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    CHRIS AND WILD BILL TAKE ON HARPERS FERRY!

    CHRIS AND WILD BILL TAKE ON HARPERS FERRY!

    The start of autumn marks one of the best times of the year for spending time outdoors, particularly on the water. The air is still pleasantly warm for wading and paddling, while the water is cooling down for some of the year’s best fly fishing. Remember last spring, when we covered our warehouse manager Chris’ paddling trip with his friend “Wild” Bill Whitworth? Well, the two recently reunited for their annual trip to Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and we received photos and a full run-down of the trip. Chris also took the opportunity to test out our Hybrid High-Top Rubber-Soled Wading Boots (aka, Chota 15s), which hit dealers’ shelves soon. Keep on reading for the full story!

     Harpers Ferry is a small historic town in West Virginia with a rich history dating back to before the American Revolution. The Appalachian Trail passes directly through the town, and the lower part of the town is located within Harpers Ferry National History Park. This ideal location along the Appalachian Trail and the National Park Service makes Harpers Ferry a fantastic destination for fishing and canoeing, including Chris and Bill’s floating trip.

    According to Chris, he and Wild Bill started their trip in Virginia. “We made a stop at the South River Fly Shop in Waynesboro, VA to visit with Tom and Kevin to get the low down on the local water and the amazing work they are doing with Trout Unlimited to make the South River a year-round catch-and-release trout river. Just the day before we arrived a young man pulled a 27-inch brown trout out of the South River at Centennial Park.”


    The South River Fly Shop was the perfect starting point for this epic adventure!

    “With their advice we headed down to The Grottos to put in and floated the low water down to the Shenandoah. It was great fun pulling in Smallies, Rock Bass, and Sun Fish.”


    Chris fished from his kayak and wet waded while catching smallmouth bass and sunfish.

    Chris also put the upcoming Chota 15s, or High-Top Rubber-Soled Wading Boots, through their paces, wet wading at certain points along their float. Their felt-soled counterparts are known as the Chota 14s due to their weight at a mere 14 ounces. The sturdy rubber soles provided excellent traction with their slight extra weight, making them a great alternative for anyone looking for boots without felt soles.


    The Rubber-Soled High-Top Wading Boots, or Chota 14s, performed brilliantly for wet wading.

    “We made it up to Harpers Ferry to fish the Shenandoah and Potomac. Bill’s big boy was a 9-pound Channel Catfish. I caught my first catfish on the fly and my first smallmouth on the Potomac.”

     

    Check out the size of that catfish! Bill makes those Camo Hippies and Chota boots look awesome!

    Saturday we floated from the bridge at the Ferry down to Point of Rocks, MD. It was a great float, but with the Potomac running 1330 cfs, a few rocks took advantage of my old boat. With a quick Duct Tape patch I made the last 8 miles to the Point.”


    Duct tape should be required gear on every kayak or canoe. Go ahead and stash a roll in your boat now.

    “We ended the trip Sunday grabbing a few fish on the North Fork of the Shenandoah. Then I was back to work at Chota Monday morning.”

     

    Great photos of an amazing trip, guys! Thanks for sharing!

    Sounds like a fantastic weekend! We loved hearing about catching catfish using fly rods and that duct tape can truly fix anything, including canoes! If you live in the Southeast United States, then these next few weeks will be a great time for paddling and fly fishing as the leaf colors change. As always, we love to see pictures of our customers using their Chotas for outdoor recreation, so make sure to follow us on Facebook! For now, happy fishing!

    PRODUCT REVIEW: HYBRID HIGH-TOP FELT-SOLED WADING BOOTS

    PRODUCT REVIEW: HYBRID HIGH-TOP FELT-SOLED WADING BOOTS

    Can you believe that summer is almost over? The kids are back in school, and it won’t be long before the leaves start changing and the air begins to cool for autumn. Likewise, it still feels just yesterday that we were fly fishing in Chama, New Mexico during #ChotaGoesToChama. To wrap up our coverage of that trip, it’s time for our in-depth review of our new wading boots set to release in November, the Hybrid High-Top Felt-Soled Wading Boots!

    High-Quality Features in a Lightweight Boot

    The mesh panels of the Chota 14s drain water quickly, and the felt soles provide excellent traction.

    The name “Hybrid High-Top Felt-Soled Wading Boot” can be a mouthful in casual conversation, so we also call these boots the Chota 14s for short. They certainly live up to their name, as each boot weighs a mere 14 ounces! However, we have packed plenty of our fan-favorite, high-quality features into these boots while building off of the successes of our Hybrid Felt-Soled Wading Shoes, which released last year. The Chota 14s have durable mesh panels along the sides that drain water quickly while keeping out rocks and other debris, and the felt soles provide added traction on slippery surfaces. Finally, the Chota 14s have the QuickLace system, which uses a drawstring to hold the laces securely in place even in the swiftest current. The main structural difference between the Chota 14s and the Hybrid Felt-Soled Wading Shoes is the high top to provide additional ankle support.

    Use as a Standalone Wading Shoe

    The Chota 14s work great in the foot-powered Hobie kayaks as well as conventional kayaks.

    Before even reaching for the waders, the Chota 14s function beautifully for wet wading, kayaking, or any other situation where you might use wading sandals or water shoes. I used the Chota 14s while kayak fishing from the foot-powered Hobie MirageDrive kayaks at Chama, New Mexico, and they’re now my go-to footwear for kayaking, boating, or any other water-related activity. The high-top boots were still low-profile enough to fit into the straps attached to the foot pedals of the Hobie MirageDrive, and their low weight meant that I didn’t experience any foot or ankle fatigue from pedaling for extended periods. Launching and landing the kayaks required wading in the shallows, which were full of algae and silt, but the mesh panels kept that debris out of the boots while the felt soles kept my feet firmly grounded.

    Use with Chota Waders

    The Chota 14s pair brilliantly with our Hippies for stream fishing,

    The Chota 14s live up to their status as a hybrid boot by functioning equally well as water shoes or fly fishing boots paired with waders. Each boot has a removable insole that frees up enough room to accommodate Chota Hippies or the Bob Clouser Series South Fork Waders. I paired the Chota 14s with a pair of Camo Hippies while fly fishing the Poso Creek at Chama with great success. The boots drained water effortlessly, so I never felt like I was carrying extra weight around my ankles while hiking to another fishing spot. Despite the boots’ minimal weight, they felt secure and sturdy, and my footing never once faltered thanks to the felt soles.

    Can’t Use Felt? No Problem!


    Check out the rubber-soled version of the Chota 14!

    Due to the risk of transmitting invasive plants or diseases between sensitive water ways, some states maintain a ban on felt soles for fly fishing. Other folks may prefer rubber soles if they spend more time kayak fishing rather than traditional fly fishing in waders. If that’s the case, no problem! We’ve got you covered with another new boot coming out in November, the Hybrid High-Top Rubber-Soled Wading Boot! These boots are identical to their felt-soled counterparts, except for the soles.

    The Verdict

    Whether you kayak fish or stream fish, the Chota 14s can handle any fly fishing situation!

    If you want to streamline your footwear and use one pair of boots for the majority of your fishing needs, then I highly recommend the felt-soled or rubber-soled Chota 14s. The felt-soled Chota 14s work equally well for kayak fishing or stream fishing, while the rubber-soled Chota 14s provide a great alternative for folks who cannot or prefer not to use felt soles. Despite their light weight, these boots are incredibly durable for long hikes to and from your fishing destination while providing Chota’s legendary comfort and support. We also recommend them for women and youth anglers with smaller feet who prefer a lighter boot.

    Overall, these boots are winners, and we can’t wait for the Chota 14s to hit store shelves in November! The boots I tested were a prototype, and the final version of the felt-soled Chota 14s will have the same color scheme as the rubber-soled boots shown above. Both versions of the boots will retail for $119.95.

    WINTER FISHING BY DAVID KNAPP

    WINTER FISHING BY DAVID KNAPP

    This month we asked our friend David Knapp with Troutzone Anglers a few thoughts on winter fishing.                                     

    Winter fishing is something most people don’t want to deal with. That’s fine by me because I’m glad to enjoy the empty streams and rivers by myself. As with the other few anglers who enjoy winter fishing, one of my favorite things about fishing in winter is solitude. But solitude, in and of itself is not enough. You must also be able to embrace and, dare I say, even enjoy the misery of being cold.                                                                                 

    I enjoy the slower pace of winter fishing. You don’t want to get too cold, so you spend as much time walking from spot to spot as you do actually fishing. If you are in the boat, you argue over whose turn it is to row. Rowing warms you up while fishing is cold. In warm weather, anglers and boats race for the best spots.      

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              
    Everyone knows that the bite is on and even approximately what to throw at the fish. In the cold, the game is about experimentation. Finding a new color combination on an old pattern or a new retrieve for your streamer can be the difference between catching a few or going home skunked. I enjoy experimenting at the vise as much as I enjoy fishing. In the winter, in between tying sections, I go out to complete the experiment. Maybe it is never completed, but I do know one thing. If a fish will eat a fly in winter, it is probably a good pattern or a good presentation. Fish don’t eat mistakes in winter.                                                                                                                                                                                   

    That probably gets to the root of why I like fishing in winter. I like a challenge, and every fish fooled in winter is a much greater accomplishment than during a blizzard hatch in the spring. Ultimately, winter fishing keeps me humble as an angler and reminds me that it is not just about catching.