Wading Small Streams: Making A Case For Wet Wading

Editor’s Note: While the summer season is winding down for many, it’s still a great opportunity to get out on the water. Adam Klagsbrun wrote this great piece for Tenkara Angler (Winter 2015-16) that provides some different wading options for those looking to enter a small stream fishery.

Wading Small Streams:
Making A Case For Wet Wading
By Adam Klagsbrun

Fishing small streams with a Tenkara rod takes specific form for some, as the “long rod and short line” approach allows for the less-glamorous casting methods needed to present flies to small targets and in tight quarters when there’s no room to backcast at all.

But beyond presenting a fly, there is an issue at hand that many anglers don’t seem to consider quite as readily… that there’s a better way to present themselves on these streams – one that promotes a more comfortable and versatile approach to crawling around the banks and walking through the water.

There are two main reasons to consider a wet wading setup. The first relates to the reality that you are not going to be stepping in water much higher than your knees in a small stream because you don’t need to.

Second, instead of using your expensive waterproof waders that will get torn, poked with thorns, scuffed on rocks, and generally abused while sweating profusely as you get a real work out navigating the stream; rejoice in the knowledge that you now have shin and knee protection, thorn protection, and will generally just experience less discomfort.

Enter the Japanese-inspired idea of wearing a neoprene gaiter on top of a high neoprene sock. This system has a few advantages over wearing waders and is something you’ll encounter if you fish in Japan.

First off, your body regulates the temperature automatically. It works like a wetsuit. Summary: water soaks through, you get wet. Your body heats up the water between your skin and the neoprene, and you are in the comfort zone.

Additionally, you don’t have to be sweaty in your waders. On a hot day, the cool water keeps you much more comfortable than your waders ever could. On a cold day, your body temperature kicks in and keeps you warm.

Sure, there will be moments when you step into some fast water and the warm water gets displaced. Fear not! Your body will remedy the situation quickly. This system works even when temps are down into the 40’s. It becomes more important for you to bring extra layers when it’s colder out, such as a jacket and insulating layer like a fleece in case the cold water begins to sap heat from your core.

The rest of the outfit consists of quick-drying outdoor pants or ¾ length pants. Roll the legs up to your knee, and in the summer you might want to wear shorts. When it gets cold, use a cooler-weather soft shell hiking pant that has a little more thickness and some wind resistance. I can’t say enough great things about the versatility of the setup. If you’d like to try it out, I’ll include a list of some current options. Wet wading socks can be purchased online or at most fly fishing stores around the country. Use your existing wading boots, or size down if you go for the thinner summer wet wading socks.

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Daiwa Neo NG-400 Gaiter – a black, knee-high gaiter with a padded knee and Velcro closure. This gaiter is designed to be used alone, or with a neoprene wading sock (preferable.) It is not wide enough to fit around most waders.

Little Presents Wader Gaiters – These are thicker neoprene, wider circumference and have longer Velcro straps so they are well suited to be used on top of waders – but can also be used alone. If you have extremely skinny legs, these might not be the best option for you, but they work.

Tiemco Foxfire Airista Gaiters & High Socks – These are the ones I’ve been using. They are similar to the Daiwa Neo Gaiters but are a different color and a slightly different cut. They are also not designed to fit over waders, they can be used alone, or with the Airista thigh-high wet wading sock. I highly recommend this combination.

If you enjoyed this article by Adam, you can read more of his work at his blog, Of Rock & Riffle.

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An Angler’s Guide To Insect Repellants & Other Ways To Prevent Insect Bites

Editor’s Note: It’s atypical to take articles from Tenkara Angler magazine and re-post them here on the blog. That said, this article is so informative (and topical in these summer months), it probably deserves to be caught up in things like Google search for all to find. It was written by Rob Worthing for the Summer 2017 issue of Tenkara Angler. I hope you find it helpful, I know I did. 

AN ANGLER’S GUIDE TO INSECT REPELLANTS AND OTHER WAYS TO PREVENT INSECT BITES
By Rob Worthing, MD FAWM

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The author displays a classic rash of tick borne illnesses like Lyme

I’ve always wanted to write something about biting insects for anglers. But, the inevitable distractions – like actually fishing – always got in the way. Today, I find myself in a position where I have no excuse. Instead, I appear to have a tick borne illness. I got lazy, didn’t protect myself, and I got bit. As I sit at home, using up my sick days from work, enjoying a screaming fever, fatigue, malaise, headache, and one crazy bull’s eye rash, it only seems fitting that I write this article. So read up and arm yourself with some knowledge, because you don’t want what I got!

Each summer across fly fishing rags, forums, blogs, and social media outlets the debate over the best line of defense from mosquitoes, ticks, and other biting insects erupts. Why? Two reasons. First, these little blood suckers are annoying. Second, they carry diseases that we really don’t want. Diseases like Lyme, West Nile, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, and Tick Borne Paralysis to name a few. Throw in Zika and a few news reports on Powassan virus this summer, and things get bonkers.

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Matt Sment fishes a buggy lie in the Driftless region of Wisconsin

The difficult part for most of us fisherpersons is trying to figure out the good information from the bad. What really works, and what doesn’t work so well? What’s safe, and what’s not so safe to use? Many of us have a particular product that works well for us around our home waters. Such experience can be very helpful. To further help us make an educated choice, this article will summarize the best evidence on the subject of insect bite prevention that science has provided us to date. Only here the info is geared for real-world use by anglers, not so much the scientists.

A fly fisherperson can control biting insects in two ways. First, using physical barriers. Second, using chemical barriers like insect repellants. There’s also the not-so-effective, sometimes dangerous stuff out there that we ought to address. That gives this article a total of three parts – physical barriers, chemical barriers, and not-so-effective/dangerous stuff. And since the chemicals are what seem to be debated the most, we’ll subdivide a few to try and provide everyone with an evidence-based plan to prevent bites they can feel good about.

Physical Barriers
Physical barriers are your primary protection from biting insects. A physical barrier is anything that minimizes access of biting insects to your body, whether limiting exposed skin to flying insects, or entry points for crawling insects.

  • Light colors. Light colors are less attractive to mosquitoes and certain biting flies and make it easy to spot crawling insects for removal.
  • Layers. Tuck in your shirt and pants. Button sleeves and collars. Overlap base layers, socks, outer garments, and accessories like gloves. This eliminates entry points for crawling insects like ticks.
  • Loose fit. This deters thru-bites from mosquitoes and certain biting flies.
  • Long sleeves and pants. Limiting skin exposure minimizes access for biting insects. Popular sun protection items like fishing gloves, glasses, and neck gaiters help, too.
  • A wide brimmed hat. Black flies and midges avoid the area under the brim. That’s right, somebody actually published a study on wide brimmed hats.
  • Mesh. If you want to use a mesh head net, or looking at a mesh tent/bivy, get one that is 27 mesh/inch or finer to keep the smallest biting flies away.

Chemical Barriers
Choosing and using chemical insecticides and repellants can be intimidating, even scary. But if you want the most effective prevention strategies, you need chemical barriers. Here are the important facts about three different effective chemical strategies.

1. Permethrin + DEET
This is the most effective combo known, and it has the longest track record of safe use. Permethrin is a clothing treatment. DEET goes on the exposed skin. These products should be used in combination. Together, they can prevent 99.9% of mosquito bites (1 vs. 1888 bites/hour in one Alaskan study).

Permethrin:

  • A synthetic version of a natural chemical found in chrysanthemums.
  • It works by repelling insects and killing some on contact.
  • Resulted in 100% tick death after contact with treated cloth.
  • Also effective against chiggers, fleas, lice, mosquitoes, and biting flies.
  • Poor absorption and rapid inactivation in mammals, but you can still make yourself sick if you don’t use it right
  • Meant for treating clothing only, NOT SKIN!
  • Be sure the clothing is completely DRY before using
  • Don’t treat underwear, base layers or the inside of hats. Socks are okay, though.
  • It is also really toxic to aquatic life. Luckily, once dry it is water insoluble, which means you can wear them fishing without any worry. Just don’t treat your clothes around any water sources, and (repeat) make sure clothing is completely DRY before using.
  • Not only is it water insoluble once dry, but resistant to UV degradation, too. It will still repel insects after as many as 50 washes, but its ability to kill flies on contact wears out faster.
  • It binds to cotton and nylon really well.
  • It does not bind to DWR treated fabric like your rain jacket and tent fly. A lot of outdoor shirts and pants have a DWR coating, too. So check before treating.
  • It is flammable in liquid form, but dry clothes are fine. So treat your clothes before you travel – don’t try to bring a bottle on the plane.
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Sawyer Permethrin for treating clothing & gear

DEET:

  • Works by vaporizing, forming a barrier of vapor over your skin.
  • Effective against mosquitos, biting flies, fleas, ticks, chiggers, and mites. But less effective against certain species of biting midges.
  • 200 million users worldwide, less than 50 cases of significant toxicity in over 50 years of use. It has the longest track record of safety of any insect repellant, as long as you FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS.
  • Use on exposed skin only. No need to put it on under your clothes.
  • Don’t put it around cuts and scrapes or mucus membranes like your eyes, nose, mouth, or genitals.
  • Don’t rub it on your head. A little swipe on the back of the neck is fine.
  • 100% DEET is BAD. It is less effective, and increase the risk of making yourself sick.
  • Look for a 20-40% concentration of DEET. Less than 20%, and you loose duration of effect. There is zero added benefit to concentrations above 40%.
  • Also look for a polymerized DEET. Polymerization slows the vaporization process. This stuff is controlled release, lasting 12 hours.
  • It still repels if you sequentially apply it with sunscreen, only the SPF of the sunscreen might be reduced.
  • DEET is a plasticizer. It melts plastic. Keep it away from your gear.
  • For all of the above reasons, wash your hands really good right after putting it on, before you touch your gear or go fishing.
  • 3M Ultrathon and Sawyer Controlled Release are good. These are around 33% DEET in a polymerized form.
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3M Ultrathon, a sustained release DEET product

2. Permethrin + Picaridin
A great alternative for anglers. We already covered Permethrin. Picaridin is a skin repellant like DEET, only with some bonus features.

Picaridin

  • Used on exposed skin similar to DEET.
  • Effective against mosquitos, biting flies, and ticks.
  • 20% concentration offers 8-hour protection.
  • Not greasy like polymerized DEET.
  • It won’t melt plastics, and won’t hurt your gear.
  • It’s a newer product, so it doesn’t have the long track record like DEET does. But studies so far suggest it is as effective and safe.
  • Nutrapel makes a great 20% picaridin option.
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Nutrapel, an effective alternative for anglers that won’t melt your gear

3. Oil of Citronella
For those who want an effective all-natural option.

  • The most effective botanical repellant.
  • EPA registered in 1948, so it has a long track record of safe use, too.
  • But you still have to FOLLOW DIRECTIONS to avoid getting sick.
  • Used on exposed skin like DEET and Picaridin.
  • The downside is a really short duration of effect. The recommendation is for reapplication every hour to maintain its efficacy.

Not So Effective/Dangerous Stuff

  • Area Repellants. Candles, coils, butane burners, vermiculite, etc. Their efficacy under ideal conditions varies widely. Wind, humidity, and other environmental factors impact the effective area. In Japan, incense coils burn regularly around the dinner table after a long day of fishing. If you’re going to fork out the dough, just know that the evidence is kind of weak and that their ability to deter insects is dependent on a lot of other things.
  • For Wear Devices. Bracelets, pins, and the like. Their efficacy is limited to the immediate vicinity around the device. In other words, the skin right around the bracelet on your wrist. Might be enough if you’re covered up, but there is likely a better option out there for you.
  • Animal Products. Flea and tick collars, cattle tags, and the like. These contain a variety of pesticides not cleared for human use. Adverse local and systemic effects are associated with use in humans. For example, more than one Marine or Soldier has suffered chemical burns on their legs from using flea collars as anklets. Leave the animal products to the animals.
  • Ingested Products. Garlic, vitamin B1, and more. There just isn’t any evidence to support their use. Some can be harmful. For example, eating match heads to prevent chigger bites. Sulfur products used on the skin are, in fact, effective against chiggers. But eating match heads doesn’t work. Neither does getting drunk. In fact, the metabolites that leak out of our skin after a heavy night of drinking might attract certain flying insects.
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Big fish and blood suckers abound in the author’s home water

10 Colors Tenkara Forum Hoo-rag

In a partnership with Peder, the caretaker of the 10 Colors Tenkara forum, we’re using the Tenkara Angler storefront as a venue to help the forum sell some merchandise, in this case, a super functional Hoo-Rag. (Just don’t call it a Buff).
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There are actually two methods to acquire a Hoo-Rag:

Option 1: If you find value in the 10 Colors Tenkara forum and would like to support it, please consider making a donation (click here). For any donations $20 or greater, you will receive one free 10 Colors Tenkara Hoo-rag. For any donations $35 or greater, you will receive two free. They will be sent anywhere in the world. The donated funds will go directly to keeping the forum up and running.

Option 2: From the Tenkara Angler web store for $13, shipping included within the US. These are being sold essentially at cost plus shipping to those that are interested in wearing the colors and spreading the word about the forum!

So there you go, should you need some multi-functional sun protection for your angling pursuits and want to rep the 10 Colors Tenkara forum, enjoy!

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Gear: Tenkara Fly Fishing Spool Fly Boxes

Some really nice tenkara fly fishing spool/fly boxes were recently posted online by Dennis Vander Houwen, author of the Tenkara Path blog and proprietor of the NightSparrowDesigns Etsy Store. They are available for purchase HERE.

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Available in 3 different types of wood, these spools hold one or two tenkara lines and swivel open to reveal compartments that hold about a dozen flies.   At $45, these would not only be a great addition to one’s personal tenkara gear kit, but a perfect gift for that tenkara angler that has everything.

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Tenkara Angler Tamo T-Shirt

Today we’re happy to announce our new Tenkara Angler “Tamo T-Shirt,” a collaboration with Six Waters Co., is now available for sale in the Tenkara Angler Square store.

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Designed by the guys at Six Waters, this tee is a super-soft 60/40 cotton/poly blend, the kind of tee that’s perfect for the water, or just lounging around the house. I’d also say it’s rather true fitting, and not a  too-tight “hipster” cut. (Sorry bros!)  I’m 6’0, 210 pounds and fit in a size XL with room to spare.

The first print run was a very limited edition, so if you’re interested, they’re available in the Square store HERE, (along with Tenkara Angler stickers, and other assorted merchandise).

Tenkara USA Sato “5-Way Zoom” Hack

One of my “New Year’s Resolutions” for 2017 is to make this blog that accompanies Tenkara Angler a bit more lively. Make it a place to share some of the goings on that happen during the 3 months between issues, providing more value to our subscribers. Even though it’s not January yet, figure there’s no time like the present.

On that note, Dave Blackhurst (@tenkarautah) shared this interesting Tenkara USA Sato “hack” on Instagram yesterday, one I don’t think I’ve seen before. I asked him if I could share it here, and he graciously agreed.

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“I fish the triple zoom Sato Rod from Tenkara USA – this is a great rod that can be fished at 10′, 11′ and 12′. This is great for almost all waters but for the really small creeks with lots of over hanging branches I use to carry a smaller rod. If you want to carry only one rod for all your waters try this tip.

Go to the hardware store and buy a 5/16 rubber o-ring for 59 cents and place it on the main segment when getting started. You can leave it there when not using it. Now if you want to fish the rod at 7′ or 8′, just insert the ring between those segments and the main segment like the pic above and it will create a pressure tension that will hold the rod in place. Now you’ll have a rod that can be fished at 5 different lengths. Super easy and quick to change out.

I only use this technique on very small water. I have had no casting problems with short level lines and the fish in those creeks won’t increase any breakage because they are usually small trout. If the river can handle a longer rod that is what you should use. Tenkara is much more effective when you can use the longest rod possible.”

Tenkara Angler Note: “Hacking” or using a rod in a way unintended by the manufacturer may void the warranty. While replacement parts for tenkara rods are generally inexpensive, please proceed at your own risk.