getting to the water presents some problems. On dry rocks and clean rocks they can be like ice skates...nothing better for green rocks IMHO.
Another thing to consider...after a long day of careful rock hopping the feet and ankles tend to be a little sore as the studs tend to feel as though they point inside the boot. (Not fun walking on blacktop back to the vehicle either)
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Old 11-01-2009, 09:06 PM
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Just my experience but I am sold on the regular Agua Stealth soles ..... on dry rocks they are down right sticky...do an admirable job in the water and do second duty as a hiking boot for those days when you need to walk in to some back country sites....LLB has come out with a very reasonable boot that is very light and provides more than adequate support.
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Old 11-02-2009, 09:36 AM
Rebelsoul Rebelsoul is offline
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After wearing jungle boots with the Panama soles(which work fairly well),I progressed to felt and got lots more traction,then I bought some Simms wading boots with the new soles made by Vibram,called 360 degree traction or something like that...I took a good fall in Cataloochee on a slick rock under water,they just didn't feel near as steady as the felt...so I wore the felt soles for the rest of the trip.
As far as "rock hopping" well,I don't hop that far anymore.
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Old 11-02-2009, 10:00 AM
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silvercreek silvercreek is offline
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There are some orange colored rocks in the mountain streams that give no traction. I know they are in the Cataloochee and the upperpart of the North River. Watch out for them. Silvercreek
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Old 11-02-2009, 11:07 AM
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I spoke to an original resident of Greenbrier this summer and he told me that he knew it was time to quit fishing up there when the rocks got too far apart....later that week I was fishing the WPLP up where the big boulders grow...came to a spot where it was jump or climb back down and climb up and around....after hesitating a moment I took off and Mr. Whaley's words jumped into my head....luckily I made it to fish another day.
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