Don’t Get Bold Feet!

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Photo by Justin Pickett

Photo by Justin Pickett

By Justin Pickett

A few weeks ago I was sitting on the back of my jeep, getting ready to hit the water.

Just like any other day, I grabbed my rods and rigged them up first and laid them across the roof. I tossed my fly boxes in my chest pack and made sure I had all the tools and tippet that I needed. I jumped into my waders and buckled myself in for the day. Grabbed my left wading boot and slipped it on and tightened it up. Reached down for the right one and began to slide my foot into the boot. Before I could get my foot settled into the boot I felt quite the bulge in the toe of my boot. Not knowing exactly what it was, and knowing what it could be, I quickly kicked the boot from my foot. My wading boot landed on the grass, just a few feet in front of me. I waited a few seconds to see if anything crawled, hopped, or slithered out from it.


Cautiously, I picked up the boot and held it upside down, and, immediately, something fell from the boot. To my relief, it was not the worst of what it could have been. What fell to the ground was the harmless, petrified corpse of a frog.

While this situation ended in a bit of humor, it could have easily been way worse. I had left my wading boots on the floor of my garage for the summer. I wet wade during the dog-days and wear a pair of Simms RipRap shoes when I’m on the water. Apparently this frog found comfort inside my stinky boot and never made it back out. It’s likely the malodorous fumes that sealed his fate! While I’m glad this situation ended with humor, that frog could have easily been a juvenile copperhead, which would have brought my day to a painfully screeching halt.

It’s something so simple, and it only takes a couple of seconds. Maybe the majority of us anglers and outdoorsman do it on a regular basis. Check your boots! Wading boots, tennis shoes, hikers, high heels, or whatever you like to wear. If you leave them out, check them for creepy crawlies before shoving your foot into the unknown! I make more of a habit of checking my boots when I’m out camping, or if my boots get left on the porch overnight. I had never before really checked my boots before putting them on after leaving them in my garage, and I was also a little anxious to hit the water so I didn’t take the extra time to check them. I’ll gladly take this gentle reminder to check my boots from now on! You should do the same!

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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3 thoughts on “Don’t Get Bold Feet!

  1. This story reminds me of a camping trip a while back. My bro-in-law was putting his waders back on after a cold frosty night and felt a lump inside the sole. He freaked out because he felt something move and then quickly ripped them off and held them upside down and a mouse fell out. We tried to catch the mouse because we were heading to some lakes with big tiger trout but the mouse was too quick. Good times.

  2. I feed a plume of newsprint or other coarse paper down into the nether reaches of my wading boots before leaving the water. I use bright, gawdy pages from the ads. It looks something like a feather duster, reaching the toe and flowing boisterously out the top.
    One at home, I store them outside – either hanging by the toe end, upside down, or upright.
    Lastly, they are kept under my porch overhang, protected from the elements, but where moving air and even a bit of a breeze can caress them.
    The plume of paper wicks out moisture, of course, and they dry quite handily this way…both inside and out.
    The paper also keeps unwelcome “guests” from getting inside the boots and making themselves at home.
    It’s a trick I learned from an old outdoors book I have, proving ‘Boutique Tech,’ can still learn something from the “old school.”

  3. This goes back about 40 years, but I spent the night in a friend’s house…they had moved in only a few weeks earlier. In the morning, something just said…tip your boots up. Out dropped a 2″ scorpion…a bit unusual for upstate SC! Asked some biology professors the next week and found out that there was a species or two in the area, but not common. Never a dull moment.

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