Mankind - women also - have used walking and wading staffs since the beginning of time.
It's true. All you have to do is watch Hollywood's interpretation of Old Testament religious stories, and you'll always
see someone with a staff.
The reason you'll see people with staffs is for safety and protection.
Probably the most quoted Psalm, the 23rd, plainly states the shepherd's staff will protect me."
I know after reading that statement, my friends (who are ministers or dedicated church-goers) wish I would spend more
time reading the Bible instead of the fly-fishing gospels of Orvis, Cabela's, L.L. Bean, and A River Runs Through It.
The aforementioned philosophical thoughts are the end result of a recent article in a fly-fishing magazine that rated
equipment. The writers of that article rated various rods, reels, waders, boots, vests, jackets, etc.
What they didn't rate, or even mention, were wading staffs.
Being of a mature age and having taken more than one fall while fly-fishing, I believe a wading staff should be a
required piece of equipment like seat belts and airbags.
I would even go as far as having it slipped into the 2,000-page health-care bill. Since that won't happen, and the
fly-fishing rating gurus won't discuss wading staffs, I will help you decide which staff is best for you.
When you start your quest for the perfect staff, you will find there are several different models. The type most seen
on the rivers is one that folds up and slips into a holster when not in use.
I am not particularly fond of that model because it can be difficult to take apart when sand and water work their way
into the joints. Also, if you let it fall into the water while fishing, it's length can make it hard to move around.
For safety, it should be folded up and put in the holster when not in use.
I have seen some beautiful handmade wooden staffs carried onto the river. While very stout, these can be heavy and can
get in your way when you begin to fish.
Ski poles are sometimes converted for river use. They are light, not very long and fairly strong. The only shortcoming
is that in deeper water, you'll be up to your elbow in cold water because of its fixed length.
My personal choice for a wading staff, and therefore the gold star winner of staffs, is one made by Leki.
The length of the staff is adjustable. This allows a comfortable fit, no matter how tall you are.
It also lets you adjust the staff for the depth of the water.
The handle of the staff is a pistol-style cork grip.
I like this style of grip because it is very easy to hold onto and gives me more stability as I navigate around
slippery rocks and slimy river bottoms.
To keep my wading staff handy and close to me, I attach it to a heavy-duty retractor made by Gear Keeper.
While most staffs come with a long cord to tie to your waders, I find the retractor keeps my staff close to me
and away from my feet while fly-fishing.
Regardless of what type of wading staff you like, I urge you to get one.
Once you start using a staff on a regular basis, you will find yourself reaching for it, even if you accidentally leave
it safely at home while on a fly-fishing trip.
In fact, I bet you'll become like one of my best fishing buddies and think about taking it into the shower with
Reach Don Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org