Ultimate Guide To Choosing Waders For Saltwater Wade Fishing
When it comes to choosing a pair of waders, it can be overwhelming!
You’ve got so many variables to consider, including:
- Extra features
- And more
So to help you find the right waders, I’m at Roy’s Bait & Tackle in Corpus Christi with Capt. Zach Gibson, one of their resident wading experts.
He’s breaking down everything you need to know about choosing a pair of waders in this video.
Check it out below!
Ultimate Guide To Waders [VIDEO]
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Entry Level Waders ($99 – $150)
The biggest pro of entry level waders is that they’re much cheaper than the higher tiers.
And two of the biggest cons include:
- There’s not much variability in sizes (i.e. if you’re a short guy with big feet, it might be hard to find the right size)
- The material doesn’t last as long as some of the higher tiers (most waders in this range last from 1-3 years, depending on use and maintenance)
Frogg Toggs is the leading brand in this level, with the variabilities in price being mostly due to design, such as different pockets, zippers, and loops.
Mid Tier Waders ($175 – $299)
Some of the pros of mid tier waders include:
- More sizing options for different these waders usually last 2-5 years)
- Variety of features and designs
- Better warranty
A con is that the lifespan is still a little shorter than top tier waders.
Two of the more popular brands in this tier include Orvis and Simms.
High-End Waders ($400 – $800)
The biggest differences between high-end waders and the others include:
- Materials are made to fit better, perform better, and last longer
- Lifetime warranties (they typically last 3-7+ years)
- Premium design features (i.e. zipper on the front, or having the option to slide the top down)
The con is that these features ain’t cheap!
You can pay up to 8x what you would pay for an entry level pair of waders.
Some of the major brands in this tier include Simms, Orvis, and Patagonia.
There are a variety of options for waders to fit your budget, body, and fishing style.
If you’re serious about getting a pair, go find a local tackle shop and try some on to see what fits your needs best.
Have any questions about choosing the right pair of waders?
Let me know down in the comments!
And if you know someone who’s looking to get a new pair, please TAG or SHARE this with them!
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Huge thanks for a great bideo Wyatt. Ended up picking up medium-budget ones (Striker Ice fishing waders ) and so far so good. Hopefully those gonna get me through Oct-Nov fishing!
San Antonio TX…twice a month I get down to Port A triangle…and use my Academy booties and Magellan shorts…video was excellent breakdown…next video wear them in action…thank you , ALMO
Wyatt…Thanks for doing this review…I’ve noticed on several of your videos that you wade fish from your kayak. How do you secure your Kayak when you wade fish from it out in the flats. Do you just use your anchor Pin and trolley? Sometimes you may wander a distance from the kayak. Thanks for all you do.
Yes! I just use the anchor pin and have it connected to a loop on my kayak. If I’m not 100% sure where the fish are, I will tie a rope to my wade belt and tow my kayak behind me about 25-30 yards.
This won’t be popular, but I highly recommend wearing a life jacket with waders.
I saved a man’s life that I was wade fishing with on a lake. He was wearing waders, I was not, he was inside me and we were walking round the weeds along the shore casting ahead, he suddenly stepped in a hole, sank over his head, the waders filled up with water, he could not swim or get the waders off, I walked over to where I last saw him and reached underwater and found a flailing arm and pulled him back toward shore. He was glad he had a partner that day, who wasn’t wearing waders. Once his head was above water, he walked to shore. The waders were so full of water he had to lay down to drain the water out.
Yes! As Capt. Zach highlighted, the more expensive waders have higher quality belts. Most cheap ones don’t even include them. The belt prevents water from filling up into the waders, and I would highly reccomend purchasing a belt if your waders don’t come with them.
Thanks for the helpful video. I very much agree with going to the local tackle shop and trying the waders on. I went to my local store, “The Sporting Life” last year and ended up purchasing a pair of Simms gore tex waders. I couldn’t believe how well they fit me, and could really appreciate the quality when I saw and felt them in person. How about a follow up video on boots?
Those Simms are no joke! I love my FreeStone’s!
Also, you can definitely expect a follow-up video on the top 3 boots for wading!
Thanks for the info.
Absolutely! Thanks for watching Jean!
I have been thinking about buying an entry level pair just to try out wade fishing. So, I would go with a lower end to start with and go from there. My question is can you walk on oyster beds with the type of boots or shoes that they come with? Here in the NE the water is dirty and sometimes you walk on oysters. If not good for that, what type of shoes do you recommend that you can wear with waders? Thanks and great job with the info.
Most stocking foot waders of respectable quality (even the low end ones we covered in this video) do NOT come with boots. They just are fitted with the sock that attaches to the waders.
I reccomend Orvis Clearwaters or Orvis Flats Sneakers. For a budget option, go with ForEverlast Ray Guard Boots! Wader Dave is also fond of the NRS boots.
awesome. Thank you very much!
Thanks for doing something on waders; very informative. I moved to NE Florida in 2016 from Pennsylvania with two pairs of $300+ waders – one from Cabelas and one from Orvis – that I used for freshwater trout fishing. They have both been Aquaseal’d a couple times, but at this point, they are shot.
Considering the general harshness of the saltwater environment and the fact almost all of these things are designed for freshwater, I’m coming to the conclusion that the cheap ones are the way to go. They are only needed in NE Florida in Jan/Feb and pieces of Dec and March. I figure they’ll last one or two years and then just get another one.
I could offer two other tips:
1) don’t throw old waders away – especially the non-neoprene stocking foot ones. Cut the feet out of them and they make great rain pants, either for sticking in the boat or using with a kayak. Just because they may leak when under water doesn’t mean they won’t repel rain or general splashes nicely.
2) like everything else in saltwater – rinse them off after every (and I mean EVERY) use.
Great tip on the rain pants idea!
I hate to rain on the wade fishing parade but what about sharks? They may not be around much in the winter but in the summer they sure are. I am thinking of bull sharks in particular since they are common in estuary situations and definitely more aggressive. I’ve got an older model 20 FT. Sea Arch that has tunnel drive can go in shallower water than most sharks I’ve seen. I spent 30 years working in fresh water habitats so I am real familiar alligators and water moccasins. I always preferred the heaviest most durable waders available. I have not worn a pair since I retired in 2015.
I’ve waded in Florida a lot and never had issues with sharks. I’ve done it on the beach, flats, and near swamps that there were definitley alligators present. Honestly, the only creature you’re truly likely to have a bad contact with is a stingray (and I’ll have some reviews on Ray Guard gear here soon)
It comes down to what you’re comfortable with. I believe if you’re scared and splashing around, large predators like sharks and gators will possibly see you as prey, but if you’re calm and just fishing, they likely don’t want to engage you as a prey item because they realize something of your size could potentially injure them.
I don’t reccomend wading with small children out in gator swamps or in chest deep water where there’s sharks, but the average man/woman is not an easy item for the average shark or gator to take on.
Lastly, always carry a knife. I keep mine in my bib or on my leg when I’m in the kayak, and a quick poke in the eye will make anything that grabs a hold of you let go. The common denominator for alligator attack survivors is that they went for the eyes (either with a blade or their fingers), which resulted in minimal damage to the limb that was attacked as the gator immediately decides losing it’s vision isn’t worth a single meal. For sharks, the same principle applies, but attacking the gills will also usually make them release.
I have been wade fishing for years in the NE for Striped Bass and South Fl where I have been for 40 years. I have encountered sharks swimming but NEVER an incident. When was the last time you have heard of an intracoastal shark attack? Use due diligence, buy what fits and tight lines!
Low coast waders are the way to go you’ll get at least 1 season I have had high end waders 2 to 3 years top I speak with over 40 years exp. and fly fish 300 days a year
I agree! I didn’t want to dabble in the high end waders but felt that the fit of most of the Frogg Toggs was not great for my body type. the Simms Freestone’s ended up working out great.