I was joking with a friend the other day that I am not actually in the habit of getting down load and taking a close look at the wading boots and studs that people wear when they are fishing, but for some reason another friend and I got into a conversation the other day about wading studs. I grant you that the excitement levels to be had from talking about studs in wading boots might have been in part due to over two months of east winds and a couple of cases of cabin fever, but joking aside, I think I might have learnt something pretty interesting - if that is that wading boot studs remotely float your boat............
My mate Mark lure fishes for bass a lot, and I mean a serious amount. He is a very good angler who catches a lot of bass because he knows his local waters backwards and he knows how to fish them, and by virtue of fishing a hell of a lot over all kinds of ground Mark obviously puts the gear he uses through plenty of hell. He came round the other day to kindly drop something off and he noticed a new pair of Orvis wading boots sitting outside my front door that I am about to start trying out to see how they do.
Having not been down on the ground checking out Mark's wading boots (any why not you might ask), he started telling me about his own Orvis wading boots that he had been using (and seriously abusing) for a year - yes, the boots are looking worse for wear with the hammering they have had, but of real interest to me were the Orvis studs in the bottom of the boots - and I kid you not I could see literally no wear on them at all, plus Mark assures me that the boots and studs have never, ever been washed in freshwater. They are the same studs that are in the bottom of the pair of boots I have here to try out, and with Mark's boots it's a case of the studs looking like they will easily outlast the actual boots - and I can't believe I had never come across these Orvis "PosiGrip Screw-In Studs" before.
Now believe it or not I have used a number of different studs over the last few years. Some of you may wonder what all the fuss is about, but I am not personally about to start fishing the kinds of places I fish without as much grip as I can get. I still reckon the SupaTracks Best Grip studs are fantastic, but there is a slight flaw to them that I have discovered over a long time using them. They do not wear down and they provide fantastic grip, but it seems that the lack of a flange around the stud means that over time the stud begins to "sink" into the sole of your boot and therefore you lose some grip "efficiency" if you like - this may just be me though, because I have always worn shoes and boots very hard.
I have been trying out these new Goat Head Sole Spikes recently as well. Very easy to put in, although the first time around I got a bit overexcited (about wading studs, go figure) and put far too many of them in - which resulted in me losing a load that simply came out. Now that I have the correct number of spikes in each boot I have not lost any, but as good as they look and as good a grip they give, they are wearing down a little too quickly for my liking. These studs have been in since about late October last year - again though, this might be me and the way I wear through boots, but I can't help thinking they might not quite be up to the kind of fishing I do.
Some of the best grip I have ever had was with the Simms HardBite Star Cleat Studs that I used a while back. Holy cow these things help attach you to the rocks like a limpet, but they are very expensive and I wore mine down flat after only one week in Ireland - plus a number of them fell out. I think Simms make some awesome (but expensive) gear, but with these studs I think it might be a case of a product working fine in freshwater but not over the kind of ground we might fish in saltwater.
Now I reckon that a "perfect" wading stud would be a combination of those SupaTracks and their very grippy and tough as hell spikes together with the wide flange and ease of insertion of the Goat Head ones. Although my Goat Head ones have worn down too much for my liking, they have not moved at all on the bottom of my boots.
But how about these Orvis studs ? Well obviously I can't give you any personal experiences with them yet, but I can't ignore what a mate who fishes that much shows and tells me. A set of these PosiGrip Screw-In studs retail for £30 (check here for example, and yes, it's a mate's website, and yes, he's paying me a fat-whack of a commission because he's got nothing better to do), so while that's hardly small change, I simply can't argue with how there is essentially no wear on those studs that are on Mark's boots. I will report back when I have some decent time with them myself, but as far as wading boot studs can go on the excitement scale, things look pretty "interesting".............