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Fins, yes or no....


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#1 brannon67

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 02:04 PM

How many of you guys actually use fins when you snorkel creeks, rivers, etc? Do you find that fins get in the way, stir up the bottom to much, etc?

#2 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 06:41 PM

That's a good question. I've been recently bothered by my old fins.

First, in strong current, you gotta have the fins. I don't drift down, I go against the current. The majority of the work goes to my arms but I get to places where I need to power through. I also carry nets, not cameras. Sometimes my pursuit of fish requires both hands and to the extent I'm not clinging for dear life with my knees clamped around a boulder, I power through with the fins.
My problem is the fins I used for so many years were acquired when I was a bit of a younger man. Seems the fins are a bit too aggressive for the strong current on my slightly aged legs. It's not fatigue that gets me but whopper Charlie Horses that would prolly drown me if I was far from shore. Sometimes they hit hours later when I'm driving home on the highway. Very very painful.

#3 Michael Wolfe

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 07:06 PM

I don't use fins ever regardless of current. In creeks or rivers, I can almost always touch the bottom if I have to, and in high current situations, there are always rocks and such to brace myself against (at least that is the habitat that I am usually in).

I agree that I do not often let myself drift with the current and usually work my way upstream, but do so more my pulling myself along the bottom with my hands than by swimming with my feet.

You asked "how many of you guys" and I would answer that question by saying about 80% of all the river snorkelers I see are wearing boots or shoes of some type, not fins.
Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing. - Benjamin Franklin

#4 Guest_don212_*

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 10:55 PM

depends on the stream, and what you're carrying, can you use your hands to pull, or do you have a camera, are there stones large enough to push off on, how deep , how strong the current?

#5 Guest_trygon_*

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Posted 12 November 2014 - 11:19 PM

I use fins more often than not, but I've been using fins to move through the water since before I was a teenager and it feels weird to be in the water without them. I base my fin usage on three primary criteria, current, depth and substrate. If the water is fast, waist deep or deeper and has more sand than rocks I'll wear my fins; slow, shallow and rocky maybe no fins, if in doubt I wear fins. If I'm not wearing my fins I have them clipped off on my weight belt so that if I need them I'll have them; I wear rock boots which are kind of like wading boots, but are designed for scuba divers. I usually don't have any problem silting up my immediate area because I frog kick when I find a photo subject or find a way to get my fins downstream or across the current.

I always have my camera with me and one hand is always tied up so I use the other hand and my knees (I wear knee pads to protect my wetsuit) to pull myself upstream or brace myself downstream; often I'll use my fins to hold myself stationary against the current if it's not too swift. Mostly I use my fins to force my head and torso to the bottom so that I can get my camera on the fish's level. Yes it takes some leg strength to snorkel the way I do so I put in some gym time, 30+ miles a week on a stationary bike, weights year round and many kilometers swimming with drogue shorts over the winter.

You asked "how many of you guys", and Michael is probably correct in saying 80% don't. But I say who cares what others do or wear. Try snorkeling with fins and without then decide what's best for you and the conditions you will be snorkeling in, remember safety first.

#6 Guest_FirstChAoS_*

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 08:10 AM

I wear fins but have wondered if I should myself. They help in current and upstream travel, but I usually stick to slower water where I crawl along the bottom. They are difficult to walk in, but mainly wear them to have something protecting my feet as I am unsure if my water shoes (muck boots) could be swam in ok or not.

#7 littlen

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 08:24 AM

I see myself as a 6', 200lb. hellbender dragging itself upstream against the current--without the use of fins. A majority of the water I'm in is a foot or less deep. Deeper water typically has footholds where fins would make it difficult to wedge ones foot in between rocks. But I agree--try with and without fins. I'm sure there are going to be situations where fins have their advantages. It all depends what kinds of things you're doing in the stream. If you want to sit and monitor/photograph fish or casually meander up and downstream to quickly look at fish.
Nick L.

#8 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 08:47 AM

Where and what obviously matter. In small streams, I'm usually looking for arrowheads, not fish. I move across the bottom quicker, no stalking, and cross open spots fast. For that fins all the way.

My fish stalking tends to be in saltwater, in spots where current is frankly a lot stronger and scarier than the average stream crawler. If my grip slips off the boulder, I'm 50 yards offshore before I turn around. For that, obviously, fins are personal safety devices. I also snorkel lots of vertical walls where I cling with only one hand and nothing beneath me. Fins aid greatly moving one handed against the tide.

One thing I encounter that may not fit here exactly....
In searching for the perfect spot for tropical strays, I have in the past attempted to survey areas designated "No Swimming". Also, I have encountered the issue of the need for a "Dive Flag" while snorkeling. A dive flag restricts the movements of nearby boats and snorkeling is discouraged, at least flags are, in areas where boats need to go.
The answer that has worked for me - No Fins. Seems in the eyes of the [offseason] harbormaster and local boaters, if you're wearing fins, obviously you're swimming and need a flag.
If you're wading in boots, even wearing a face mask, peering into the water, you're looking for bait or something and more likely to be ignored.
I wear my wading shoes and wade more in those spots but I still lay down and slither under the boulders to chase the butterflies.

#9 Isaac Szabo

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 08:47 AM

I'm a hellbender like Nick and Michael. I never use fins. I'm usually crawling along the bottom in shallow water while wearing a heavy weight belt (negative buoyancy). This limits me to shallow water, though. I need to try using fins and a lighter weight belt (neutral buoyancy) for deeper water. I think this is what Bryce does. It could open up some new areas for me.

#10 Guest_mikez_*

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 09:38 AM

Assumed we're all wearing wetsuits so if the water's more than elbow deep [laying down], we're also wearing some weight.

I weight slightly negative to snorkel/net. Nothing is more frustrating than fighting your wetsuit when you got a hot fish in sight.
Again, I might get whisked out to sea in a heart beat. Don't want to be fighting my weightbelt without swimfins [sure ain't gonna dump it].

#11 brannon67

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Posted 13 November 2014 - 09:42 AM

If Im in a shallow creek I usually dont wear fins, but If im in a deeper spring, and then mayby go up a shallow spring run, I will wear fins. If Im crawling along the bottom of a creek and holding on to rocks, no fins, so it all depends on where I am, and what I am doing at the time....

#12 exasperatus2002

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Posted 30 December 2014 - 02:58 PM

I have fins but rarely use them. My local waters aren't deep enough to warrant them.


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