If you’ve made the decision to get serious about fly fishing, you’re probably wondering, “What gear do I need to get started?”
Wading boots come along with waders. I admit, when the more modern waders, with the built-in neoprene bootie, came out, I didn’t get it. Now, I’d have to buy both the waders AND the boots instead of having them all-in-one, included as part of my waders?! That confused me and pissed me off at the same time. Then I got it. And since they didn’t really sell the old-fashioned all-in-one kind anymore, I bit the bullet and got myself some good fishing boots to complete my wader-boot set. I’ve never looked back.
The new way presented a better, more comfortable and safe setup. Back then, the best kind you could buy had felt on the soles. That thick layer of felt was both soft to the feet when trudging around on river rock all day, and it was also a lot more slip-resistant. But, because, as I understand it, felt harbored more invasive/destructive specie eggs and/or spores, most manufacturers did away with felt.
Now, boots pretty much feature hiking-style tread. If you want, you can usually buy boots that come with removable spikes, but I’ve never really liked the idea of standing in a river, waving a long rod high in the air when lightening is near, let alone with metal spikes on my feet!
I shouldn’t do this, but for the sake of this post, I’m about to tempt fate. Here goes. In all the years I’ve been fly fishing, I’ve never been license-checked by a game warden. Never. The other side of that coin is that I’ve never skipped getting the proper fishing license for the area I am planning to fish. You (and Murphy) can probably finish this next sentence: The first time I don’t get a license is the first time I’ll get checked by a warden, guaranteed. And that is the main reason I always get it done.
Call me crazy, but I’d rather spend a few bucks now than get hit with a huge fine later. Yeah, license money supports the fisheries, the environment, the sport of fishing itself, I get it, but for me it’s about personal responsibility and a hatred of unnecessary expenses. I also love the peace-of-mind that comes from having that piece-of-proof in my vest pocket. You can’t be a good, fly fisher if you’re fretting a license check, no matter how remote a possibility it may be.