Wade Fishing Essentials

By: J.Dean

Wade fishing has really exploded over the past few years. There's something about slipping into the water and becoming "one" with creation, it's therapeutic in more ways than one. And for those that like to live a little faster, there's nothing like stepping off dry land and becoming part of the food chain. But I imagine one of the biggest reasons people wade fish would be stealth.
If you're looking to jump in then there are few things you'll need to know before you head to the coast.

If you plan to wade in the colder months you'll need a good pair of waders. There are a lot of different brands available and I definitely have a preference but the most important thing to consider when shopping for waders is how they fit. You'll want them to fit snug, and you'll want to wear a belt. If for some reason you go down, this will prevent them from filling with water and becoming an anchor. For the colder months you might consider neoprene waders to help keep warm. In the warmer months waders aren't really necessary, but if you prefer to wear them I'd recommend a good pair of breathable waders to help stay cool.

If you choose not to wear waders in the warmer months you will most likely want to invest in a good pair of wading shoes. An old pair of sneakers will work just fine but be sure they are high tops. You will be wading through mud and shell at some point and need something that won't get pulled off your feet, and will withstand the sharp edges of the shell.

You'll also want to consider a wading belt to carry your gear. And again there are many different brands and options available. Some things to consider when choosing a wading belt are fit and storage. Wading can take its toll after several hours; you'll want to be as comfortable as possible, so choose a belt that fits well. Some are even designed to offer back support, and after a couple of long days on the water you will understand why.

You'll also need to carry extra tackle. Get a belt that has a storage compartment attached. A lot of them come as a package deal, they include things such as pliers and a stringer, and various other items that you'll need while wading.

You'll want a long stringer. I use a 10' stringer when I decide to keep a few for the frying pan. The reason is, if I encounter a shark that wants to eat the fish on my stringer, then I'll want those fish as far away from me as possible. And although it's rare, it does happen.

I also carry a small dip net while wading to help land the fish, it's not always necessary but will definitely come in handy in a pinch.

Remember to slide your feet along the bottom, also know as the sting ray shuffle. To prevent yourself from stepping on the back of an unsuspecting sting ray and getting stuck. And as you move through the water, remember to take it nice and slow to avoid making too much noise. Remember, even if you can't hear yourself, the fish can. So take it easy to avoid spooking them.

These are just tips but should be a good starting point for anyone looking to "think outside the boat".

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