Waders are made for different purposes, either fishing or hunting, but there are different types of waders for different conditions within each category. The question is whether these differences are enough to prevent you from using waders intended fishing for hunting and vice versa.
Hunting waders are made for winter hunting conditions of cold water and cold weather. Hunting waders are also generally camouflaged or in bush-safe colors and need to be hardwearing. Fishing waders are made for both winter and summer wear and do not need to be in bush colors or as tough.
Hunting waders and fishing waders are constructed for different activities, which results in some differences between the two products. While the differences are not that significant, you will still need to choose your waders carefully to make sure you are comfortable either hunting or fishing.
The Difference Between Hunting Waders And Fishing Waders
Only people who have never used waders will think that waders only keep you dry in the water, so there cannot be much difference between fishing and hunting waders.
While hunting and fishing waders may look similar, there are some differences that you should be aware of before you cross-match your waders for different purposes.
Why Do Hunters Use Waders?
The reason that hunters use waders, and more importantly, the time of year that hunters use waders, has a bearing on the way that hunting waders are manufactured.
The hunting activity that most hunters use waders for is duck hunting. The hunter will go into the water to place decoys on the water, get a better shooting position. The hunter will sometimes go into the water to retrieve a downed duck if he does not have a faithful hound to perform this task.
At this point, the description for the need for waders for duck hunting sounds pretty feasible and not much different from fishing waders. But here is where the major difference in the activity comes into play.
Duck hunting is mostly undertaken in the winter months. This means cold winds and even colder water that the hunter will be entering to set his decoys, retrieve a duck or get a better shooting angle.
Hunting wader manufacturers are aware of the seasonality of duck hunting, so they manufacture their waders with characteristics appropriate for the season, the water, and the environment.
As a result, waders that are intended for hunters and specifically for duck hunting are made from thicker materials and from materials that are intended to insulate the wearer from the cold.
The material also needs to be breathable so that the sweat on your skin can dry without causing your layers of clothing to become wet and resulting in the wearer becoming cold.
Duck hunting is normally undertaken in dams or still water, which implies a sticky, muddy bottom to the water rather than a rocky riverbed. This has implications as to the type of footwear and tread included on hunting waders.
Because duck hinting is done on dams, swamps, and flat, still water, there is often much brush that the hunter needs to walk through in pursuit of his quarry. This means that hunting waders must be made from robust, rip-resistant material to withstand the rigors of the bush.
Ducks are wily creatures to hunt, and movement and bright colors can give the position of the hunter away and spook the ducks. For this reason, most hunting waders come in a range of camouflage colors appropriate for the type of bush you are hunting in.
Why Do Fishermen Wear Waders?
Fishermen wear waders for a number of reasons and for several fishing styles. The complication for waders for fishing is that fishing is a year-round activity and fishermen use waders for different purposes and in different conditions.
Fly-fishing is the main fishing activity that comes to most people’s minds when they think of fishermen using waders. While fly-fishermen do use waders, this is not the only fishing activity where this gear is appropriate.
Fly-fishing is an activity that generally targets predatory fish that live in fairly fast flowing, relatively shallow streams. The riverbed of these streams is usually rocky, with very little mud. Water on rocks can be treacherously slippery, which means that waders for fly-fishing generally heed to have soles on the boots that provide good traction and grip in these conditions.
The rocky bottom of the streams is a recipe for a twisted ankle, so many waders for this activity will offer good ankle support for this terrain.
Other fishermen will use waders in dams and lakes to get beyond a shallow shoreline to get to deeper water. These waters have muddy bottoms, which require a different style of boot on your waders.
Since fishing is a year-round activity, fishing can be done in the summer or winter months. Waders made for cold winter fishing conditions may be uncomfortably hot to use on a warm summer day fishing in relatively shallow water.
For these warm summer conditions, a fisherman needs a wader that is made from a light, breathable material that is going to keep you both dry and cool while you are out fishing.
Likewise, for cold-weather fishing, waders need to provide the warmth and insulation necessary for cold water and cold weather.
Fishing is not an activity that requires camouflage attire to hide from the fish, so fishing waders are not necessarily colored for bush-type camouflage. This characteristic alone may make some fishing waders inappropriate for use in a hunting application.
Can Fishing Waders Be Used For Hunting And Vice Versa?
Fishing waders can most certainly be used for hunting, and hunting waders can be used for fishing with the proviso that the waders used match the need for the activity.
To further explain this point, summer fishing waders work well when used in warm summer fishing conditions but will not provide protection from the cold water and cold weather for winter duck hunting.
However, a good pair of winter fishing waders that provide the required insulation and cold weather protection, made from durable material and of an appropriate bush-safe color, can make for great waders for your winter duck hunt.
In like manner, hunting waders that are made for cold conditions may become very uncomfortable if used for a summer fishing trip.
As we can see from this, it is possible for the waders to be used in both outdoor disciplines, as long as the characteristics of the waders do not compromise the requirements for the activity.
Waders for both fishing and hunting serve a greater purpose than simply keeping the outdoorsman dry. Each wader has characteristics built into their design to make them suitable for the conditions they were intended to be used in and the activity they were intended for.
This does not mean that there is no crossover between the two types of gear, but it does mean that hunting waders are not always appropriate for fishing and fishing waders are not always appropriate for hunting.
Always make sure to get the correct gear that will keep you safe and comfortable during your outdoor activities. It will make your time outdoors that much more enjoyable and safe.