By this time last year, I had already put the kayak up for the winter. Right now, the fish are biting great...they are feeding aggressively trying to bulk-up for the cold months. I have seen other kayak anglers use waders so I decided to get a pair for this winter.
I found a pair of breathable, stocking-footed waders at my local Dick's Sporting Goods - they are the Field and Stream "Sportsman" model, and they were on sale, so that was a big plus. I would just need to figure out what to do, as far as shoes to cover the stocking-feet.
These waders are chest-type waders, so they come up almost underneath my armpits. I was concerned about falling out, and the waders filling-up with water as I tried to re-enter my kayak, but I figured if I wore the included wading-belt, it would minimize the amount of water that would go in. Also, I would be fishing a lot of creeks and shallow water this time of year, so if I fell out of my kayak, chances are that I would be able to stand-up instead of swim.
How about shoes for those stocking-feet? The first time I went fishing with them, I used my Keen water shoes to go over the stocking feet, but it was a tight fit. It worked, but I would try several different things in future trips - including an old pair of sandals...I used these and it worked, but the mud, sand, and rocks that got between the stockings and the sandals was annoying. Eventually the thick neoprene stockings took their toll on the sandals and one of the straps broke, so I was back to looking for shoe options.
How about a pair of wading shoes, like the fly-fishermen wear? With the pedal-drive of the Hobie Outback, I had to look for something that was comfortable to wear while pedaling my kayak...so light, comfortable, and somewhat compact was my focus.
I finally found what worked for me - a pair of cheap water shoes on the clearance rack at Wally World. These water shoes have thin neoprene tops, with a rubber sole. I wear a size 11 shoe, so I bought a size 12 for more room to account for the stockings. Bingo! They fit over the stockings wonderfully, and they have a draw-string to secure them...best $7 I have ever spent!
I have been very impressed with the breathable waders. I can walk out into the water of the kayak launch, and stay dry! If I see a place with hard-bottom, and I want to get out and wade, it is possible...
These aren't the insulated waders...so on warmer days in the winter, I will just wear my thin fishing-pants under them...for colder days on the water, I have incorporated thermal underwear into the setup with success.
Pedaling the Hobie with the stocking-footed waders has been a good experience. They are light, and flex is not an issue at all. I have pedaled over 8 miles during one trip, while wearing the waders. I can basically fish like I do in the warmer months - I can turn sideways in the kayak and stick my feet and legs in the water...no worries.
One other thing I like about wearing the waders - when I get back to the landing, and I get out of the water and back to the vehicle, I can take them off and my pants and socks are usually nice and dry. I have noticed on some days, when it started off cold and warmed-up during the course of the day's fishing, my socks would be a little sweaty...but for the most part, the outfit is pretty dry. No leaks in the feet or seams yet - that will be something to keep an eye on as time goes by.
I'm very happy with the breathable waders - they have made comfortable, year-round kayak fishing possible for me...