Thursday, February 2, 2012

Felt Sole Wader Ban Unclear in Saltwater; LL Bean Offers Wader Exchange

It's been over a month since the bombshell announcement  from the RI DEM that felt sole waders have been banned in RI in saltwater.  And, little has changed.  There has been no official clarification from the DEM.  There seems to be little public outcry from RI fishing clubs and the tackle industry. Maybe they are quietly working in the background.  However, the Forums are abuzz with ticked off fishermen, and the guy you meet at the shore is very fed up with this bs.  Many seem to think that there will be little or no enforcement in saltwater since this regulation was listed in the freshwater abstracts.  Besides, you are supposed to wash your boots off with saltwater to kill invasive weed that can cling to the felt.  Who knows about enforcement?  I suspect the morons from the DEM who created this rule for saltwater have painted themselves into a corner and have no way out.  However, I do know this rule will probably be enforced in freshwater, and I also know that many RI fishermen fish in both fresh and saltwater.
I got a call from my father the other night who told me about a friend of his who has a pair of LL Bean felt sole waders that he bought 3 years ago.  He called LL Bean to complain about this ban.  LL Bean told him to bring the waders back to the store in Mansfield, and he would be given a free exchange of lug sole waders.  My father, who also has a two year old pair of felt sole waders, did the same exact thing.   Free exchange, no questions asked!  Wow, now that's a company to deal with!  If you fish in both saltwater and fresh (as I do), I see no other option at this time than to get rid of the felt and go with lug sole boots.  Now, if the label on your boots says "LL Bean", no problem.  My hope is that other boot manufacturers will offer the same deal to many of us.