Dog lets man play with steelhead. Image Fishpond.

Appalachia, One of these days these boots are gonna walk all over you, and I’ll be a packin’ just what I need

By Skip Clement

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen you’re on a fixed income or time clock equivalent and have a severe addiction to fly fishing, you have to make decisions. What is it you want and what is it you need? Coming up with the right answer of need leads to a question of affordability, and that does not mean settling for less, ever.

I rounded that bend years ago. I try to buy what I want or save to get precisely what I want; I try not to settle for less – it seems to always disappoint

[dropcap]W[/dropcap]hen I  was no longer an available boat or big river fly fisherperson, I moved from Yamaha ninety powered skiff adventures that tooled us around Biscayne Bay, Everglades National Park, and the nearshore Atlantic Ocean to the saltless waters of Atlanta.

I’m north of Atlanta in the bustling suburbs of the more idyllic Appalachia – 15 minutes or less from good walk-in fishing to about 45 minutes of the Appalachian Mountains and world class opportunities.

That ancient mountain chain holds thousands of miles of brook trout water along with ponds, lakes, and streams with anadromous stripers, largemouth bass, brown trout, and rainbow trout – besting many more favored US destinations.

Hiking in to fish, I learned the best place to get useful information is a dedicated hiking/camping store. Campers, hikers and canoeists and kayakers (CHAKCers) live by the code of need – not cute or heavy or style dedicated. CHAKCers always buy things that last – some I’ve talked to believe a lifetime is reasonable.

So, I’ve become enamored with cool weather that mountains offer in the summer, great weather in the fall, good in the spring and doable stretches of a fews days to a week at a time in the winter.

Ocean run Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus tshawytscha). A commissioned work by Thom Glace.

Oy ve!

Here are two items I replaced because of purchasing mistakes I learned I’d made while hiking a downslope to a feeder stream of the Toccoa River. A year ago, resting shoeless and sockless with a blistered foot, Doctors Aryeh and Judith Zuckerman of Greenville, South Carolina – formery Brooklyn, NY, came by and we struck up a conversation while Aryeh doctored my foot.

We exchanged cards and promised to write, they both wanted to know more about fly fishing. It was through that correspondence I learned about Orvis’s lightweight and durable boots, but comfortable fishing/hiking boots, as well as the Simms’ pack.

I did not like wasting money but made the best of that by giving the old pack to my nephew’s son, but he only wanted it if I promised not to remove sewn in patches or wash it – the boots went to Goodwill.

The boots are what I wanted, comfortable and light but plenty of support, ankle protection, and mud-skid proof… sort of. The Fishpond pack, a minimalist’s dream, and who doesn’t like light.

Only $99. A friend said it can get wet. Well, I never store loose oatmeal in there so I’m Good.

Fishpond Sling Pack

It looks ordinary and it is, but somehow it’s not. It might be special because of easy access – they really thought that out. It seems when I need something in there, I needed it two minutes ago. In my other adventures not having a one hand feel-around to find something crucial to the moment, which probably had more to do with holding too much “stuff” or poor zipper positioning.

It weighs 2-pounds and dimension out at 13-inches X 8.5-inches x 9-inches.

The advertised features are:

• Includes Fishpond  patented and signature molded drop down fly/cargo bench with outside velcro for fly foam attachment

• Hypalon and tool attachment features in all the right places

• Coated YKK water resistant zippers

• Flexible TPE lash tabs for rod tubes

• Integrated net sleeve on back panel

• Shoulder pad work station with velcro and Hypalon attachment points

• Cyclepond recycled fabric

Might be the best wade boots I’ve ever owned. Around $170. With any wade boot – don’t be chintzy on socks or booties. Buy the best – they’re like sunglasses.  Think gravel guard if the location calls for that consideration. Carry a pair with you, you can’t put them on if you don’t have them.

Orvis Men’s Ultralight Wading Boot

My hikes through the  woods weren’t difficult if you had a good pair of boots that had the right breeding of light, durable, supple right out of the box, and good toes and ankle protection. They had to perform like a functionable hiking tool, but at its best in being a wade boot.

Orvis’ ads focus on lightweight and durability, and rightly so.

Men’s whole sizes 7-14.

• Quick-drying Clarino™ microfiber provides a better strength-to-weight ratio than traditional leather

• Mini ripstop inserts provide added durability without the weight

• Abrasion-resistant rubber spray adds an additional layer of protection in high wear zones

• Tightly woven laces improve abrasion resistance

• Custom Vibram® EVA midsole for all-day comfort

• TPU plate for improved stud retention

• Dual durometer Vibram® outsole featuring the proprietary Orvis lug pattern gives solid traction in wet and dry conditions.


Designed to accept metal studs in strategic locations if needed

Approx. weight 40 oz/pair (size 10M)

PosiGrip Screw-in Studs: Aggressive tungsten-carbide tipped screw-in studs that can be added to any wading boot with at least ½” of mid-sole depth. Sharp tip allows for quick and easy installation into felt or rubber out-soles. A must where maximum traction is needed. ¼” hex head screws. Adapter for power drill included. 20 studs per pack. Made in USA.

Winner of the 2017 IFTD Best of Show Award – Men’s Wading Boots




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