Airflo Super Tuff Wader Review

In this tackle review Fishtec’s Ceri Thomas shares his thoughts on a fly fishing wader he has been using over the past few weeks – the Airflo Super-Tuff.

I’ve always been a bit dubious about using non-breathable bootfoot chest waders, especially for river work. However, since the start of the season (March the 3rd) I have been testing the Super Tuff waders from Airflo on both river and stillwater, and guess what? They have been pretty good so far.

Airflo Super-Tuff Waders

Airflo Super-Tuff Waders

It started as a convenience thing – bootfoot’s are extremely quick and easy to take on and off, ideal for short lunch time sessions where time is at a premium. Another factor has been the brutally cold spring. With snow on the banks and sub zero temperatures, the last thing I wanted to do was lace up wading boots and go through the tedious process of taking them off again when wet, with even colder, numb hands. So a set of bootfoot’s was the simple answer.

Super Tuff are made of a thick, heavy duty PVC material. A bit like the old ocean waders that were once renowned for their reliability. What struck me was their suppleness – they are not heavy to wear and slip on and off like a glove. The wader appears to be very well put together, with comfortable and easily adjustable shoulder straps. There is an inner pocket and a drawstring should you wish to close the top up.

Superior knee protection

Superior knee protection

The waders have extra thick knee pad reinforcements, which I have found ideal for scrambling out of the river in tight spaces without putting holes in them. In terms of accidental damage, they have been pretty bomb proof, almost like a suit of armour. They have been perfect for tramping though bramble thickets, knotwood groves and sliding across steep urban river banks riddled with broken glass and rusty beer tins – terrain that can make mincemeat of a lightweight wader in a short space of time.

A worry was that the grip on treacherous river stones would be inadequate. Thankfully, the Super-Tuff boots are fitted with pre-installed tungsten studs and a heavily cleated tread, which makes a huge difference. In fact the grip was nearly as good as felt boots fitted with studs and I was able to wade in confidence over some really nasty bottom types. Walking the banks was easy and I haven’t slipped on wet grassy banks once.

Non slip tread with studs for safe wading

Non slip tread with studs for safe wading

One thing bootfoot waders don’t offer is much support for the ankle or protection from uneven, sharp rocks around your toes. I got round this to some extent by wearing a set of neoprene socks which really improved the comfort level. The waders are quite roomy in the foot, which allows you to fit a pair of these in, or you could wear an extra pair of woolen socks.

I found the Super-Tuff were really handy for keeping on ‘stand by’ in the car- I’m one for quickly throwing anything into the boot, and being PVC these don’t retain any excess water meaning my car doesn’t smell of damp after a day. There is no risk of the wader developing mildew and they are essentially maintenance free.

Having done a lot of walking in them I haven’t found the lack of breathability to be an issue, although it’s been a bit on the chilly side weather wise. They are not as warm as neoprene and are therefore less likely to make you break into a sweat. Compared to breathable’s they definitely provide more of a barrier against cold water, making you feel less chilled whilst in the river. Overall they have been utterly reliable so far, so I’m going to continue using them until the really warm weather kicks in. Which being Wales, could be another few months.

Priced at £79.99, Airflo Super-Tuff waders are available here.

Wade Safe – Tips for better Wading

With spring rapidly approaching, the new trout and salmon fishing season is just round the corner. Early season river fly fishing naturally involves wading, but before you charge waist deep into the flow you should take a read of our essential river wading tips.

Wade safe - in deep but not in trouble.

Wade safe – in deep but not in trouble.

Think before you get in – Think about how you are going to get in AND out of the water. Visually survey the stretch before you climb into the river. If you have no safe exit point, you could be in for rough time.

Cross in the right way  – When crossing the river angle yourself so you move diagonally down stream, with the current helping you rather than fighting against it. Move slowly side on if possible, so the water force is pushing against a smaller surface area. Remember to slightly lean into the current as you cross. As you go use your arms to help you balance.

Take short steps – Slide and shuffle your way across the river. Don’t stride or lift your feet high as you step or the current could push your balance out. The key is don’t rush – take your time and be safe.

Pack your wading belt – Using a wading belt will help should you end up in the drink.  Flooded waders will make you struggle to get back up and out of the river safely.  Also rather than your fishing day be over instantly, you wont ship as much water and hopefully remain fairly comfortable. Another benefit is they can offer a great lumbar support – for example the Airflo or Simms wading belts.

Check your wading boots – A set of good boots are vital. Over the previous season your wader studs may have worn down so its well worth replacing these at the start. This could save you an early season dunking!

Consider a wading staff – For early season, the rivers are often swollen with rain. A staff is a god-send and well worth the investment, especially if you are not so strong on your feet. A wading staff can also be used to probe the depths and look for ledges and drop offs in coloured up water.

IF you fall in – Turn over onto your back, an get your feet facing downriver as soon as you can. Float downstream and paddle to the nearest bank ASAP.  An inflatable fly fishing vest is a safe option for peace of mind, especially if your river is particularly large or dangerous.

Keep to your limits – If you feel like the current is too much, and the wading is uncomfortable for you simply don’t do it. Why take the risk?

5 new uses for old waders

We’ve all got fishing gear we no longer use but don’t have the heart to throw away.

Even if you’ve repaired your waders to within an inch of their life, it’s still a crime to chuck them straight in the bin.

So what can you do with holey waders when the icy rivers start to leak in? Read on to discover some of the best uses you can make of your old fishing togs, with some quirky examples we found from our favourite online bloggers.

1. Fishing bag

When waders get past their best, you can still salvage the material and turn them into something new. No good for wearing any more? Why not do what Life, Flies and Trout did and create some stylish apparel? He writes:

“I bought these waders last year and fished hard in them. The seam where the sock meets the wader portion went bad, and after numerous attempts to patch them up, I decided to reuse them. I grabbed the scissors and went to work on them on some plastic on the kitchen table. I arranged all the pieces the way that I wanted and moved to the sewing machine with my wife’s permission. For the project, I also used an old wading belt for the strap and other items from other broken or discarded gear.”

Not only did he make something useful, but scored brownie points by getting rid of something from the garage too! Check out his blog to see his other wader creations, including camera bags, a rod tube and a belt pouch!

2. Drinks cosy

Taking your favourite bevvie down to the river with you? What better way to keep it cool than with your very own homemade drinks cosy, or koozie, as it’s known in certain circles!

Use the neoprene feet for this recycling project: it’s easy to cut them up and fold them round a can if you want a low-hassle project. The insulating properties are perfect for keeping drinks as they were intended – ice cold and fresh on a summer’s day.

If it’s blowing a gale and you’re in the market for a hot brew, the new cosy will also do a grand job of keeping your drink toasty.

3. Seat coverings

Dog sat on stool

Image source: Outdoor Writer
Rover certainly looks pleased!

If bags aren’t, um … your bag, why not chop up those waders and use the durable material for coverings? Be it for a boat seat or a pad for your pooch, the waterproof material is a definite winner. We just love how outdoor writer Drew Hall repurposed his leaky waders into a homemade swamp stand! He writes:

“It not only wrapped the top of the stand, but also gave me a shoulder strap for carrying it. Now my dog has a good grip to climb onto the stand, and the neoprene will keep him warmer than the wooden stand itself.”

Just goes to show how far a bit of imagination will get you, huh?

4. Recycle them for charity

If you don’t have the time or the inclination to get crafty yourself, there’s still no need for your waders to go to landfill – there are plenty of outlets for getting that altruistic feeling.

Why not contact your local scout group and see if they could put your old equipment to good use? It’s a win-win situation that also sees you clearing your eco-conscience. Plus, some eager young anglers can get crafty with some tough materials.

5. Overalls

Overalls made from old waders

Image source: Epic Angling Adventure
A beginner friendly wader DIY!

When practical is what you’re looking for, cut the boots off your waders and convert them into work overalls.

As pointed out on the Epic Angling Adventure blog, they might be a little short in the leg after this, so it’s best to combine them with some rubber boots or similar. And, as pointed out on the blog:

“Just don’t forget you can no longer wade over the top of your work boots! (We’ve done that a few times, too).”

Waders that help you catch fish!

How would you like a pair of clever waders? Boots that can tell you exactly the best spot in the river in which to wet a line?

That’s just what one Dutch scientist has come up with, waders that measure the water temperature to give a real time picture of where’s best to fish.

Here we take a look at how these waders ever came to be, and whether they’ll actually benefit you…

The science

The researcher is interested in hyporheic exchange – the study of water exchange in rivers. It used to be thought that groundwater entered rivers gradually along their length.

But now scientists have realised that instead, there are specific spots where upwellings of groundwater pass into the stream, and places where river water seeps into the ground.

Why fishermen?

Depth of field fly fisherman with focused fly in river

Image source: Annette Shaff
So where do fisherman enter the equation?

But they needed to capture more information, and that’s where anglers come in. After talking to a fly fisherman friend, the scientist realised that here was a potential goldmine of information. Who better to collect water temperature data than people who spend all day wading about in the river? Fly fishing enthusiasts.

So the scientist fitted a temperature sensor to the heel of a pair of waders. The sensor relays information to a smartphone in a dry pocket. In turn the phone streams the information to the cloud, from where scientists back at the lab can analyse it.

Because groundwater is usually a lot colder than the surrounding river water, a wading angler can help detect cool groundwater upwellings, helping scientists build a water exchange map of a river.

The information is invaluable to scientists, helping them to understand how river systems work, and it’s gold for fishermen too. Some species love cold water swims, while others prefer a slightly warmer temperature – a real win win situation.

A win win situation

Man fly fishing in iceland

Image source: J. Helgason
Good news for scientists and fishermen alike.

By getting anglers to wear the smart waders, scientists hope to profile many more stretches of river they wouldn’t otherwise have the time or money to investigate. In return, anglers will be collecting valuable angling information they can store and share.

In time, scientists hope to fit other sensors to the boots in order to capture even more useful info. Data on river salinity, and nitrogen and dissolved carbon levels could all be gathered by anglers wearing smart waders.

The information captured would provide scientists with a wealth of accurate data about the health of rivers and would also act as a real time pollution alert.

Sounds good! When can I buy them?

The waders are still at the early prototype stage so you can’t buy them in the shops yet. But if this Dutch scientist has anything to do with it, we’ll all be wearing smart waders soon.

The only  “fly” in the ointment for us it that we wonder how sporting it is to know exactly where the fish are hiding. Fly fishing is after all an art, not a science.

Getting The Most Out Of Your Fishing Waders

I am pretty certain we have all  invested in a nice expensive new pair of fishing waders,only to find that after a relatively short period the waders start leaking like a sieve! Which is quite frustrating to say the least when you are up to your chest in icy cold river water.  Read on to find out how to avoid such a wader calamity, and also how to extend your chest waders life.

Not the way to look after your waders!

Not the way to look after your waders!

1 . Get the correct size
Make sure you try your waders on in the fishing tackle shop, or call or email them with your exact sizes if doing mail order before purchasing. If waders are too tight they will strain at the seams, especially in the feet and the groin areas and eventually leak prematurely. Too baggy and the stocking feet may rub in the boots and wear out, and you may have inner leg abrasion when fabric rubs against each other when walking.

2. Avoid harmful objects
It sounds obvious but many people think waders are just indestructible! Sitting on rough or thorny ground, ploughing through beds of thistles and brambles. Impaling the fly into your leg, standing on them on stony ground while getting dressed and of course barbed wire! All of these things do no good for your wader. To avoid such damage just think twice and use some forward planning when walking the banks and deciding your entry into the water.

3. Proper care and storage

Always store the waders by hanging them in a ventilated location so the inside of the wader dries out.  If the inside of the wader is not completely dried, mildew will form which in the case of breathable waders will damage the breathable wader membrane and cause seam tape to peel and eventually water to seep through.    Don’t leave wet waders inside the stuff sack or car boot for extended periods of time.  Boot foot waders do no like being hung by the braces, it can ruin the braces and stretch the seams between boot and fabric due to prolonged pressure.

Simms wader retired after 8 years

A Simms wader finally retired after 8 years hard use

What can I do if the waders are leaking ?
Well if its too late for them you could always contact a wader repair specialist, like Diver Dave’s wader repairs up in the Scottish highlands. This man really knows how to fix a pair of waders at a very reasonable price. Or you could do a self repair – some wader companies like Simms manufacture their product from Gore-Tex, which means you can repair them with the help of rubbing alcohol. One member of the Fishtec team kept his waders alive for eight years using their method. Check out this video on how its done!










Real life mermaids

As a sea angler, we know you love the sea, but as much as you love to spend your free time at the water’s edge, it’s unlikely you’d want to be in or on the ocean all the time.

But there are people for whom the sea is more than a hobby, an occupation or a passion; the sea is  their life.

We’re talking real lift mermaids and men, and incredible stories of their oceanic lives. Be prepared to be amazed!

Haenyeo Sea Women of Korea


Image source: Wikimedia
A Korean ‘sea woman’ preparing to dive for fish.

You thought a mermaid was a sea siren whose job was to lure unsuspecting mariners to a watery grave. But while myth and legend make for a colourful tale to tell, real life is stranger than fiction.

On the island of Jeju off the tip of South Korea, early morning sees a sight strange to behold – at the end of a pier, a group of old women in thick wetsuits warm themselves by a fire built from orange boxes. They are “haenyeo”, or “sea women” and they spend their lives skin diving for shellfish and octopus, a hazardous occupation, but one that some of them have pursued for 60 years or more.

Nicknamed the “Amazons of Asia”, the haenyeo are heads of a matriarchal society that dates back at least as far as the 17th century, when punitive taxes on male incomes forced women into the role of bread winner. At their peak, there were tens of thousands of “mermaids” diving the waters of the Korean Strait, but since the 1960s, their numbers have dwindled as young women have opted for safer, warmer jobs. Now only a few thousand mostly elderly haenyeo remain to dive the frigid waters – mermaids soon to pass into history.

Ama of Japan

japanese ama mermaid

Image source: Wikipedia
A Japanese mermaid.

Able to hold their breath for two minutes or more, the Ama of Japan were women and young girls who dived for Oysters and Abalone. Armed with just a mask and flippers, these mermaids of the Pacific would dive over 60 times per session, surfacing for just a few seconds after each foray into the deep.

Diving has existed in Japan as a mainly female occupation for over two thousand years. Unlike us shore fishermen and women with our waterproofs and waders, these women used to dive naked apart from a loincloth – unrestricted movement was seen as a must in the dangerous deep. But after the war, with the development of tourism came pressure to cover up. Later, the women adopted wetsuits to enable to them to spend even more time in the water.

These days, as in Korea, most of the Ama are elderly – some continuing to dive well into their nineties. The lack of women coming into the profession mean the Ama will almost certainly die out within a few years.  

Moken Sea Gypsies

The Andaman Sea off Myanmar is home to the Moken people, otherwise known as the sea gypsies. These water dwelling folk so seldom set foot on land that when they do, they suffer landsickness as a result. The Moken are as close to mermaids and men as it’s possible to get! Sailing throughout the 800 islands of the  Mergui archipelago in their handbuilt wooden houseboats, they only spend significant time ashore during the wild and windy monsoon season.

As you’d expect, the sea gypsies are expert sea fishermen, usually harvesting fish, molluscs and sandworms for their own nourishment, and shells, sea snails and oysters to barter for the fuel and equipment they need. In fact, Moken spend so much time freediving that like the “mermaid” featured in this video, their eyes are adapted to focus underwater!

Sadly the wandering ways of the Moken are under threat as commercial fishing, increased militarisation, oil drilling and pressure to settle impact on their unique way of life. Thankfully there are organisations doing their best to stand up for one of the most incredible peoples on earth – like Project Moken – so do check them out and do what you can to help before it’s too late.

Wading through Sea Bass

Chris Ogborne Fishtec Fly Fishing


I was browsing photos yesterday and decided to use this one as my screensaver. It’s not a particularly brilliant or notable picture in itself, but for me it just sums up what fishing is all about these days. Saltwater Bass hunting is now just a few weeks away, and counting!

The shot was taken last summer, miles from anywhere, on one of my favourite Bass marks. It’s a remote place, somewhere that you can just get lost in the fishing, excluding the world so that nothing else matters except watching the water for the slightest sign of a fish. You can wet-wade or use chest waders, depending on the time of year. You can fish with total concentration, or you can tuck the rod under your arm and just watch the tide go by. It matters not. It’s about freedom. Out there on a sand bar with only Terns, Gannets and Gulls for company – oh, and a few Bass hunting the early sand eels.

The 2014 saltwater season is coming, and I’m ticking down the days!

5 tips for looking after your Fishing Waders

Looking after your waders

The guys at Simms have produced a comprehensive guide to looking after your fishing waders. See how the pro’s look after and repair their waders with information on pinholes, scrapes and tears, inner leg abrasion and how to repair small leaks yourself. These 5 useful tips will save you time and money when it comes to your thing or chest waders.

  • Pinholes, scrapes & tears

The most common problem that will occur in Gore-Tex® or other breathable garments is pinholes (we use the term “pinhole” to identify any small violation of the breathable fabric that allows moisture to penetrate into the interior of your garment), scrapes or tears. Pinholes, scrapes & tears are usually caused by thistles & thorns, but hooks, sharp rocks etc. will also damage the garment. The vast majority of the thistles & thorns will be deflected by the fabric, but sooner or later some of them will find a way through the weave and cause leaks. To avoid these damages just think twice when walking the banks; walk around the thorn bushes or other potential harmful objects instead right through them, and don’t sit down on any rough or sharp surfaces. There’s some great tips on repairing pin holes here.

  • Inner leg abrasion (on waders)

Inner leg abrasions are often related to wrong sizing or heavy wear. This is caused by abrasion when the fabric inside the legs rubs against each other when walking. Finding the right size on the wader when doing your purchase is extremely important to prolong the lifetime of the wader. Please note that long days of walking and wading in a pair of waders may result in fabric abrasions along the back edge of the seam. This is easily repairable and a common wear and tear issue.

  • Proper care & storage

After each fishing session make sure to allow the product to dry properly before you store it. Waders, jackets & packs etc. should hang in a vented, warm and dry place. Boots should also be properly dried before put away. If clothes or boots/shoes are stored wet or damp over time mildew will start to grow on them and cause severe damage. On waders & jackets mildew will cause problems like seam tape lifting (seam tape on neoprene feet’s & Gore-Tex® seam tape inside the garment will come off), and sometimes delaminating of the fabrics. Common for all products is that mildew will start a general material breakdown. The microorganisms (mildew is living organisms) produceenzymes that breakdown the cellulose or protein in the fabric to compounds which they use as food. Easily said; the mildew will break down all the components in the garment and eat it.

After the products are properly dried they should be stored in a cool, dry environment with adequate ventilation. If a product is infested by mildew it should be isolated by sealing it in polyethylene bag and it should be disposed immediately or sent to trained professionals for decontamination.

  • Self repairs

If you are getting leaks along any seams in a waterproof, breathable garment, please do not do a self repair to these areas. Most reported seam leaks are in fact pinholes along the seam tape and not a true seam leak. Aquaseal or other adhesives does not come off and any self repair that is done along a seam may potentially void your warranty as we cannot remove and correct the problem without destroying the seam. We understand why a self repair may need to be done in the field, but please realize that we may not be able to correct the problem if the seam has been altered or covered in some sort of glue/adhesive.

  • ReviveX® application and upkeep

Over time and exposure to rushing water, long days in the rain, dirt & other factors your Gore-Tex® garment may begin to” wet out” and will no longer be repelling water on the surface fabric. More times than not, this is a result of the DWR (Durable Water Repellency) wearing off. Though water isn’t leaking all the way through the garment, it may feel and look like it is. This is because “wet out” reduces breath ability and creates excess interior condensation making you damp and cold. It is easily addressed with the use of ReviveX®. Please follow the instructions of use carefully when restoring the DWR.

Celebrities in waders

Celebrities are well known for sporting the latest trends, and this lot of A-listers are going crazy for boots inspired by waders.

From edgy girl Rihanna to super chic Heidi Klum, our favourite celebs are going gaga for fishing inspired shoes.

The thighs the limit when it comes to this lot…

Jennifer Lopez

Source: Featureflash /

J-Lo’s insane snakeskin mini and wader combo would just scare the fish away!
Source: Featureflash /


Source: Everett Collection /

If it’s a trend, you can guarantee Madge is going to jump on board, waders and all!
Source: Everett Collection /

Victoria Beckham

Source: Everett Collection /

Ever posh – Victoria’s waders are Gucci daahrling!
Source: Everett Collection /



Rihanna – so hot in waders, she’s on fire
Source: Featureflash /

Dave Lane Carp Fishing Diary

Well, here I am back from my holidays and for the first time I can ever remember I stepped off the plane at Stansted to find it was just as hot at home.

You know that feeling you get when you arrive on your holidays and walk out on the metal staircase into a wall of super-heated air, well that’s what it was like in Essex!

I was fully expecting the lake to have changed a bit over my two week absence but, the next Monday, I was still amazed to see just how much. The weed had gone ballistic in the summer sun and, what were lightly sprouted gravel bars before my departure, now resembled privet hedges running in solid green lines across the lake.

Unfortunately this meant that most of the decent shallow water spots were now unfishable and the only clean bottom to present a bait on would be the deeper marks, not ideal in nearly thirty degrees.

By sneaking about in chest waders though I did manage to ambush a small group of carp that were milling about on top of a plateau, it obviously was made of something too hard for the weed to take root but at least it offered me somewhere shallow to place a single bait.

Before I cast I pulled out my Galaxy phone and snapped off a few pictures as the fish cruised about only a couple of rod lengths away.

Fish found but it was one of these I hooked and lost

It was exciting stuff being so close to them as they milled about next to the hook-bait and then I saw one upend and suddenly shoot off across the plateau as he realised his mistake.

At such close quarters the fight was electric but, unfortunately, very short lived as he managed to wrap the line around a small snag and pull the hook. There was a huge bow-wave as he sped off through the weed taking the rest of the fish with him.

This was to be the pattern over the next twenty four hours, hours walking for a few brief moments when I had a chance of a bite.

I did manage to hook two more fish but the weed was so savage that they both came adrift during the fight.

I hate losing fish, absolutely detest it and, if I think that I have more chance of losing than landing them, and then it’s time to move on in my book. I see no point in just getting bites for the sake of it and it’s not fair on the carp so I packed up and headed for home.

That’s the thing about some of the big gravel pits I like to fish, they are ok up until the middle of summer but, once the weed gets up and the algae cuts down your visibility they can become unrealistic places to fish. With this in mind I started to make plans for where to fish next, maybe a return to the North Met lakes in the Lea Valley?