Pro Tips: How to Become a Stronger Wader Through Balance Training

Written by: Brew Moscarello, Vew-Do Balance Boards

Brew Moscarello practices his casting and his balance skills at the same time.
Photos by Aiden Moscarello

[Editor’s note: I’ve been running into Brew Moscarello on the Battenkill for years, and we recently got to talking about the importance of balance when it comes to wading. I firmly believe that my bi-weekly soccer games help to keep me upright in tough wading situations, and Brew allowed how he has counteracted the effects of age through balance training. So I asked him to write something about the subject for the blog.]

Stepping over slippery, rounded rocks requires constant adjustments in your balance.

Since my earliest memories, I’ve had a passion for fly fishing. I believe the endless search for 20-plus-inch browns holding tight to the bank sipping spinners is in my DNA, and for me, it’s as much about the hunt as it is the take. It’s this pursuit that drives me to the far reaches of secluded pools and runs, which often requires nimble navigation over moss-covered bowling-ball-shaped rocks. We all know that wary native browns require a well-balanced, stealthy approach, but perhaps none moreso than on my home waters of the infamous Battenkill in southwestern Vermont. If you’re going to maintain your balance on an uneven streambottom well enough to sneak up on one of these trout, you must be a strong wader.

Brew casts to a bank-hugging brown on the Battenkill in Arlington, Vermont.

Believe it or not, I am actually in the business of balance. Over twenty-five years ago, I founded Vew-Do Balance Boards and have since helped countless athletes and non-athletes alike identify, strengthen, and improve their overall balance skills. As a long-time fly fisherman, I find the benefits of regular balance training equally as applicable to fly fishing as they are to snowboarding. The game of balance is the same regardless of your activity. Balance is like any other muscle in the body–“If you don’t use it, you lose it”–and this is certainly the case when trying to keep from tumbling dangerously into rapidly moving water while attempting to position yourself for that perfect drag-free drift. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve relied on my refined balance instincts to save my butt from the drink.

Brew recommends the Nub Balance Trainer for anglers who want to work on their balance.

So before your next river journey, I highly recommend you spend a few minutes each day refining your fly fishing balance skills through regular balance training. There are lots of exercises that will help with this, and you can find a plethora of videos on youtube, like the one below. I, of course, use a balance board, and if you want to go that route, check out the trout-inspired graphics of the Nub Balance Trainer. At no more than a half inch off the ground, the Nub Balance Trainer makes balance training fun and accessible to anyone, regardless of age or ability.

2 thoughts on “Pro Tips: How to Become a Stronger Wader Through Balance Training”

  1. Inflatable Balance disks work pretty well too to achieve better balance. Or just become an Ice hockey goalie. We have to have amazing balance:). Kinda crazy how many goalies I know fly fish.

    1. I used to play goalie and I fly fish. Unfortunately, I fall a lot while wading. I guess those years in net haven’t paid off for me. Thank god for that old ski pole I use as a wading staff.

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