When I first started kayak fishing in southwest Louisiana ten years ago I bought a pair of flats boots to wear on the kayak while fishing. The flats boots were great when I got out of the kayak to wade fish. The soles held up well to the razor sharp oysters and the boots stayed on my feet when I walked across the soft muddy bottom. The problem with the flats boots were that they were made of neoprene rubber and when you got out of the water your feet got really hot. At the end of the day when you took the boots off your legs were tan but your feet were white past your ankles. I used the flats boots for a few years and one particularly warm day my feet got so hot they felt like they were on fire. I decided to get new shoes.
Crocs were the rage for fishing at that time so I bought a pair for the kayak. I used them for most of the season and I liked them because they were light and the air flowed through them so my feet stayed nice and cool. They held up well against the sharp oysters but they came off when there was a sticky bottom. One day I was heading back to the boat ramp at high tide. I got out of the kayak at the ramp to haul the kayak in and slipped and fell on the boat ramp. I tried to get up but every time I couldn’t get any traction and kept on falling. My knees and hands were a bloody mess and the kayak was floating back into the bay. I dove in to get the kayak and removed the Crocs and I was able to get out of the water. The Crocs didn’t give me any traction on the slippery ramp. There was a drunk hanging around the boat ramp and I became the afternoons entertainment because he was laughing his ass off. I decided to get new shoes.
I headed on down to Walmart that afternoon and bought a cheap pair of water shoes. The next day I headed out on my kayak. I stopped at an oyster bar and got out of the kayak to wade fish. I stepped on an oyster and the shell cut the sole of the shoe in half. Now I had a cut on my foot to accompany the cuts I had got on my hands and knees the day before. I decided to get new shoes.
I went to the tackle shop the next day to speak with one of the guys that kayak fished. I ask him what kind of shoes he wore when kayak fishing and he told me he wears a cheap pair of canvas sneakers. I headed back to Walmart and bought a cheap pair of canvas sneakers. My feet were wet all day and when I stepped into some soft mud I almost lost one of the sneakers because the canvas stretches when wet. After a week my wife wouldn’t let me keep the sneakers in the condo because they stunk. I decided to get new shoes.
I headed to the marine supply store to find a good pair of shoes for the kayak. I bought a good pair of Columbia water shoes. These shoes lasted many years. They were light, had plenty of traction, the soles held up to the sharp oysters and they kept my feet cool and dry. I got four seasons out of these shoes and this year they started to show their age. I had read about the Columbia Drainmaker shoes in a couple fishing magazines and decided to check them out.
This is the next generation of water shoes. I found them at the Columbia Outlet Store and bought a pair. These shoes are as light as your favorite pair of running shoes. The upper part of the shoe is made with a soft mesh material that keeps your feet cool and the soles drain away the water so your feet stay dry. The soles offer plenty of traction on slippery surfaces and hold up to the razor sharp oysters. The shoe fits tightly on your foot and won’t come off when walking through some sticky mud. I just throw them in the washing machine once a week and they look like brand new when they come out of the machine. At $80 dollars the’re not cheap but I highly recommend these shoes to anyone that wish to catch more fish from a kayak.
When fishing from a kayak you should have a good all round pair of shoes for all conditions. If your feet are happy the rest of your body is happy.