By: Bears Butt

If you are like me you will go through a pair of hip waders or chest waders about every three or so years.  In the past, if the lower portions of the boots are still good and don’t leak, I will cut off the top part of the boot and save the lower portions for sloshing around in ankle deep water or snow or maybe for irrigating.  They are really handy for doing those sorts of things.

Well last year my brother had a pair of hip boots go bad on him and I asked if I could have them.  He has bigger feet than I do and I thought maybe the foot portion of my boots would go inside the foot portion of his boots.  I’ll tell you why.

Last ice fishing season caught me off guard.  When it finally came on it was very clear ice and very slick ice as well.  Fall down slick as a matter of fact and as I age I can’t afford to be falling.  So during the season I broke out the pocket book and bought a pair of ice gripping slip on things that stretch and go over my winter boots.  They work wonders.  But, if I didn’t have the kind of cash to lay out for that kind of thing I would have been SOL if you know what I mean.

So, with my brothers old boots, I cut the bottom of the foot part off with ice cleats in mind.

Today I saw where one of the local lakes was frozen enough that people were out on it fishing!  YEEEHAAAAA!  But again it is that very slick, no snow on top of ice and here again ice spikes of some sort are going to be a necessary item.

Back home I pulled out the old cut off boots and went to work.

I’m a scrounger most of the time and I had saved up some of those nylon straps that have a male and a female end to them and when you want to tie something down or wrap something up, you need a good strap to do it.  I figured those straps would be just the ticket for strapping some old boot bottoms to the bottoms of my ice fishing winter boots.

I first cut some strap width slits in strategic spots on each side of each of the boot bottoms (feet).  See the picture.

Notice how the slits are cut where the boot is reinforced?  That should give them some strength and afford them to last a few seasons.  The strap on the toe end will go across the toe of the winter boot, while the one in the middle will actually go around behind the back of the winter boot.

Once I had both of the feet loaded with the straps, I cut the straps off to accommodate winter boots of various sizes and/or tightness’ of how the straps are going to be hooked down to the winter boot.   If you take on this task to make your own be sure and leave some slack in the strap inside the foot so that the bottom of the winter boots can set right on top of the inside of the foot.

Finally, I drilled some regular old grabber screws straight down through the bottom of the foot and out the bottom.  After all something has to grip the ice right?  Today I only had 1 1/2 inch screws and they seem to be too long.  I’ll change them to one inch before I actually use them, but for this story I had to show you.

The longer screws actually look like they will work in the heal portion just fine, it’s the front ones that will need to be replaced.

Now let’s examine some of the details and I’ll explain why I did what I did.

The strap that will go around the back of the Winter Boot is placed higher than the one at the toe.  That is to allow the winter boot some movement in the foot even though the strap itself is resting right on top of the inside of the foot.  The toe strap is cut right at the inside of the foot so that the winter boot will set right on top of it and the bottom of the foot at the same time.  Notice too I cut the foot with two little tabs at the back side.  Those are to facilitate pulling up on the foot, making it easier to get over the winter boot.

Number of screws?  Well this is still in the experimental stage, but I put three in the heal and 5 in the toe area.  My thoughts are that when you step out on the ice, your heal will hit first and you don’t want a whole bunch of screw points hitting the ice which might cause you to actually slip worse.  And with slipping in mind, you don’t want too few screw points in contact with the ice at the front of the foot, as you extent your stride and cause your rearward foot to slip backward.  I intentionally put one screw in the middle and forward of the other four screws in the toe end.

So, without actually testing these on real ice, I think they are going to work just fine.  I hope to get out and try them just after Christmas, like next Wednesday.  I’ll post up the results positive or negative.  As I was putting them together I thought of other positive things about these cleats.  The biggest thing I thought of was that they will offer another layer between the bottom of my foot and the cold ice underneath.  It should help to keep my feet a little warmer.

Bears Butt

Dec. 23, 2012

Written on December 23rd, 2012 , Uncategorized

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Just some of my old stories, new stories, and in general what is going on in my life.