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Thread: Felt soled boots

  1. #1
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    Default Felt soled boots

    An interesting issue I have come across here is that the use of felt soled boots is not considered very eco-friendly. The argument being that they absorb and hold moist the various organisms from the river and transfer these to other rivers. This is a particular problem here with an algae called Didymo or river snot. The fly fishermen allegedly fish the rivers on the South Island where this is prevalent and transfer it over to the North Island in the felt on their boots. The only way to prevent this is to boil the felt before you go into any new rivers.

    Something of a controversial theory! I am throwing it out to see if we can get some other opinions.

  2. #2
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    Didymo is a serious concern here as it could seriously affect the trout fishery. Also called "rock snot" it thrives in clean flowing water, the exact same conditions that makes for good trout habitat. It was most likely brought to NZ from a tourist flyfisher from the US, a stowaway on his gear. In the US it does not seem to be a major problem but in NZ it has reached plague proportions on some South Island waters, and is spreading by the week. Mostly spread by recreational river users but possibly also by water birds.

    A year after its discovery the officials have suddenly decided that felt soles could be a major vector for transfer, would have been nice to know this sooner! Disinfecting through use of detergents had been recommended until then. Now they reckon that felt soles are their own little ecosystems that take a long time to get properly dry and in the meantime harbour a vast array of eggs, larvae and spores from all sorts of creatures. Heat treatment or allowing time for the soles to get completely dry is now the recommended treatment for felt soles when moving between river catchments. In some areas of the SI felt soles are now banned and river users need to find alternatives. Aquastealth seems to be a favourite.

    I love my felt soled wading boots so have been reluctant to make the change. Until now it hasn't been much of an issue as I hardly ever fish two catchments in such a short space of time that my gear doesn't dry completely. But I feel that I need to replace my boots soon, particularly if (when?) didymo hits the North Island.

    I remember a post that referred to snot in the Vaal. Is this the same thing?


  3. #3
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    Feb 2007
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    Dundee KZN
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    At least the authorities are taking it seriously. Whether it will ever be erradicated or managed, who knows? Serious food for thought for the South Africans that are so keen to get the US $$$ from tourism, including eco-activity tourism!

  4. #4
    Gogga Banned User

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    That makes interesting reading,

    you guys ever thought of getting Korker boots - (I have them and I think they are bloody fantastic) - anyhow - all you do is remove the Felt sole - and boil / dis-infect - clip in a spare pair of aqua stealth and away you go - perhaps this will help ?

    May even be a great business opportunity - who knows?

    All the best
    Mike

    http://korkers.com/water.php
    Last edited by Gogga; 16-02-07 at 08:55 PM.

  5. #5
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    I first heard about this horror some years back when it spread I believe only briefly in parts of the River Wye on the English/Welsh border. I remember a friend who lived at Hay-on-Wye complaining he'd found it in the quieter parts and that it could interfere with the salmon and trout fishing for all the various reasons. I havn't heard of him since so maybe the 'rock snot' got to him in a 'B' grade horror movie! A local botanist guy says that so far Didymo hasn't been 'reported' in South Africa. That doesn't mean of course it's not here already to join forces with the five other main types of invasive aquatic weeds here. We get 'duckweed' in our local school dam at times - this looks more like the 'snot' that's hit NZ, but apparently is a totally different species. On the Vaal I think a lot of the stuff maybe duckweed in slower parts, or old man's beard or silkweed none if which I am told is related to Didymo either. Would be interested to hear any expert identification of these various weeds/'slime'?

    Anyway we can't be too careful, Oz and NZ correctly are very very careful on trying to prevent any invasive flora or fauna, being self-contained islands.

    I know when I visit the Vaal or our local warmer water rivers or dams, I always wash waders, boots and tackle after fishing in fresh water 'on site' trying not to spread any possible 'germs' but the heat treatment seems obviously the only way to go for real bggers like Didymo.

    I'm also very interested to hear what our erudite forumers have to say? Very important to ensure we don't transfer noxious eggs, goggas (not 'Gogga') and seeds/plants to other areas, and to develop appropriate prevention

    Cheers, good w/e's fishin' to all

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gogga View Post
    you guys ever thought of getting Korker boots - (I have them and I think they are bloody fantastic) - anyhow - all you do is remove the Felt sole - and boil / dis-infect - clip in a spare pair of aqua stealth and away you go - perhaps this will help ?
    http://korkers.com/water.php
    Mike, I really like the idea. It means that I can still use felt soles on ocassion but have a practical way of disinfecting them. There are some rivers where I could just not imagine being without felts - downright dangerous. But the Aquastealth are probably a better all-round choice where a cross country hike is needed to get to the river.

    My only concern would be how durable are the Korkers? I have seen them advertised and always wondered how they will stand up to a few season's bashing? The interchangeable soles sounds like a great idea but I just wonder how robust this system is in practice?

  7. #7
    Gogga Banned User

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    Kev,

    I'm into my third season now with a single pair of korkers- mine go everywhere, salt, fresh, hikes - you name it - I'm quite hard on my kit - but they have lasted - in-fact the second best where a pair of Sims (looked smart with my G3 waders) - 18 months and they where stuffed.

    So yea - I would say they are an excellent buy - I certainly would recommend them to anyone.

    BTW - when I first got mine - I was quite convinced that the soles would pop - to be absolutely honest - never happened - in fact it is quite difficult to get them out once in.

    All the best
    Mike

  8. #8
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    Thanks Mike, I can feel an early birthday present coming on.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kevin Elliott View Post
    Mike, I really like the idea. It means that I can still use felt soles on ocassion but have a practical way of disinfecting them. There are some rivers where I could just not imagine being without felts - downright dangerous. But the Aquastealth are probably a better all-round choice where a cross country hike is needed to get to the river.

    My only concern would be how durable are the Korkers? I have seen them advertised and always wondered how they will stand up to a few season's bashing? The interchangeable soles sounds like a great idea but I just wonder how robust this system is in practice?
    Kevin

    I imported a pair of Korkers from the USA a few years back. I ordered 3 sole types, felt, Aquastealth and hiking. The boots appeared well constructed, tough and durable. After about 1 season they started coming apart. The soles, which are held in position with a velcro piece and a strap, would come loose in the river or on the hike in. I had the straps and boots repaired a number of times. The boot problem, aside from the soles, was that the bonded on rubber bits ( eg like the toe caps ) would disbond.

    Eventually I converted the boots to permanent Aquastealth with completely new soles. I keep these boots as spares now.

    My no 1 boots now are Vision Stealth boots with studded Aquastealth soles. They are lighter than the korkers and can handle the walk in and river conditions prevalent in Cape Town very well. (Although some people will argue that studs "scare the fish away")

    In summary, I would not recommend Korkers if your fishing involves tough hiking and tough wading - they will not last.

  10. #10
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    Neil, thanks for relating your experience with Korkers. I have now heard some very mixed reviews. I have also heard that the newer models have corrected some of the problems of earlier models. But on the balance it sounds like a risky proposition to buy them so I may look at something else.

    Is it possible to buy aquastealth and have a shoe repairer convert existing boots to aquastealth?
    Life is a series of trout missions with that numbing feeling in between...

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