TSFMag Field Test Report: Frogg Toggs Pilot River Guide Stockingfoot Wader

TSFMag Field Test Report: Frogg Toggs Pilot River Guide Stockingfoot Wader
Waders can actually be worn comfortably in warmer months when fishing thigh to shirt-pocket depths. Light underlayers such as fishing shorts helps prevent overheating.

Ask just about any diehard wade-fisherman and they’ll tell you they dread that day in the fall when donning waders becomes a necessary inconvenience. Likewise, that day in spring when they can hang them in the closet is a time for rejoicing. Nobody wears waders for the fun of it; we do it because it’s the lesser of two evils. We can probably all recall days in both seasons when we could have made better choices.

The macho thing can definitely be a driver when deciding how to dress. There have been times my fishing buddies tried their best… “The water isn’t really all that cold.” Kind of hard to pull that one off, though, with blue lips and chattering teeth.  

Recovering from a bad call in fall isn’t that big of a deal. If the day turns out warmer than predicted, simply ditch the waders and continue fishing. That same bad call in springtime isn’t so easy – you’ll need to ditch wet duds for dry before climbing into your waders. Unless perhaps you like being clammy and soggy all day.

Thankfully, the folks at Frogg Toggs have come to our rescue and made wader decisions easier with the introduction of their Pilot River Guide Stockingfoot Wader. The reasons we hate wearing waders during the transition of seasons has already been explained, and what it boils down to is that a breathable wader made of standard-weight fabric sometimes makes as little sense as one-size-fits-all wading shoes.

The Pilot River Guide wader is made of 100% waterproof rip-stop nylon, much lighter than traditional wader fabrics. For comparison; the breathable wader I normally wear in colder months weighs fifty-seven ounces on our kitchen scale. The Pilot River Guide wader reviewed here weighs only thirty-six ounces. You can bet your bottom dollar that twenty-one ounces more fabric is going to retain more warmth…and that’s what we’re seeking to avoid in a warm-weather wader.

Other reasons to wear a breathable wader during warm weather are likely not as obvious but there are several. Let’s say you might be recovering from an injury or wound your doctor has advised to keep clean and dry. Last summer I was unlucky to sustain a serious burn on my right calf. Too bad the Pilot River Guide wader wasn’t available then. The only alternative was to stay dry in the boat, while my companions wading nearby were catching fish every cast.

Folks with compromised immune systems could probably also benefit from wearing a lightweight wader during warmer months. Frogg Toggs makes no statement or claim in this regard; you just have to use your good old commonsense.

I also know people who simply refuse to get up-close and personal with the marine environment, to the extent we do when wade fishing. Yes, there are creatures that can occasionally bite, stick, and sting. Hot jellyfish are some of the main culprits.

Finally – another great application for a warm-weather wader is when fishing water that is always cold, even when the afternoon temperature might rise into the 90s. Mountain streams come quickly to mind. Native brookies and rainbows thrive in cold water. Anglers taking a shoreline lunch break quickly become overheated unless they jet their waders.

Sizing of waders is always a question. I wear a size large wader in most brands and found the large Pilot River Guide to be a good fit. However, the initial production of this wader does not include women’s sizes. Pam, who normally wears women’s large for comfort and freedom of movement, found the men’s small to be the best fit. Keep this in mind if considering a gift for your female fishing partner.

So, how does the Pilot River Guide perform in the comfort department during summer? I would answer this by saying it depends on several factors: water temperature, air temperature, and water depth. If you plan to fish less than thigh-deep bay water you’ll likely become too warm in a short time on a warm day. Of course the water temperature and air temperature are relevant. I experienced no real discomfort fishing several hours in belly-deep 80° water on a day of mid-90s air temperature.

Design features include many functional and comfort details:

  • 100% waterproof rip-stop nylon construction
  • New Y-back mesh shoulder strap design
  • Adjustable, elastic suspenders with low-profile buckles
  • Two zippered chest storage pockets
  • Pass-through handwarmer chest pocket
  • Nylon accessory loops on chest pocket
  • Elastic nylon belt with low-profile buckle
  • Rip-stop nylon fabric with external seam tape
  • Attached gravel guards and lace hooks
  • Form-fitting booties

Currently available at Roy’s Bait and Tackle Outfitters in Corpus Christi and all Academy Sports + Outdoors locations. One-year warranty. Retail $209.99

Learn more at www.froggtoggs.com