I recently tried out a pair of Korkers wading boots in the most appropriate of ways, trout fishing in New Zealand’s South Island in late February.
For the uninitiated, trout angling in the South Island involves a lot of wading in streams that are running through gravel or shingle beds. On some of the better streams gravel around the water is all that is visible up or down stream as far as the eye can see. Obviously, some foot wear that will allow easy progress without any slipping or sliding on the moss covered stones will a huge advantage and felt soled boots are the accepted means of ensuring safety while fishing.
But then, there also can be some cross country travel to negotiate natural obstacles along the streams, or maybe just to get to the stream in the first place.. For example, a recent session on the Ahuriri River near Omarama in central South Island required a kilometre and a half slog through lumpy tussocks and some swamp. Felt soled boots - so brilliant on the river stones - are an awful liability in this terrain and guarantee a fall every so often. But not for anyone wearing the versatile Korkers.
The American-made Korkers actually offer the angler a choice of soles. A full felt or alternatively, an aggressive ripple sole, can be fitted with a few second’s effort and the sole not in use kept for when it is required in the back of the fishing vest, net sheath or back pack. In essence, each Korker is a shoe with two soles.
Here’s how the system works. A close look reveals a recess (with an outer edge slot) built into the hard rubber sole. The recess with its outer alignment slot can accommodate the felt insert or ripple tread insert, both of which have a prominent outer edge lip of rigid material. To fit a chosen sole, slide it forward from the rear and into place until none of the outer lip is visible. Once fitted the sole is held in place with a webbing strap which comes up the back of the heel and secures via a buckle and Velcro arrangement.
The Korker wading boots takes seconds to set up and I noted that they performed very well. And with their multi-use capability are a real boon in situations where crossing or moving along mixed terrain is going to be part of a day’s angling. Here in Australia, when fishing Snowy Mountain or New England streams, the ripple sole will see most use as the banks are grassy affairs. In the stony streams of New Zealand’s South Island it’s the felt sole that will be indispensable while fishing for those beautiful big trout. Incidentally, I’d see a lot of use for the ripple soled Korkers while fishing our cod streams as well.
Korkers should be available at most stores stocking serious fly angling tackle and equipment. The boots are light weight, very well constructed, and look the part. Water drains from them rapidly once on land, as it should. Korkers are easy to clean, too, something that quarantine staff at overseas destinations are very fussy about these days.Reads: 2003