Discussion in 'Spey Clave' started by Panhandle, Sep 30, 2009.
Lisa, I wish when I first started fly fishing that someone had explained to me that it will often be more difficult and dangerous for me to wade the same water as a guy, even one of my size. I never could figure out why as I'm a pretty strong wader. After years of frustration, a female doctor explained it like this: In general, a woman's center of gravity is below the waist while a man's is generally higher than the waist, often chest high. Therefore, if we are both in water to our waist, women generally have a higher percentage of their body mass exposed to the current and so are more affected by the currents. I know I've had my feet lifted off the bottom when a guy next to me that was roughly the same size did not. When I heard this, it all made sence and I stopped trying to wade the exact same water or cross in the same places as the guys if I felt that it wasn't right for me. So wade only where you feel you can do it safely, work up to the harder stuff and know your limits - you'll enjoy it more. And a low center of gravity isn't all bad; put us in a canoe or kayak and we have the advantage as our lower center of gravity gives us much more stability.
I don't think I agree Charlie. I've been wading in rivers & streams since I was 9 years old, but it wasn't until I first fished the Deschutes that I learned what the phrase "slicker than snot" really meant. I can tell you that when I went to a wading staff it seemed like I was admitting I couldn't do it on my own, but it sure helped me & I was about 35 or 36 then. Ever since then (i'm 60 now) I have always tried to take a ski pole with me. Works great & for me, adds confidence.
Being a confident wader is important, but knowing one's limits is maybe even more important. I am a lot more conservative as a wader than many, but it is prudent to be safe out there as well. No fish is worth risking my life for.
Grace and Peace,
I don't really view it as a skill, as much as learning to use common sense. Don't wade out and stand right were the fish are (in the middle of the run or hole). Don't wade through high and fast currents (learned that one the hard way by getting swept down river quite a ways). Use a staff or a stick if you feel uncomfortable on the terrain, I don't own a staff yet, but I have nothing against using a stick. Don't get over confident in your studs or felt soles, you can still find yourself on your ass or worse. Just because you got waders on doesn't mean you have to be standing in water, goes back to the first point.
Trent, its not a skill? It is very much a skill. In other words, some people are much better and skillful at wading than others. They can push the limits further while remaining perfectly safe, where as a less skilled wader cannot.
I don't really think it is, I think it is more of understanding your own limitations and using common sense. Essentially, wading is just walking and standing in water, it's true that some things are learned with experience. Some folks might call that a skill, but then some don't. Its just how you choose to interpret it. Let's look at it this way for an example, walking on ice or snow. Not really any skill, can be just as slippery as rocks in a river. Just use common sense and you probably won't find yourself on your ass, walking slow or using something to grab onto while moving (if possible).
Anybody can walk, run, or wade, but some people are better at it then others.
I just think it is a matter of how you or anybody chooses to view it. I don't view it as a skill, whereas you and some others do. Some of the older fellows have chimed in also, there are things that age has prevented them from doing, are they any less skillful? Also, the idea of balance and wieght distribution has been thrown out there too, again I don't view that as a skill, more along the lines of natural ability and, or proper diet and exercise.
I really agree with Pan. I have done a guided trip on the Ronde with a guide for about 5 years now. We fish the same runs year after year. I almost did not go back for the second year as I spent much of my time worrying about falling. The second year I used a wading staff. The third year and since I have just worn an inflatable life vest. Each year I fish with more confidence and I have performed better. It is much easier to fish when you are not worried about falling. A lot of the confidence has come from knowing the runs better, and where I can comfortably wade, but his point of confidence in wading improving results is a definite correlation. And I don think you get better as you do it more. Think about taking your wife, kids, or friends fly fishing and wading the first time and how often they slipped around. It takes some learning, just like riding a bike. That makes it a skill.
Try thinking of it as a two-phase thing: first, simple, easy wading is only a stroll in the water, say, up to your knees. Once you begin to get into deeper, stronger current, or encounter a less-than-smooth bottom, it does take increased strength and balance skills to negotiate. On the Icicle, I almost always use my staff, but on the Deschutes, for example, I rarely need it (around Mecca, at least). The bottom is vastly different between the two, with the Icicle needing a third "leg" to balance on a pointed, teetering rock while knee deep in current. The skill requirement increases with the difficulty of the wading. Wayne's got it pegged, with the added thought about bikes: doesn't take a ton of skill to simply ride a bike down to the store. Try racing, however, and you'll find the skill level increases dramatically. Just like wading an even gravelly bar up to your knees without a lot of current. Now take that same bar, hit it with waist-deep strong water, and add an unstable boulder field. More difficult, perhaps?
Maybe you should talk to Poppy. Perhaps next year at the Clave, right after the casting competition he could have a wading competition.
Back in the 70's when I worked for WDF as a summer temp I could fly over penisula streams/river in hip boots with no felt..at that time we used indoor/outdoor carpeting cut to fit. Now, with trifoculs, its a bitch..depth perception isn't what it was. Gettin old sux..but OMJ is older.
That's a great idead Randall. We'll see who can wade through "Pine tree" the fastest in tennis shoes.