Fishing Waders are a great asset to have on the stream, but they can quickly become a foul, undesirable stench in your garage if not cared for properly. In this article I want to outline some basic fishing waders care and maintenance that I follow to keep my fishing waders functioning and smelling fresh.
Fishing waders care and maintenance after fishing
At the end of a great day of fishing, it’s really tempting to just throw your gear in the back of the car and head for a local establishment for a drink. However, I would caution you to take a couple extra moments to properly care for your waders.
When you take off your waders, first be sure to reduce the sand and gravel that gets ground into the neoprene booties of the waders. This will help prevent unnecessary wear on the waders that will eventually begin to wear the material thin and compromise the water resistance of the waders. Many Wader Bags have changing mats that will provide a clean surface to put your “bootied” feet on and save the neoprene.
Secondly, rather than wadding up your waders or stuffing them into a plastic bag, try to lay them out over the back seat of in the bed of a truck to start drying out the waders. This will help ward off the beginnings of mold and mildew until you can hang them up properly.
Fishing waders care and maintenance at home
When you get back the lodge/cabin/home, at a minimum be sure to hang up your waders up in the garage, outside, or in any other well ventilated area and let the waders dry out completely. If you have the ability to store the waders this way, you can leave them until the next time you go fishing. Otherwise, make sure to leave them hanging for a day or longer and don’t store them until they are completely dry.
With the concern if Didymo (rock snot) in North American streams and rivers, a better idea would be to hose off the waders and wading boots with clean water to prevent the spread of this nasty little diatom to other streams. Some popular fishing areas even have wader washing stations at popular access points. Take advantage of these when available.
Advanced fishing waders care
From time to time it may be necessary to take additional steps to prolong the life of your waders and to stave off wader funk. I recently read a post that recommended a product called MiraZyme that uses enzymes to fight the funk of fishing waders and to take an extra step to prolong the life of waders. For small holes that need patched, check out McNett Aquaseal.