YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
YOUR QUESTIONS ANSWERED
We are often asked the same questions by customers regarding Snowbee products, and unfortunately there is never room in a catalogue to include all the answers, so here goes! Please choose from the selection below:
Q: As a beginner, new to fly fishing, what rod should I buy?
A: Whilst we manufacture rods for all levels of ability, this decision is largely based on what type of fishing you are planning to undertake. Stillwater rods tend to err towards the 9ft-10ft#6, #7, #8 weight range, where river fishers generally use rods within a lighter line class of say 7-10ft and #2, #3, #4, #5, #6. A good all-rounder would be a rod in the 9ft #6 category. It's also very important beginners go for a rod that will allow for degree of 'feel' for the rod loading under the weight of the line. Beginners should avoid 'fast' action rods that generate high line speeds. Young beginners should avoid longer, heavier rods to protect their growing limbs and wrists in particular. Our Classic range provides a great entry level rod for anyone not wanting to spend a fortune. At the other end of the scale, our Prestige range flexes through a middle-to-tip action (medium line speed) with a smooth progressive power curve, allowing anybody to start with an extremely high quality rod, they will be happy to use for a lifetime.
Q: Is it possible for me to "try before I buy" a Snowbee fly rod?
A: This is something that we highly recommend to all our customers. Easiest way is to visit one of our main Snowbee stockists or attend one of the main consumer shows around the country which we or our retailers try to attend. All Snowbee dealers have knowledgeable staff with a vast amount of experience in game angling, most have a casting area nearby where you can cast and test the action of our rods too. Several of the Snowbee design team attend regular shows around the country and are more than happy to answer any questions you might have. Shows this year include: Sportfish Show – Reading, Meon Springs - Meon, plus various other events and local dealer shows across the country.
Q: Can I use a heavier or lighter line than the one recommended for the rod?
A: All Snowbee single handed fly rods have been designed to match the specific weight and performance of Snowbee XS fly lines. In all cases lines meet the heavier end of their AFTMA rating so a rod that is designated #6 or #5/6 will load best with a #6 at medium distances. It is however, possible to add a line weight heavier to increase the amount of loading to aid short range casting and increase the 'feel' for the cast. On the other hand, using a line one weight lower than the rod designation may be more suitable to highly proficient casters looking to cast a longer line. In a very few cases, fly lines like the light weight Thistledown may be suitable for more than one rod weight. In this case Thistledown will perform with unique performance on any rod between #2 and #5wt and of any length.
Q: Can Game rods be used in saltwater?
A: Any Snowbee rod with an anodized aluminum reel seat can be used in salt water. However, the 'Geo' saltwater range has been specifically designed with saltwater fly fishing in mind and have a number of features, including ALPS Anodised reel seats with Carbon Fibre inserts and close proximity stripper rings as standard and best suited to this harsh environment. In all cases we recommend rods and any other equipment is washed in warm soapy water immediately after use.
Q: What is the difference between the Snowbee rod families?
A: We firmly believe in making rods that meet the situations and average casting distances of the everyday angler. We therefore pitch the majority of our river rod actions around the middle-to-tip flex and our still-water/saltwater range more towards a tip flex action. We also try to make rods available across an 'affordable' price structure. All Snowbee rods use the highest grade materials available. Several models are built using 'flor' grade Portuguese cork, Silicone Carbide lined stripper rings, Hi-lift American snake rings Anodised reel seats. All Snowbee rods come with an attractive Cotton Drill bag and all but the Classic come in a protective custom size rod tube. The Geo rods come in a triangular Cordura covered Polyester Oxford rod tube, The Prestige Square tubes and Diamond round. The Classic is the only exception which come with only a brown Cottom drill bag, as our 'budget range', to help keep the purchase price minimal. Spare tubes for all saizes of rods are also available. The price difference generally reflects the carbon composition of the blank and finish of the components. The Carbon ranging from a mix of 30 to 50 ton, with the added benefit of the 'Nano' composition on the Geo range. All the rods are designed for lightness in the tip, with added reserves of power in the butt sections for optimum performance.
Q: Do Snowbee rods carry the Lifetime Warranty?
A: Yes, Snowbee blanks carry our lifetime warranty for the original owner. For more details check-out our terms and conditions.
Q: I have heard a lot about the Snowbee XS Fly Lines. What makes them so special?
A: Since their launch over 20 years ago, the Snowbee XS Fly Lines have been recognised and accepted as the best British Fly line ever made. They combine a traditional feel with high-tech, state of the art manufacturing technology and design. The result is a top quality Fly Line with a unique balance of properties. Today the latest XS Nano material takes the Snowbee XS lines to a new and excepetional level of finish and performance.
When we began, what turned out to be a 2½ year development project, we analysed all our competitors lines and found they fell broadly into 2 categories; traditional Double Taper Lines for delicate presentation on the River or Weight Forward lines, all of which seemed to be moving towards the "Bug" or "Rocket" taper design, with all the weight at the head of the line. Great for distance, but the short, steep tapers generally destroy presentation.
We set out to design a Fly Line, which would do both jobs competently - shoot distance effortlessly but also provide delicate presentation. To achieve this, we used long shallow front and rear tapers, and a long belly to give a superb, controlled turn over, coupled with a low diameter running line, for outstanding shootability.
The low stretch braided core and unique PVC formulation provides an Ultra-Low memory, which sets new standards in suppleness. Coupled with this, the Ultra-smooth surface finish allows less guide friction, less drag and hence higher line speed.
The combination of a truly balanced profile and fine running line, produce outstanding shootability, whilst the revolutionary new line profile transfers line energy smoothly down the front taper, to give a controlled turn over and superb presentation:
The fine running line of the Snowbee XS Fly lines measures just 0.85mm diameter. The average fly line has a running line of around 1mm diameter - this is 38% greater volume to punch through the air and rod rings! Greater volume - higher air resistance - lower line speed! Particularly important when casting into a head-wind.
More recently as technology has advanced we have produced several ‘Distance’ casting XS Fly lines, Extreme Distance and the new XS Plus Range and for the ultimate in Dry Fly Fishing, a hybrid ‘Delicate Presentation’ line, a combination of weight forward and double taper all in the one line. Finally we have the ultra slim but competition standard Thistledown and Nymph lines and new cores to take finesse when castingb and presenating a fly to new levels, previoulsy rarely achievable.
We are so confident of our XS Fly Lines, that we offer a money-back guarantee. If you are not entirely happy with your new line after first use, simply return it to the retailer you bought it from, for a full refund. Why else would many of the world's top rod brands, including Sage, choose Snowbee XS lines to use on their own Demonstrations?
Q: What should I use to clean my Snowbee fly line?
A: Most industrial cleaners and polishes contain solvents that can damage the fly line's PVC coating. In the worst instance they can cause it to dry out or even crack.
Insect repellents containing DEET, solvents, gasoline, sunscreen, and excessive heat and sunlight can also destroy fly lines in no time.
Recommendations for Cleaning and Dressing...
Most Snowbee fly lines are self lubricating - they actually release a small amount of silicone over time which aids their shootability. However, cleaning is also an important aspect of fly line longevity, we therefore recommend cleaning lines occasionally between regular outings or, if you don't fish that often, maybe once every few months or espocially after use in coloured water or if allowed to become grubby on the floor. In freshwater, microscopic particles of algae will collect dirt and other deposits onto the line. These small particles adhere to the surface of all lines but with floating lines, it can sometimes lead to the line becoming less buoyant. A dirty line will also grind ridges into rod rings which in turn, might also damage a line.
Saltwater fly fishing can be particularly damaging to lines as salt will dry on the line, we therefore recommend lines are cleaned in fresh clean water after use. If your line is not shooting so well, or the tip of a floating line is beginning to sink, it is well overdue for a good cleaning. Warm water, a few drops of a mild soap, without detergent, or even a small bar of soap and a soft rag is sufficient for cleaning a fly line.
For enhanced performance and extended life, each Snowbee line comes complete with a specially formulated bottle of ‘line slick' for floating lines or line ‘degreaser' for sinking lines. Not only will this protect the line but it will also reduce the amount of friction when passing through the line guides. Just a few drops of fluid squeezed onto a dry cloth or kitchen roll type soft paper towel is all that's required. Clean and dry the line first then just pull the line through the damp cloth, and remove any excess fluid by repeating on a dry piece of cloth or kitchen roll and then hang in large wide coils or lay down in loose coils on a sheet of clean newspaper and allow to dry fully before re-spooling.
If the line is not going to be used for a long time, we recommend removing it from the reel and again storing it in large coiled loops in a dark room, or in a drawer, away from direct sunlight.
Do not use a line dressing that contains a wax since it can destroy the self lubricating properties of the line and remember many other lubricants or dressings may have damaging solvents in them.
Q: I'm new to Single-Handed fly fishing, which line is best for me?
A: There are several lines you could use but what's important is that the line is capable of transferring sufficient energy to carry and present the fly to the fish, with the minimum of effort and disturbance to the water. As a general rule small flies can be cast with lighter line weights, whilst large flies, often used for catching large predatory species, require larger line weights.
Line density is largely dependant upon the river conditions. In cold and sometimes very hot weather, fish will often lie deep - in milder conditions, 50-65ºF, fish will often respond to a fly fished near the surface. As a beginner we would advise you to begin learning casting with a floating line. As you progress and become more confident you can then start to use sink tips and full sinking lines. As always we would recommend you get some professional instruction and make an informed choice before you buy any line.
If you are still unsure, please do drop us an email and we'll be happy to advise you. Email: email@example.com
Fishing in small rivers and still-waters - Browns, Grayling, Sea Trout and Rainbows averaging 1-2lbs
Here presentation is more important than distance. As a general guide we recommend line weights as follows:
Small Wet & Dry Flies
Nymph Line #2-5wt
Delicate Presentation #2-5wt
WF Floating #3-5wt
WF Floating Twin Colour #3-5wt
Large Wet & Dry Flies
Delicate Presentation #5-7
DT Floating #5-7wt
WF Floating #5-7wt
WF Buzzer Tip #5-7wt
WF Sinkl tip #5-7wt
WF Neutral Density #5-7wt
WF Clear Intermediate # 5-7wt
WF Countdown 2 - #6-7wt
WF Countdown 3 - #6-7wt
WF Countdown 5 - #6-7wt
WF Countdown 7 - #6-7wt
WF Neutral Density #7wt
Fishing in large rivers and still-waters - Browns and Rainbows averaging 3-5lbs
Here presentation is important but you will need to be able to cast longer distances to cover the water. Having the extra line weight will also give you an advantage over lighter lines, especially when casting into a wind. As a general guide we recommend line weights as follows:
Small Wet & Dry Flies
Delicate presentation # 5-7wt
DT Floating #5-6wt
WF Floating #5-6wt
Extreme Distance Floating #5-6wt
WF Neutral Density #5-7wt
Large Wet & Dry Flies
DT Floating #6-7wt
WF Floating #6-7wt
WF Sink Tip #6-7wt
WF Neutral Density #6-7wt
WF Clear Intermediate #6-7wt
XS Plus Sinking Countdown series ‘Distance’ Lines #6-8wt
Fishing in very large rivers and ‘windswept' still-waters - Browns, Salmon, Sea Trout, Rainbows - 4lbs+
Here presentation is still important but you will need to be able to cast large, heavy flies longer distances to cover the water. Having the extra line weight will also give you an advantage over lighter lines, especially when casting into a wind. As a general guide we recommend line weights as follows:
Large Wet & Dry Flies
DT Floating #7-9wt
WF Floating #7-9wt
WF Buzzer Tip # 7-9wt
WF Sink Tip #7-9wt
WF Neutral Density #7-9wt
WF Clear Intermediate #7-9wt
WF 5-8wt XStra distance short head fly lines for punching a line out in any conditions in floating Intermediate and Fast Sink
XS Plus Sinking Countdown Series ‘Distance’ Lines #7-9
Fishing for small predatory species in fresh or saltwater.
Here presentation is still important but you may still need to carry a fairly large fly to a target fish. You may also need to cast the fly into a gale and so the line will need to have sufficient mass to transfer sufficient energy to turn the fly over. The front taper of the line may well be slightly shorter compared to a presentation line. As a general guide we recommend line weights as follows:
Small/ Med Predator Flies - Streamers, Deceivers, Lures etc
WF Floating - Saltwater #8-9wt
WF Sink Tip #7-8wt
WF Clear Intermediate #7-8wt
WF Countdown series 'Distance' Lines #7-8wt
New Tropics Saltwater lines - #7-12wt
Scandinavian Spey lines, in all densities can also be extremely effective when overhead casting with Saltwater fly rods!!
Fishing for large predatory species in fresh or saltwater.
Here presentation is less important than being able to carry a very large fly to a target fish. You may need to cast the fly into a gale and so the line will need to have sufficient mass to transfer sufficient energy to turn the fly over. The front taper of the line may well be very short compared to a presentation line. As a general guide we recommend line weights as follows:
Large Predator Flies - Poppers, Divers, Deceivers, Lures etc
WF Floating - Saltwater #10-12wt
WF Sink Tip #9wt
WF Intermediate #9wt
WF Ultra Fast Sink #9wt
WF Countdown series 'Distance' Lines #7-8wt
New Tropics Saltwater lines - #7-12wt
Scandinavian Spey lines, in all densities can also be extremely effective when overhead casting with Saltwater fly rods!!
Q: I'm new to fly fishing, how much backing should I put on my reel?
A: Backing is the additional line used when the fish runs hard and pulls the full length of the fly line from the reel. How much backing you have in reserve is generally down to the volume or space you have on the reel. The size of reel will be determined by the type of fishing you choose to undertake. A large fish in an open expanse of water will potentially require more backing than a small fish in a small pond. It makes sense therefore to use a large reel with lots of backing when fishing for large species and a small reel with say 100yds/m of backing for smaller fish.
See below for a general guide to our own Snowbee XS reel, line and backing capacities:
Fly Line: WF7F
Plus Std 20lb Braid: 100m
Fly Line: WF5F
Plus Std 20lb Braid: 75 -100m
Fly Line: WF3F
Plus Std 20lb Braid: 50 -100m
Fly Line: 2D 9/10
plus Std 30lb Braid: 100m
Q: I'm new to fly fishing, how do attach my line to my reel?
A: Every new Snowbee line comes with an intsruction sheet and diagram with full details on attachment and how to best to care for it to extend its use and to ensure best performance. Check out the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QzA0a2ZU5w8
Q: I am new to two-handed ‘Spey' casting and would like to know which line is best suited to me.
A: In all cases, successful Spey-Casting requires fine line control and split-second timing and so it's always worth getting some tuition from an Instructor who specialises in Spey Casting before you go out and buy any new outfit or line. Once you have a better understanding of the rivers you are going to fish, you can then make a more informed judgement as to what line will best suit you as an individual and also base your decision around the room you might have for making the cast.
We currently make a number of ‘Spey' lines suitable for fishing in a wide range of fishing situations. Whether you're looking to fish short casts in confined spaces or cast long lines in open spaces, we have something to suit. What's more we also stock lines of different densities for fishing flies either on the surface or at depth.
Some tips on line choice...
The amount of line exposed to the rear of the caster is of paramount importance.
During the concluding moments of a Single & Double Spey, Snake Roll or Snap ‘T', a ‘D' loop is formed alongside and to the rear of the caster. Optimal ‘rod loading' is achieved when the ‘D' loop is at maximum stretch and the fly line ‘Head' and rear taper are almost completely outside of the tip ring. If executed using a perfectly balanced line, this ‘intentional hinging' of the rear taper not only improves the potential for narrowing the loop in the forward cast but it also increases both line speed and distance.
On large open rivers there is normally plenty of room for Spey-Casting and the size of the ‘D' loop is not a limiting factor. Spey-Cast your way down a tree-lined river and suddenly there is another Dimension to think about. This situation is made more difficult when the caster uses a line with too short or too long a head and finding the optimum rod-load point is left pretty much to guesswork. The Snowbee development team has tackled this situation head-on and produced a range of lines that are perfectly balanced for Spey-Casting in just about any river environment.
Q: Tell me more about your 3D Spey lines?
A: 1D, 2D & 3D - Spey-Casting Lines are colour-coded, providing you with a choice of various head lengths and specific head weights to suit your preferred Spey Rod and Spey Casting requirements. These specific head weights are matched accurately to the ‘Optimum Head Weight' (OHW) designation on our new XS Spey Rods.
Snowbee 1-D Spey Line - Suitable for Spey Casting in small rivers where bank-side vegetation and/ or steep sided riverbanks severely limit the back-cast area. Short to middle distance Spey line, ideally suited to those individuals just starting to Spey cast.
Snowbee 2-D Spey Line - Suitable for Spey Casting in medium-sized rivers where bank-side vegetation and/ or steep sided riverbanks have only minimal impact on the back-cast area. Middle to long distance Spey line for intermediate and advanced Spey casters.
Snowbee 3-D Spey Line - Suitable for Spey Casting in large rivers where bank-side vegetation and/ or steep sided riverbanks do not encroach on the back-cast area. Long distance Spey line for advanced Spey casters.
Snowbee 3-D Spey Line profiles maximise both distance and performance, transferring casting energy smoothly along their length, giving a superbly controlled turnover for ‘underhand' and ‘traditional' Spey Casting.
Q: What are the dimensions of your 1D, 2D and 3D Spey lines?
A: The diagram below shows dimensions for 1D, 2D and 3D spey lines.
Spey line profiles:
Q: Tell me more about your Scandinavian Spey lines and shooting heads?
A: Following the amazing success of the 3-D Spey lines in 2004, we've also added a further range of ‘Scandinavian-Spey' profile lines to meet the demands of those salmon and sea trout anglers fishing with double handed rods, where the creation of a large ‘D' loop is near impossible.
By combining the best of the ‘Scandinavian' ‘Underhand' style of casting and ‘shooting head' line technology with our own UK style of ‘Spey Casting' and delicate front taper design, we've created the ultimate fly line for those tight situations............. The Scandinavian-Spey loads the rod quickly at short range, shoots like a dream and has the turnover of a traditional Spey line. The slickest delivery of flies, with no line/backing knot into the bargain.
‘Scandinavian-Spey' fly lines come in a choice of floating, intermediate and ultra-fast sinking densities, with a colour coded core that also forms the first 50yds of your backing.
Trim-to-fit shooting heads.
The traditional Scandinavian method of using, ‘trim to fit', ‘shooting heads' for Salmon and Sea Trout fly fishing is as popular today as it's ever been. In other parts of the world, shooting heads are commonly used for steelhead, sea trout and salt water fly fishing for bass. Wherever they're used, they allow the angler to ‘modify' the weighted section of the head to suit his own, very specific, requirements. The all new Snowbee ‘Scandinavian - Shooting Heads' are designed with the same profile and head weights as the ‘Scandinavian-Spey' Lines, producing effective rod loading at short range and incredibly smooth turnover. Shooting Heads come in a choice of floating, intermediate and ultra-fast sinking densities and a range of head weights to suit both single and double handed casting situations.
Q: What is meant by Optimum Rod Loading & Optimum Head Weight?
A: Finding the ‘Optimum Rod Loading', on any rod requires a basic understanding of fly casting and rod loading principles. Optimum rod loading identifies with both the overall length and weight of line outside of the rod tip (Head Weight) as much as it relates to the energy applied during the casting sequence. Together they form a combined total we refer to as ‘Casting Weight'. Casting weight is what makes a rod ‘flex'. It is important to remember that a rod can be over-flexed or ‘overloaded' by using too great a casting weight, especially where the angler applies too much energy to the cast or where the line head weight is too heavy for the rod action.
If you are unsure of the correct rod loading (OHW grams) or rod rating (AFTM) please consult the rod manufacturer.
Snowbee Scandinavian-Spey lines and Shooting heads have a 44ft head length and are ideally suited to fishing at short to middle distances. They also have head weights that are matched to the optimum rod loading point of Snowbee two-handed fly rods.
All Snowbee two-handed ‘Spey' rods show an Optimum Head Weight (OHW) rating, measured in grams.
Q: How do I construct a Shooting Head?
A: Snowbee shooting heads come in a wide range of head weights and so it is often possible to use them without trimming.
Shooting heads have been designed with the same front profiles and head weights as the Scandinavian-Spey lines but have the added advantage of being ‘trim-to-fit' for fine tune adjustment of head weight and optimum rod loading.
You may need to make several adjustments before you find the ‘Optimum Loading Point' so err on the side of caution when trimming and make only 6" cuts in-between each casting test. Once you have established optimum rod loading you can then make a more permanent attachment of the shooting head to running line.
Back to Fly Line questions >>
Q: What exactly does "Breathable" mean?
A: We can fully understand the confusion on this subject, as it is a bit of a minefield. "Breathable" has become a bit of a generic term which is now commonly used to describe any material which allows just about anything to pass through - including wind! It's no wonder consumers get confused. Let's ignore garments such as underwear and fleece, which are often loosely described as "breathable" and stick to what the term "breathable" was really intended for - waterproof garments.
Anyone who remembers the early days of PVC Waders & PVC coated fabrics used in waterproofs will also remember the horrendous condensation problems associated with them. You often wondered whether you would have been drier without the waterproofs on! True Breathable fabrics have been about for almost 30 years, since Gore-Tex first appeared on the market in 1976. Since then many manufacturers have produced similar fabrics with breathable membranes and the popularity of breathable clothing and waders has grown tremendously.
The secret of Breathable fabrics is the membrane. The most common form is a TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane) membrane, which is either coated onto the inside of the outer fabric, as in cheaper materials, or laminated to the fabric, in better quality materials. The idea behind breathable fabrics is to keep out rain and protect the inner layers from chilling winds, whilst allowing the free transfer of moisture out through the breathable membrane. The aim is to keep you Cool and Dry in hot, humid conditions or Warm and Dry in cold, wet conditions.
These two opposites pose different problems for the material technologist. Staying dry, is not just about keeping the rain out.
It is also important to wick moisture quickly away from the skin to avoid evaporation, which lowers body core temperature. By using combinations of a high wicking inner-layer and fleece mid-layer, it is possible to keep both warm and dry just about anywhere. For breathable materials to work efficiently therefore, the under "wicking" garment layers are just as important as the outer layer.
Q: How does Breathable Material work?
A: The key to the enhanced performance of breathable materials is in their advanced inner membrane - most commonly TPU (Thermoplastic Polyurethane). This microporous laminate is a Hydrophilic membrane, the structure of which allows moisture to be wicked away from the body and transferred through the fabric to the outside in the evaporated state. The micro-pores in the TPU laminate are large enough to allow moisture vapour (perspiration) out, but far too small to allow water molecules in, making the fabric totally waterproof.
As you warm up inside the garment, the air inside becomes hot and humid, relative to that outside. This raises the vapour pressure inside which forces moisture, in the form of perspiration and condensation, through the PU Breathable membrane, leaving you cool and dry.
Q: With so much on the market, how do I choose the right garment?
A: Before you buy, the MOST important factor to consider is the material specification. Not all Breathable materials are the same.
The performance of Breathable materials is measured in 2 ways.
Breathability - measured in grams of moisture which can pass through the material per m2 per 24 hrs.
Waterproofness - measured as the Hydrostatic water pressure the material can withstand - given as the "head" of water, in mm.
Many manufacturers use inferior materials, in order to keep prices down. These may look the same, but performance differences soon become apparent, as many anglers find out to their cost. Put quite simply, if you are generating more moisture inside the garment, than the breathable membrane can transfer, you will still get damp !
The figures can differ greatly for different brands of clothing, but as a general rule, look for Jackets & Trousers with a minimum breathability of around 5000 g/m2/24 hrs and a Hydrostatic Water pressure resistance of around 5000 mm. For Breathable Waders, the Hydrostatic Water pressure is the most important, so look for a minimum breathability of around 3000 g/m2/24 hrs and a Hydrostatic Water pressure resistance of at least 10,000 mm.
Snowbee, use only the best materials available, able to withstand a Hydrostatic pressure of up to 20,000mm on our top range Breathable Waders - three times more waterproof than some of the cheaper brands.
We are proud of the quality of materials we use and always publish all our material specifications in our catalogue. See how many of our competitors do the same and ask yourself what they have to hide.
Q: Breathable Clothing I can understand, but how can Waders be Breathable and still breath underwater?
Q: Breathable Clothing I can understand, but how can Waders be Breathable and still breath underwater?
A: This is a common question and it does take a bit to getting your head around it. All we can say is that it really does work! As you heat up inside the waders, you produce a hot, humid micro-climate inside, relative to the outside. This raises the vapour pressure inside which forces moisture, in the form of perspiration and condensation, through the PU Breathable membrane, leaving you cool and dry. The crazy part is, the colder it is outside, the faster this transfer becomes, so when you are standing in relatively cold water, the moisture transfer will be faster than if you were on the bank in relatively warm air.
Back to Wader questions >>
Q: I have heard mixed reports on Breathable Waders. What makes Snowbee's different?
A: To date, all manufacturers of Breathable Waders have experienced leaking problems - fact! In order to breathe, the material has to be relatively thin, which leaves it susceptible to puncture or abrasion damage.
The Snowbee Breathable range feature our Vapour-Tec® System - totally new materials, with tough outer shell and Breathable Inner Membrane, allowing vapour transfer to keep you dry and comfortable all day.
The tough outer shell has reinforcing at the critical points - the knees and seat, to provide additional protection against abrasion and punctures, a problem cheaper wader manufacturers choose to ignore.
Q: What type of Wader Sole is best for me?
A: We produce a range of soles, each designed for a specific purpose:
Cleated soles are most suitable for general use on sand, mud, shingle etc.
Our unique Combination Sole incorporates a Felt-Sole and Deep Cleated Heel. The heavy duty heel digs in on wet grass or muddy banks, whilst the Felt-sole gives unsurpassed grip in the fastest of rivers. Trials have shown that there is no loss of grip in the river by not having a felt-heel, because if you are unsure of your footing, you naturally transfer the weight to the balls of your feet, so your toes can flex to give you balance - this is where you need the grip.
For conditions where studs can be an advantage, we have a number of options: Full Felt-Soles with studded heels or our amazing "Spike-Sole" on the new Granite and Prestige Waders.
Full Studded Cleated Soles on our Snowbee Neoprene and Prestige Breathable Waders. Additionally, our Screw in Studs can be added to the heels of Felt-Sole or Cleated sole waders, for additional grip.
Q: Can I screw Studs into any type of Sole?
A: Snowbee produce packs of Screw-in Wader Studs for additional grip. However, care must be taken when using these. In general we recommend these are screwed into the Heel section only. If however, studs are required in the Sole area, then care must be taken, due to the length of the studs and the thickness of the sole. If studs are screwed into the sole area and you should step on a sharp stone, right on the stud, there is the danger that the point of the stud could be driven right up through the sole of the boot, causing a leak.
If studs are required in the sole, we recommend you avoid the main weight bearing area of the ball of the foot and only fit them around the toe area and perimeter of the sole. If there is any doubt as to the thickness of the sole, then it is an idea to start screwing the studs in, to open up the hole, then unscrew them and snip or file off the sharp point of the stud, then re-affix. This should avoid the sole penetration possibility. Golden rule - if in doubt, leave them out!
Q: What size waders should I buy?
A: Snowbee already offer the largest range of Waders and Sizes in the UK. Our popular Junior/Lady's Neoprene Waders are included in the Snowbee Combi Felt-Sole Neoprene Range, from size 5 - 13 and the PVC range now comes in an unmatched size range from shoe size 3 to 12.
Fuller Body (FB) Sizes:
We are frequently asked for Waders with larger body sizes...so here they are. The Fuller Body (FB) range, offers the same features as our standard models, but with Body sizes approximately 15% larger. These new FB Models are available in an extended range, including our top of the range Prestige, the Neoprene waders and 210D Nylon Chest Waders.
If buying stocking foot waders always buy a boot to match atleast one size bigger than your normal shoe size, to allow for the extra thickness of the neoprene stocking foot.
Q: What is the best Wader material for me?
A: This is a tough one and depends entirely on the conditions, the weather, temperature and how much you want to spend! Starting from the bottom, the Hi-Elastic PVC material is used on the economy range. It is a basic PVC which in light to medium use will perform well and is lightweight and comfortable to wear. Being a simple PVC construction the puncture or abrasion resistance is low, so if where you fish is overgrown, this is NOT the material to choose.
The next up in the range is the 150 Denier Nylon material. Lighter, tougher, more durable and more flexible than PVC, so offers the wearer greater protection, coupled with added wearer comfort. The tightly woven 150D Nylon outer resists thorns and abrasion like no other wader of this weight, while the inner PVC coating ensures they remain 100% watertight. For added strength, the seams are double stitched and heat sealed on the inside.
Breathable Waders - these offer the ultimate in comfort, as they eliminate the build-up of perspiration and condensation, associated with normal PVC or Nylon waders. All of the above waders are relatively thin, so if being used in cold water conditions, it is an advantage to use some form of thermal clothing underneath. This option of course now comes with the zip front option for optimum comfort and ease with taking them on and off.
Neoprene - this is the best material to use in cold water conditions, especially if deep wading. Even fishing still-waters in Thigh waders, the water temperature can remain fairly low even in summer, so Neoprene can be a great advantage, insulating you from the cold. The only drawback to neoprene is that it can be too hot, when you are out of the water or walking to or from the beat. For this reason, the Snowbee Neoprene waders have a "roll-down" facility, so they can be rolled down and converted into a waist wader, to help keep you cool. (Also now available in a zip front option)
Q: How can I be sure the zip in my zip front waders won't leak?
A: Snowbee breathable Geo, SFT and Prestige ST Breathable waders, all now come with a zip front option for convenience and ease of dressing and removing the waders even from a sitting position. This RIRI and Tizip zips are the same as those used for dry suits for diving and other applications and are therefore made to the very best specifications and completely water tight at all times when done up.
Q: How do I extend the life of my Waders
A: Unlike Rubber Waders, which being a natural material, tend to crack and perish, Snowbee Waders are manufactured from synthetic PVC & Nylon materials, which do not deteriorate with age. However, a few simple points will extend the life. Always hang the waders up after use, preferably upside-down, using a Snowbee Wader-Rack. This will prevent unsightly creasing, which does not directly adversely affect the waders, but sharp creases are more prone to chaffing. Keep the waders OUT of direct light. Sunlight is one of the few things, which WILL cause synthetic materials to deteriorate. If using in Saltwater, always wash off with fresh water after use. This is simply to remove the salt, which would otherwise crystallise and cause abrasion damage, next time you wear the waders.
Q: How do I detect a leak in my waders?
A: Unless it is obvious where the leak is, from the "tell-tale" damp patch on your trousers, the simplest way is to dry the waders, hang them up and fill them with water. Care must be taken, as a pair of chest waders FULL of water is HEAVY! Make sure they are well supported and if necessary recruit some extra pairs of hands to hold them up. The water pressure built up inside the waders, will soon find all but the most obstinate of leaks and you will see either a trickle of water down the outside, or a small bead of water, if the leak or puncture is small. Once located, mark the leak with chalk, a wax crayon or felt tip pen and empty the waders.
Alternatively, for breathable waders, one can use Snowbee Leak Doctor (SLD) on most breathable materials to detect leaks. On dry waders, a small spray from the pump action dispenser, onto the offending area, will usually show the location of a small puncture as an immediate dark damp spot. Mark the spot with an indelible pen.
Once located, apply Stormsure or similar wader repair glue to the spot and the repair should be complete when dry again. For immediate quick drying repair and emergencies even on wet waders at the water side, always carry a tube of
quick drying UV sensitive 'Suncure' as a back up!
Q: Once located, how do I repair my waders?
A: The type of leak will determine how to repair it. If a simple cut or puncture it can be repaired with a small patch from the repair kit supplied with all Snowbee waders which can be further sealed with liquid repair. If the leak is on a seam, then it may be best repaired with a "liquid patch" material, such as Snowbee Suncure or Stormsure.
Instant Repairs: One of the most annoying fishing mishaps is to puncture your waders early in the day! You have 2 choices: abandon your days fishing, or persevere and spend the day wet and cold - some choice! That was until 'Snowbee Suncure' came on the scene. This revolutionary new material has transformed Wader repair. It works just the same as the other proprietary brands of repair sealants on the market, the difference being that this one is catalysed by UV light. Simply apply a thin smear of Suncure over the damaged area, whilst in the shade, expose to daylight and within 5 minutes, you are back fishing! On neoprene waders, you don't even have to dry them first! No fishing bag should be without one - a small price to pay compared with a lost days fishing!
Q: Can I replace my Felt Soles?
A: Yes you can, using the Snowbee Felt-Sole or Studded Felt-Sole replacement kits, which are designed for use with all Snowbee Felt-Sole Waders. If they are to be used with other brands of wader, it may be necessary to trim the edges of the Felt-Sole to fit the profile of the boots. The adhesive supplied with the Felt-Sole Kit is designed for use with PVC BOOTS. If you are replacing Felt-Soles on RUBBER BOOTS, it is recommended that you use an Impact Type Rubber adhesive (such as Evostick).
Please follow these simple instructions, to ensure your replacement Felt-Soles adhere correctly.
1. Remove old Felt-Soles by peeling back off the boots. If they are still well adhered to the boots, it may be necessary to pare them away from the sole, with a sharp knife, taking care not to cut the bottom of the boot.
2. Remove any loose strands of felt from the bottom of the boot, with the sandpaper supplied.
3. Apply a thin layer of adhesive to the sole of the boot and a thicker layer to the new Felt-sole, as the felt is absorbent.
4. Leave this to dry thoroughly, and then apply a second thin layer of adhesive to both surfaces.
5. Allow this to partly dry, until it is tacky to the touch, then press soles firmly onto the bottom of the boots.
The most important aspect of replacing Felt-soles, is to ensure that the new soles are firmly stuck around the perimeter, to avoid them being torn off on rocks. We have found the most successful method of doing this, is to cut a number of lengths of adhesive tape, approximately 12-14" long and gripping the boots between your knees, apply the tape across the bottom of the Felt-sole and stretch down tightly, either side of the boot, to firmly pull down the edges of the felt-soles.
Then leave the boots for a minimum of 12 hours to dry, before use.
Q: How should I care for my Felt-Soles?
A: We have been selling Felt-Sole Waders in the UK for over 20 years and during that time, we have come across customers who have worn out a pair of felt-soles in less than a season and those who have had 7 or 8 years service, from the original soles! This is nothing to do with how "hard" they are on their waders, it is all about how they look after them.
When you wade with Felt-soles, the "Felt" (which is in fact a synthetic Nylon material) absorbs water and with it, fine particles of mud. If you leave this in, what happens is that the water evaporates from the soles during storage, leaving the mud particles. With repeated use, these mud particles build up, slowly "clogging" the open texture of the felt, until the point where the sole takes on the appearance of a digestive biscuit and becomes hard to the touch, where the mud has become solidly packed in. Once this stage is reached, the sole quickly wears, as it has now become a hard, solid object, rather than a soft resilient material. It quickly wears away and needs replacing. The other problem that can occur is the felt becomes hard and separates from the boot. The simple solution to these problems is to hose the soles down with fresh water after use. A normal garden hose, set on high pressure will do this and you will be amazed to see how much mud is blasted out! The sole quickly returns to its normal, white fluffy appearance and will give more seasons of use.
Q: I have always fancied the idea of Smoking my Fish. How do I go about it ?
A: Smoking is one of the tastiest and healthiest ways of enjoying fish and offers an alternative to the usual cooking methods.
If using a Snowbee Smoker for the first time, a few simple pointers:
Firstly 2 important items, which may seem obvious -
1. Before use remove the Blue Polythene film protection from the smoker trays. This is to prevent damage in transit and must be removed before use. We did have one customer who complained that his stainless smoker had turned black and sticky after the first use! Secondly,
2. DO NOT use the smoker indoors, unless you plan to re-decorate in the near future!
The Snowbee Smoker is a "Hot" Smoker, which smokes and cooks at the same time. This process is completely different to that used on Salmon, which is a "Cold" smoking technique, which smokes, but does not cook the fish. It is important therefore to ensure sufficient time in the smoker to thoroughly cook the fish or meat.
With regards the Meths' burners, we suggest that you fill these about ½ full, which gives around 20 - 25 minutes burning time; sufficient for most smokings. This can obviously be reduced, for small fish or fillets.
In practice, we have found this quite sufficient for 3 or 4 small fish (3/4 - 1 lb), gutted, but left whole, with head and tail on. For larger fish, in the 2 - 3 lb size, it is normally necessary to head and tail them, simply to fit them into the smoker. It also helps to split them along the backbone and open them up, like a butterfly fillet, to allow the smoke and heat to penetrate.
With larger fish, it pays to fillet them, or cut them into steaks, otherwise repeated meths burner top-ups are required and by the time the fish is cooked, it is often over-smoked, with a rather pungent flavour.
As with any cooking method, it is to some extent a matter of personal taste and so a degree of "trial & error" is necessary to determine what suits you. Some people like a strong smoke taste, whilst others prefer a lighter smoking. This can be regulated by the amount of Chippings you put in the smoker, but for general purposes we find that a good layer, sufficient to cover the bottom of the recessed tray works well for most applications. The English Oak Dust we supply have proved to be an excellent all-round choice.
One of the most important aspects of smoking, particularly with fish, is the salt treatment beforehand, as this draws fluids from the cells of the fish by osmosis, which is then reversed during the cooking process, allowing the smoke flavour to penetrate the flesh. This can be achieved by either sprinkling the fish quite heavily with salt, or leaving the fish in a strong brine solution for about an hour. Either method will achieve the same result and again it is down to personal preference.
After brining, dry the fish as thoroughly as you can with kitchen towel, until it is tacky to the touch.
When it comes to smoking meats and poultry, the above instructions still apply, but it must be borne in mind that meats take a lot more cooking than fish, which actually begins cooking at temperatures as low as 30 degrees Celsius! This is particularly important with Chicken to ensure it is cooked through to the bone and either removing the flesh from the bone or cutting into smaller joints allows the heat to penetrate more easily.
With regards Cheese, I have only attempted this once, with rather disastrous results. I placed a large block of cheddar on a saucer in the smoker and came back to find a congealed puddle of once molten cheese! I can only conclude that commercial smokers use a Cold Smoking technique for cheese!
We hope the above is of some practical help, but should you have any other queries, please do not hesitate to contact us. We are hoping to publish some of our favourite recipes on this page soon, but if anyone has any they would like to share, by all means please send them in.
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