Making a splash as the sole survivor

Last updated on May 26, 23

Posted on May 25, 23

2 min read

I was fly fishing in a fast-flowing stretch of river on Victoria Day, when I noticed that suddenly, wading became a lot more difficult.

At first, I attributed this to the fact that I was not as young as I used to be, but later when I made my way to shore, the problem was easy to ascertain. The outsole of my wading boot had basically separated from the main body, so that more than half of it was flapping in the current. So, basically while my footstep was trying to take me one way, the detached part of the outsole was catching the fast current and trying to take me the other.

This is not the first time this has happened with this pair of wading boots. I fixed the same problem with shoe goop several years ago – and it finally gave out.

I’m taking that as a sign.

The time for a new pair of boots is here.

Losing a good pair of wading boots is never an easy thing, however. Those boots have carried me through a lot of marshes and trout streams. I’ve grown comfortable with them. Heck, they’ve done a lot for me, not the least of which is they’ve made me look taller.

But I also think that I shouldn’t just think of myself. I need to consider the boots too – both the one that’s marked L and the one that’s marked R. They deserve to go out in a dignified way. It’s the least I could do to honour them. So, I will retire them and probably use them as cup holders in my outdoors-themed office.

Plus, let’s be honest here, their failure could have had serious implications. That errant flap could have got snagged under a rock or stick and tripped me up or knocked me off balance so that I was swept away by the current, which could have had regrettable consequences.

That’s right, I could have spooked the pool and put down all those brook trout in it. And this could have possibly ended my friendship with the fishing buddy I was with.

I wouldn’t have drowned because I now wear an inflatable personal floatation device when wading in fast water, so at least that wasn’t an issue. But imagine, if you will, a grown man stepping out of a river 200 yards downstream, soaked from top to bottom, and festooned with aquatic plants. Then after you asked, “Are you all right?” his reply would very likely be, “Yes, but my waders are full.”

And, though you would naturally assume they were filled with river water, you wouldn’t be 100 per cent certain.

That’s what I mean when I say serious consequences.

The point is I am fully justified in purchasing a new set of wading boots. It is a health and safety issue that an angler cannot skimp on. Plus, duct tape only works so well.

I’m thinking I’ll buy felt soled boots with metal studs for extra grip. And I will very likely explore the cost of a wading staff too – though I don’t suspect I can afford more than three people.

That incident was a wake-up call.

It made me realize I’m getting older, and I can’t take chances in fast water anymore. That’s the kind of thing you come to accept after you do a little sole searching.

; ;

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Steve Galea

Hunter, angler, outdoors writer, humour columnist -- man of leisure and, formerly, leisure suits. An editor at Ontario Outdoors, he sidelines for The Observer writing humour about the great outdoors.