The Fish Magnet Gear Guide
Steelhead and Salmon Spey Fishing
By Dave Robinson
October, 12, 2017
Aquaz Waders and Amphibian Soft Shell Jacket Review:
This past June 2017, my wife and I were camping on the Klickitat River with our dogs in the luxury of my big travel trailer. We had 4 days to relax, fish and hike with the dogs. I let Jeff Layton of Grabflies fly shop and fishing buddy know we were in his neck of the woods with an invite to fish with me any morning he could show up. Show up he did the next morning. After a tough day fishing for summer steelhead with only a few weak grabs and an on off fish, we headed back to the trailer for some lunch and a nap! Jeff pulled a couple of boxes out of his fishin' wagon and tossed them to me with a "Try this stuff for a while and write me a review if it holds up"! Opening the boxes revealed a set of (Aquaz zipper waders) and their new Amphibian Soft Shell Jacket. Well…I fish a lot…and go through wading gear like most people go through socks! Don't mind if I do!
I slipped into the waders and immediately dubbed them my old man waders. They look and feel a lot like Redington's excellent Sonic Pro Zipper waders that I normally wear and have reviewed here, but for some reason, putting them on and off is a dream compared to all the waders I have ever worn. The (Aquaz Dryzip Chest Wader) don't have as many chest pockets, but do have a few good ones. The hand warmer pockets are just that, warm and big. The coffee drinker's front zipper has remained waterproof and is very heavy duty. They feel a little lighter in weight than the Sonic Pros but have a similar 5 layer leg and 4 mm bootie that doesn't bunch as much as most in my boots and are a little more comfortable in warm weather than the Redington's or Simm's.
Fast forward to October, and many trips with these waders. Klickitat trips, Cowlitz runs, and four week long trips to the Skeena and Bulkley rivers. Crawling on rocks, tailing fish, and hiking miles to remote places and nearly wearing a pair of boots out in the process! These waders don't have a single leak, not even a pinhole from hooking myself in the leg fishing from my raft recently. They are so easy to put on and take off that I don't dread wadering up when stiff and sore. My "old man waders" are holding up great! And are $100 less than even the Redington's!
I originally thought that being lighter that they would be my summer waders only, but I feel that they are on par with the Redington's and will hold up well in the winter as well.
The Amphibian Jacket has also seen a lot of use this summer when it was really too warm to wear a full wading jacket. It is very comfortable and useful. I tried wearing it on the outside of my waders like a wading jacket but found when wading deep that the fleece on the inside would soak water even though the outside is quite water repellant. So I would normally wear it on the inside of my waders. When it was cold out I would wear the (Aquaz Amphibian Softshell Jacket) on the inside and a Redington Jacket on the outside. This jacket has become my favorite for warm weather situations. At only $89.95 it is an incredible value. The cuffs have a Velcro cinch and keep the rain out. The waist also cinches down for a snug fit.
On my Grab scale from 1 to 10 I give both of these 10 grabs!
REMEMBER, YOU CAN CATCH A FISH WITH A BAD CAST, BUT YOU WILL CATCH MORE WITH A GOOD ONE!
See all of Dave Robinson's gear review articles (click here)
Learn more about Dave, and see some of the fish he catches (click here) - Jeff Layton/Grabflies