“There’s no such thing as bad weather, there are only badly dressed anglers.” I confirm the truth of this saying every time I go fishing in difficult weather conditions, in which many people wouldn’t even consider leaving the house, let alone go searching for fish. Nothing discourages from fishing like cold, wind, and slanting rain or snow. All you can think of then is a mug of hot tea and the warmth of home and hearth. This is the reason why many anglers decide not to fish at all from late fall to early spring. But not only then. Heat and blistering sun can also teach you a lesson.
Ensuring thermal comfort is a crucial matter. It’s as important as equipment such as rods, lines, reels and lures. Apart from thermal and breathable qualities provided by garments made of modern fabrics, many of them are also waterproof so you can go into water to get access to places unavailable from the bank and the fish feeding there.
Today I will focus on this year’s new product, a set for wading consisting of breathable chest waders and wading shoes from Mikado. Why discuss it now? Because I’ve been lucky enough to use this set for some months now and I think this period of time lets me draw some conclusions based on field testing.
Material and execution.
Chest waders are made of waterproof fabric which transfers moisture out of the garment. It’s worth mentioning that the fabric is covered with teflon so water rolls off like off the proverbial duck. High level of breathability. A long trek on a hot day doesn’t cause excessive sweating or boiling as can happen e.g. in rubber chest waders. It’s also important to make sure you’re wearing the rights clothes under the “rompers.”
In the summer I would often wear nothing underneath. On slightly cooler days thermal underwear was enough. In the winter I would put on thermal long johns and fleece trousers as a second layer. Remember not to use cotton clothes because they don’t transfer moisture outside but absorb water. A few permeable layers will ensure dryness and thermal comfort.
The “rompers” are durable when it comes to mechanical damage, and knees, which are the spots most vulnerable to tears and deformations, have been strengthened with an additional layer of the fabric.
Chest waders are finished off not with the classic rubber boot, but a neoprene sock.
Additionally, the place where the two are connected is protected by an “apron” made of the same fabric as the entire “romper.”
This apron is finished off with a rubber draw cord.
And a metal clip.
Once you’ve put on the shoe and fastened it,
You secure the “apron” to the shoelaces.
This solution ensures that the shoe is air-tight and eliminates the problems of stones and slugs getting into the shoes as well as the risk of getting the laces tangled up with obstacles.
Getting to the top of the “rompers,” there is a set of loops on the belt level.
You push the attached belt through the loops and fasten it with a durable clip.
The belt is an important element of the “rompers.” It helps eliminate getting too much air inside the suit and stabilizes the whole garment. Once I forgot to take the belt with me and believe me – I’ll never make this mistake again. A detail, but it makes all the difference.
Another element is a front pocket secured with a waterproof zip. It will even hold a largish box with lures, while spreading the weight in such a way that you won’t even notice that you’re wearing it.
Another pocket is located on the inside of the pants.
Right next to it there’s another place where you can regulate the width of the rompers, this time to adjust it under the angler’s armpits.
The rompers are fastened with suspenders. The clips resemble the ones used in the belt, but they are placed asymmetrically so that the straps don’t tangled on your back.
The straps themselves are wide so they don’t put pressure on your arms. Additionally they are equipped with wide and soft neoprene inserts to ensure comfort. You’ll also find so-called D-rings at both clips.
They can be used to attach e.g. pliers to hook up fish, or any other equipment commonly used at the water. Thanks to them, and the pockets, you don’t need a fishing vest or a backpack for short-term fishing.
Wading shoes are a perfect finish to the whole set.
Mikado has introduced 2 versions of the sole. For those wading on slippery stones, shoes with a felt layer will be a great choice. Since I walk a lot on the bank, often in the mud, I chose the rubber sole.
The shoes themselves are also worth a closer look because they were intelligently designed to ensure the highest possible comfort of use. The excess of water is transported out of the shoe through special openings and there’s a strong handle above the heel which makes it easier to put on the often wet shoes.
The tongue of the shoe is wide and sewn into the construction of the shoe, and like the collar it eliminates the risk of rocks and sand falling into the shoe.
The shoes I’m describing are perhaps the 4th pair of this kind I’ve had. They are the first that have such a big opening for the foot when unlaced.
A detail? Just try to put on wet shoes on wet “rompers” through a narrow opening. It’s torture. And with intense fishing your clothing often doesn’t have time to dry out before the next trip. I think it’s a great advantage.
The rubber sole ensures good traction on wet surface, and there’s also a thick layer of foam under it, which guarantees comfort and shock absorption useful especially when walking on stones. The shoes are finished off with strong and thick laces. The shoe is high enough to stabilize the ankle, which can be easily hurt while wading. It’s also worth mentioning that the fabric these shoes are made of does not absorb much water so they don’t become heavy and uncomfortable when wet.
The finish is another strong point of the “rompers.” You won’t find a stray thread or a faulty seam, even after intense use and many kilometers walked in difficult weather conditions. Each seam is lined on the inside to guarantee air tightness.
This is also the case with the neoprene sock.
S, or XXL? Or a few words about sizes.
I guess some people don’t have an opportunity to try chest waders on before buying them and use online shopping instead. It’s important to pick the right size, not only for aesthetic reasons. If the garment is too small it will stretch, e.g. when you squat or kneel, and if it’s too loose it might tear the elements of the garment that stick out. Let me use my own example. I’m 180 cm tall and weigh around 75-80 kg. I chose size M and this is definitely the right one for me. The length of the legs is perfect and you can easily adjust the placement of the rompers with the straps on your shoulder.
Many anglers also have problems when ordering wading shoes. Should you pick the size you normally wear, or something slightly bigger? After all, neoprene socks are also quite thick. Remember that a small shoe will limit blood circulation, so your foot can get cold quickly in the colder seasons; on the other hand, a foot moving around in a shoe that’s too large may cause the neoprene to tear. In the case of Mikado wading shoes the decision is simple. Pick the same shoe size you normally wear. Some extra room is built into the shoe itself. Since I normally wear size 43 I also bought this size of wading shoes.
My wading set has been through many trips in various conditions. From snows and winter trout, to July chub trips in desert-like heat. They have worked in all conditions provided that, as I’d already mentioned, they were used with appropriate inner clothing. They don’t leak and you can’t see any mechanical signs of use on them, despite the fact that I used them trekking through thick bushes on the banks and wading in deep water, both in Odra and mountain rivers.
Another important advantage of the chest waders is the insulation, not only from external conditions, but also from ticks. I have found a few dozen of these dangerous insects on me this year. Either I was able to see them in time on the light fabric, or they fell off the slippery telfon surface themselves.
Some of my friends also decided to try this set and I’ve only heard positive opinions. The comfort of fishing increases so much that you can devote your full attention to fishing and access remote places, which has a definite impact on the results you achieve.
And finally a few words about the price. Compared to the offer of other producers of angling equipment dedicated to spinning and fly fishing enthusiasts, this set is about 2 or 3 times cheaper, sometimes even more. The relation of price to quality of Mikado’s wading set is really great. You get a solid, well-designed set which will satisfy even a discerning angler for a good price. This set was designed for anglers, by anglers, and I definitely recommend it!
Good luck on your fishing trips,