Fishpond Slippery Rock Pro Wading Staff
by John V.
Slippery Rock Pro
After recently moving to Southern California this summer I found myself in need of a good wading staff. The local rivers and stream beds are mostly softball to basketball sized rocks nice round and smooth. It is like walking on butter covered marbles.
I was using a folding type (Folstaff knockoff) wading staff and I had several moments when the tip sections became lodged snugly between rocks and when I pulled the staff up, the internal bungee cord would stretch and the sections of the staff would come apart. If I lost my balance on the slick rocks and needed to immediately put weight on the wading staff it would fold up on the lower sections. Twice this bruised my butt and pride when I found myself laying on my back in the shallow stream.
I spent some time at a couple of local fly shops checking out other options. I liked the Simms wading staff for it's compactness for traveling, storage, on-belt holster to carry the staff when not needed, and the ability to lock the sections together to make an essentially single piece wading staff. The price was kind of hard to swallow so I kept looking.
Then I came across the Fishpond Slippery Rock Pro wading staff. The foam grip feels great in the hand, the large cork knob on top of the grip also is nice for palming the grip for extra leverage. The cork knob is also removable and a standard camera tripod stud is there for using as a monopod for photography. The cork knob also provides enough flotation to prevent the staff from sinking if dropped in the water.
The staff is telescopic. It is made of three aluminum sections that twist to lock and unlock. I like the fact that I can adjust the length of the staff for the terrain or stream. For me this feature is much appreciated over the fixed length foldable wading staffs.
One of the coolest features is the rubber foot. It is nice and quiet as compared to banging a hard carbide point on every rock in the stream. The rubber foot has a 1/4 turn lock and you can choose between solid rubber foot, carbide point, or spring loaded rubber foot that retracts when enough pressure is applied to expose the carbide tip.
Now for the down sides of this particular wading staff:
1. It is slightly heavier than some of the wading staffs on the market.
2. It is 29.5 inches long when completely collapsed.
3. You really need a good retractor for this wading staff. I am using the Gear Keeper large net retractor with the cord lock. Because this staff is longer than the folding type, there is no provision for a belt holster. The retractor keeps the staff in easy reach and out of the way when not needed. There is no provision to attach the retractor cable to the staff. I used a short piece of 550 paracord to attach the retractor cable to the wrist strap. I am seriously considering adding a small grommet into the wrist strap to attach the retractor to the staff.
4. This is not an emergency rapid deployment piece of gear. You have to manually extend and lock the sections before use.
This is proving to be an excellent piece of equipment that I have come to rely on for each outing. I read somewhere that if you fall down in a waist deep river you just get wet; if you fall down in ankle deep streams, you break bones. The use of this staff has prevented more than one fall for me. I have even used it to keep a 3 foot rattlesnake at bay while hiking along the stream bank the other day.
Walk softly and carry a long stick. - Teddy Roosevelt (almost)
Tenkara has no strict rules. Enjoy tenkara in your own way.
- Eiji Yamakawa
“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is forgotten” – Benjamin Franklin