It was somewhere between my fifth and sixth step into the West Branch of
the Delaware river that I said to myself, "the heck with it, I'm getting my
wading staff out now!" The water was not unusually swift and the bottom
was not a jumble of rocks, but I was picking my way forward, shuffling my
wading boots gingerly along. I wade that way in unknown waters, so far it
has proven to be a good plan. (Also recommended in wading the flats
as opposed to picking up your feet.)
I eased up the edge of my fly-vest and pulled the holstered Folstaf forward
on my wading belt more to my left side instead of a bit behind me. Nice thing
about using a Folstaf, you need to wear a wading belt to hang the holster on.
Has about the same effect that seat-belts have I suppose, forcing me to be
safe. I have to admit I haven't always worn a wading belt when I guess
I should have. It doesn't seem as necessary with neoprenes, but it does
make sense with the breathables.
Now I guess this sounds like a commercial for Folstaf, and for that, I'm sorry.
But if this column saves just one dunking or even someone's life, it's sure
worth it. The truth is, I do think the 'Folstaf' brand of wading staff is
probably the best one out there, but if you find another you like better,
more power to you. My point is to get you to buy one and use one. Yes,
I did say, BUY one, and I meant it.
JC had a buddy who looked at a gadget to hold a fly rod on the side of his
float-tube. "Nope," he said, "I'll build my own, heck, be nothing to make
one of those things." The point is, he never got around to it. I know the feeling,
been there, got the hat myself. Guilty as charged for a few decades of wading
without a staff. But, you see, I was immortal back then, or at least I wasn't
thinking about safety as much as I should have been.
Don't give me that story that you will find a branch and use it for a staff. When
was the last time you really did? And just what did you do with it while you
were casting? Oh, sure, it sounds like a good idea, and it is, the only thing
wrong with it is, you won't do it. Another thing, I will admit that the price of
these things was a factor. They are not cheap. They are made of good stuff
and good stuff isn't cheap. You want to trust your life to 'the lowest bidder?'
I don't think so. Not me.
If your wife gives you grief about buying one, take a peek at your life insurance
policy, see if she has raised the pay-off amount, about the only reason I can figure
she would be upset with you for buying something to save your dignity, let alone
Back to the river.
I pulled it out of the holster, unwrapped the lanyard (string thing), tied the end to
a wader D-ring, held onto the cork handle and let the rest of it just drop into the
water. In a flash it was all connected by the bungee cord inside of itself. I picked
and poked about with it some as I advanced. It was the first time in my life I had
ever felt that comfortable wading, period. (Let it be known here I'm a
chicken.) There was a sense of security that must be experienced to be fully
understood. I highly recommend you experience it soon, like the next time you
I quickly became familiar with it and soon forged forth like an old hand at the game,
'boldly going where I had never gone before.' (Well, it was a new river to me!)
Anyway, the thing worked great. It didn't take long to figure out to place the
Folstaf on the downstream side. It was nice and strong and gave me confidence.
When it was time to quit fishing it was dark. There is nothing like picking and
shuffling your way out of a strange river in the dark, nothing. But, with the staff
it sure was a lot better. It felt like having a third leg, like I always had two firmly
on the bottom, a good feeling.
Once back on shore, I pulled the sections apart (the last section was a bit stuck,
but did come loose. My fault, I had not put some candle wax on it like recommended).
There was no problem in folding it up and putting it back into it's holster, and I
was on my way up the river bank. I can see where it would be a help getting
through some stream-side brush and paths too.
By this time you may have gotten the impression I like wading staffs, duh! I do,
and I will continue to use one when ever appropriate. I will use the Folstaf, it
works; my husband JC will use his too. ~ LadyFisher
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