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Surf fishing is one of our favorite types of fishing. You can still catch monster saltwater fish without the added hassle of launching (or owning) a boat. All you need is a good surf fishing rod and reel, a fish finder rig, and you’re ready to go. But if you want to take your surf fishing to the next level, you can also get a pair of surf fishing waders.
Surf fishing waders allow you to get closer to where the saltwater gamefish live and make it easier to land a large surf fish. They’re also built to withstand saltwater better than other types of waders and waterproof pants. In addition, they work great for fishing in the winter – especially for catfish. But which pair of surf fishing waders should you get? We’re here to help! In this article, we feature our favorites surf fishing waders and why we like them.
There’s a quick summary of the best surf fishing waders below. If you want to get into more detail, we go into our reasoning in the following sections and include the pros and cons of each surf fishing wader review. Let’s jump in!
In a Hurry? Here’s Our Top Picks…
Overall Best Waders for Surf Fishing
The Hodgman Caster is the gold standard of waders for ocean fishing. They’re designed for the active surfcasting fisherman and come in all sizes. The Hodgman Caster has added flexibility in the torso that allows the wearer to cast farther than in other surf fishing waders. They’re specifically designed for the casting fisherman.
Another reason why we picked the Hodgman Caster as our overall best ocean fishing waders is that they come in many different sizes and fit all types of fishermen. They start at a size 7 which has a 40-inch chest and go all the way up to a size 13 with a 48-inch chest.
The Hodgman Caster is sewn out of 3.5 mm neoprene that will withstand the most intense surf fishing. The neoprene is warm but protective against saltwater surf. Its knees also have double-layer patches that prevent wearing and protect the wearer from falling on rocks or other hard surfaces.
Their top entry pocket keeps valuables dry and is easily accessible from the front. The Hodgman Caster also has fleece-lined pockets to keep your hands warm and dry. The waders also come with 200-gram Thinsulate rubber boots with cleated soles that provide extra traction when wading in the surf. The boots will withstand heavy use and protect you from stepping on sharp rocks or other objects. Their brown coloring works well for both fishing and hunting.
- Reinforced double-layer knees.
- 200g Thinsulate rubber boot with cleated sole for traction.
- Rear D-ring for holding a fishing net.
- Two front D-rings for additional accessories.
- Top entry pocket with additional fleece-lined handwarmer pocket.
- Elastic suspender straps with opposing buckles for secure wearing.
- Internal dry pocket.
- Fits many body types and sizes.
- Best value for money.
- Great for cold weather.
- More expensive than other options.
The Hodgman Caster is our winner for the overall best sea fishing waders in all situations. It’s easy-to-cast design and affordability make it a great choice for all types of surf fishermen. It also comes with Hodgman’s time-tested boot design and dry pocket technology. As far as waders for surf fishing, this is as good as it gets! Check Price
Best High-End Surf Fishing Waders
Compass 360 Tailwater
The Compass 360 Tailwater is our high-end ocean fishing waders winner. It’s more expensive than our other options but it comes with many additional features and will last many years of heavy surf fishing. The Compass 360 Tailwater is made with four and six-layered fabric for the ultimate warmth and durability.
It also is built with Compass’s signature durable water-resistant coating and heavy-duty seam tape for years of extreme surf fishing use. The Compass 360 Tailwater will withstand the most intense surf fishing situations and perform at the highest level. It also has 4 in 1 BAP box pockets with a waterproof zipper for storing your valuables. The waders also have a heavy-duty belt looping system for a secure fit and accessory addition.
The Compass 360 Tailwater is designed with a durable six-ply wrapping on the legs and crotch inseam to prevent leakage and add structural strength. They also are built with 4 mm 100% neoprene booties that keep your feet warm and comfortable in cold surf water.
Compass products are covered by their one-year no questions asked warranty. This ensures that your waders will perform at the highest level for the longest period of time. The waders are built with casting functionality in mind as well, with plenty of room in the arm region for long casts.
- Highly water-resistant and breathable 6 layer fabric.
- 4mm 100% neoprene booties.
- Flip out storage pocket.
- 4 layer, abrasion-resistant gravel guards.
- 4-in-1 B.A.P. with zippered pass-through pockets.
- Feature heavy design.
- Time tested wader brand.
If the budget is not an issue for you, we highly recommend the Compass 360 Tailwater surf fishing waders. They’ll withstand years of heavy saltwater use, and are extremely comfortable even over long days. The Compass 360 Tailwater ocean fishing waders are our choice for high-end waders for saltwater fishing. Check Price
Best Economical Surf Waders
TideWe Bootfoot Chest Wader
The TideWe Bootfoot Chest Wader is our winner for the best economical surf fishing waders. It’s got everything you need in a pair of surf fishing waders but doesn’t cost as much as the other options. This comes at the cost of features, but for those fishermen on a budget, it’s the best purchase.
The TideWe Bootfoot Chest Wader comes in many different sizes and fits both men and women. Because it has fewer features and pockets than other waders for surf fishing, it weighs up to 35% lighter than other options. This adds to the TideWe Bootfoot Chest Wader’s flexibility for casting and comfort for various weather conditions.
The TideWe Bootfoot Chest Wader is made from rugged nylon with two-ply fabric for the upper portion. This allows for easy casting and flexibility when moving in the surf. The fabric is reinforced with PVC and has waterproof boot attachments. The TideWe Bootfoot Chest Wader also has water intrusion-resistant processing that ensures the design is tightly waterproof.
They range in sizes from 7 to 14 and fit all different body types. TideWe Bootfoot Chest Waders are designed to keep all fishermen and women dry when surf fishing in the most intense situations. The boots also have a thick toe impact area that prevents injuring your toes against hard or sharp underwater objects.
- Manual high-quality stitching process.
- No leak hot melting glue compression.
- Perfect bonding through heavy machine pressing.
- PVC design is flexible yet durable.
- It comes in forest green and hunter brown.
- Great surf fishing waders for the price.
- Not as expensive.
- Not as many features.
The TideWe Bootfoot Chest Waders are a great option for fishermen on a tight budget or are just getting into surf fishing. They have everything you need to surf fish in saltwater and are built for many different body types. If you’re new to surf fishing and want to get extra distance by wading into the waves, the TideWe Bootfoot Chest Wader is a great first pair of waders for surf fishing. Check Price
Best Mid-Level Waders for Surf Fishing
Foxelli Camo Fishing Waders
The Foxelli Camo Fishing Waders are our choice for best mid-level waders for surf fishing in 2020. They’re constructed with comfort in mind and (much like the TideWe Bootfoot Chest Waders) weigh up to 35% lighter than other waders. This gives them the added flexibility needed when casting in the surf.
They also include adjustable chest suspenders that have elastic for finding the perfect fit. The suspenders have quick-release buckles that can quickly be detached when taking off the waders. Their double-layer knee pads have reinforced padding for added protection against hard objects and heavy use.
The Foxelli Camo Fishing Waders are made out of 420D nylon fabric that has excellent insulation comfortability properties. The seams on the Foxelli Camo Fishing Waders are sealed with PVC and glued/stitched and taped for ultimate durability. They’re processed with heavy machinery to ensure quality and pressure tested under extreme saltwater conditions.
The included boots are also made out of PVC and have an anti-slip sole for traction in sandy and muddy situations. They are most comfortable when worn with socks, but have the warmth and comfort to wear barefoot. The Foxelli Camo Fishing Waders have a 30 day no questions asked return policy which adds to the overall value of the waders.
- 30-day money-back guarantee.
- An inner pocket for storing small belongings.
- 35% lighter than usual rubber waders
- Double-layer knee pads
- It comes in sizes 7 through 14.
- Sewn with 420D Nylon.
- Camouflage print.
- It has more features than the most economical options.
- It only comes in camouflage.
- Not as durable as expensive waders.
The Foxelli Camo Fishing Waders are a great choice for experienced surf fishermen on a budget or for fishermen not wanting to get the absolute cheapest pair of waders. Some fishermen will probably like the camouflage as well since you can then use them for hunting. Check Price
Before finishing up, here are the factors we considered when picking out the best waders for surf fishing.
When picking out the best waders for surf fishing, durability was one of the biggest factors we considered. The whole point of buying surf fishing waders is to stay dry while surf fishing, so if the waders aren’t durable it doesn’t make sense to buy them.
Top Tip: We focused on time-tested brands that had warranties and many online reviews. In general, waders for surf fishing should have taped seams, multiple nylon ply fabric, and PVC boots.
Using Waders in Saltwater
There are really no adverse side effects to using waders in saltwater with maybe one exception.
You will want to be sure to thoroughly rinse your waders after every use, and if you don’t they can tend to stink pretty badly after sitting for a while.
Proper Wader Care
It goes without saying that you need to be careful when fishing in waders, and you should make sure you don’t pierce them with hooks, or tear them.
If you tear or put holes in neoprene waders there isn’t much you can do to repair or patch the waders due to the materials used, but if you wear other styles of waders, you can easily patch any holes or small tears to keep them in working condition.
We only reviewed waders that had boots included. Having to buy a pair of waterproof boots on top of buying waders seemed unnecessary when so many pairs of waders come with boots. We made sure the boots fit many different feet sizes and had comfortable sole structures.
We also wanted to make sure the boots had good traction for surf fishing conditions. Heavy surf can push a fisherman around in the waves, so boots with solid traction are important (especially when fishing for a hard-fighting species like kingfish). We also took into account whether the boots were comfortable with and without socks as some fishermen don’t like wearing extra clothes under their waders.
This was another big factor we considered when reviewing our waders for surf fishing. Comfortability comes in several different flavors for surf fishing. First, the waders need to be flexible enough for long casting motions. We made sure all the waders we reviewed worked well for casting a long surfcasting rod.
We also wanted to make sure the waders had an appropriate level of warmness for surf fishing. If you have your own boots, check out our guide for waders without boots.
Seawater is often quite cold so the waders are needed to keep you warm while fishing. Lastly, we looked at how much the waders weighed. Heavy waders make moving around (casting) difficult and cumbersome.
In the summer months insulated and neoprene-style waders can find you getting pretty toasty if you are fishing in them for long periods, but for cooler water temperatures they will keep you warm all day long. Neoprene waders are also much heavier, which can cause you to get tired faster if you are walking long distances.
waders with thinner materials are much lighter and thinner, which translates to less fatigue if you’re highly mobile, and less heat and sweating during hot summer days. These thinner non-neoprene waders are actually also breathable, allowing air to pass through while still keeping you dry, and this makes a huge difference.