Waders: Caddis Wading Systems
Article by Melissa Norris
Photos by Seasonal Marketing
If you’re in the fishing industry then you probably know Mike Myers, a name synonymous with waders and wading product manufacturing. For over 40 years Mike has been a leader in sales and manufacturing of waders, wading boots and wading jackets for anglers worldwide. Mike started as a manufacturer’s representative for Hodgman waders, which led him to where he is today–the owner and operator of Seasonal Marketing Inc., the manufacturing company that makes and markets Caddis Wading Systems and Waterfowl Wading Systems.
Mike is the chief designer and developer of their waders and wading products. As an avid fisherman and waterfowl hunter, Mike’s observations, along with trusted employees and field testers, steer the product development. Helping him run their company is his wife, Barbara Myers, also an active outdoor enthusiast, who acts as their company President and COO. Mike is the Chairman of the Board and CEO. Each is acclaimed in their field of choice and each is recognized for their contributions in business. They try to spend as much time in the field as they do in the office and have trudged across Alaskan peat bogs, navigated algae-infested waterways, and sat in duck blinds for many a December day. They fish at home in Oregon and travel to fish in upstate New York, various places in Alaska, and more.
15 years ago Mike sought to produce a high-quality wader line with products set at competitive price points yet still rich in features. Today their staff of seven is doing exactly that. Caddis Waders was introduced at the Worldwide Distributor Trade Show in February of 2006 displaying three pairs of waders and two wading shoe designs. The categories fell into a good, better and best assortment approach that is still the cornerstone concept of the brand today.
There are several factors that set Caddis apart from the competition. First, they have what they believe is the most affordable, highest-quality wader on the market with the lowest defect rate. Every wader they sell is water tested under pressure to ensure no initial leaks are present when the products go out the door. Most of their breathable waders are lightweight, using their 3-ply construction CaddisDry fabric, each with perfectly sealed seams that are all stitched, glued and taped. In fact, on all waders with a neoprene stockingfoot the seams are double taped and sealed both inside and outside the foot for maximum durability. Caddis Systems really strives for those low return rates. In their winter wading series they use similar technology, but with a fabric three times heavier.
The second differentiating factor is the level of innovation you will see in Caddis’s product development. Some may think that a wader is just a wader, but when you spend as much time wearing waders as Mike and his team do, new ideas emerge.
A third demarcating factor is that Caddis waders are offered in standard or stout sizes for men, standard or queen sizes for women, and youth sizing.
Fourth, their customer service is top notch. They are proud of the thank-you notes and feedback they’ve received from customers over the years. These four points set Caddis apart from the others, but perhaps most notable is that they are able to do all this and yet still offer their waders and wading products at a reasonable price. Their recipe is to keep things simple and to buy their proprietary fabric in large quantities and pass that savings on to the consumer.
In the early years, Seasonal Marketing grew their Caddis Wader line at a significant rate and since then they’ve earned their reputation for quality and customer service, which is where they place their business focus. While they started with just a few waders and boots, they’ve since grown an extensive line including breathable waders as well as neoprene styles for men, women and youth. They have various models with stockingfoot or bootfoot options. They make both fishing and hunting waders, wading jackets, wading boots, vests, and a slew of wader accessories. Caddis’s best-selling fishing items today include the CA5900W series Neoprene Stockingfoot waders in their “good” quality selection; the CA9900W series breathable Stockingfoot waders in their “better” quality selection; and the CA12900W series Deluxe Breathable Stockingfoot waders in their “best” quality selection.
On the hunting side the brand is labeled Waterfowl Wading Systems by Caddis, each featuring the Realtree Max-5 camo pattern. Their good, better, and best most-purchased items on the hunting side are the WFW10900W series 3.5 mm Neoprene Max-5 Bootfoot waders, WFW21900W series 5 mm Durastretch Max-5 Bootfoot waders, and the WFW24900W series HD Breathable Max-5 Bootfoot waders, respectively. One innovation in their hunting assortment includes a hybrid wader where above the waist is their CaddisDry breathable material while below the waist the wader is constructed of their high-density neoprene. It’s the best of both worlds because the waders provide the necessary warmth and protection while also letting air flow in the upper body region. Each has a built-in bootfoot made with either 1000- or 1200-gram Thinsulate and features their new all-weather, all-terrain sole that looks like it’s going to perform well.
In addition to waders, Caddis produces a line of wading boots, some with their environmentally friendly, felt-free EcoSmart ll sole option. Their Northern Guide Ultralite and Explorer wading shoes are each available in women’s sizing. We appreciate that Caddis makes products suitable for the whole family since in Alaska it’s often a family affair. One of Caddis’s most iconic products are the women’s waders that come in either pink or teal. I don’t know if they are the best-selling women’s wader on the market, but they are certainly seen frequently, sprinkled along the banks adorning women anglers on the rivers in Alaska. We are especially excited about the new youth sizing in their Max-5 2-ply camouflage chest waders for 2020, which will be highly useful for Alaskan kids.
For the last 15 years the leaders at Caddis Wading Systems have been “eyes wide open” on the fishing industry while they change and evolve with the economy as well as the needs of anglers all over the country. You can’t miss Caddis’s nicely boxed waders found in sporting goods stores across Alaska, the West Coast and around the country. The latest trend from younger, upcoming fishing enthusiasts is a demand for a higher-end, good-looking, feature-rich wader and that is exactly what is in the works with our friends at Caddis. We will be sure to bring those to your attention in a future issue of Fish Alaska.
Melissa Norris is Publisher of Fish Alaska and Hunt Alaska magazines since their inception in 2001. She is grateful for the long-term partnership they have had with people like Mike Myers from quality brands like Caddis.
This article originally appeared as the Alaska Traveler column titled ‘Caddis Waders’ in the April 2020 issue of Fish Alaska.