in order to maximize results when wading, an angler must wear the proper clothing, carry functional tools, and utilize an intelligent plan. i wear my hat and carry my shades in my pocket even when entering the water at the crack of dawn, so i won’t have to return to the boat once i need them. on the nippiest occasions, the wading angler will need more than a pair of waders to keep the chill from creeping in and ruining the fishing. in a cold-weather wader’s wardrobe, a properly designed jacket provides much needed protection from the wind and waves.
in addition to the most obvious need for a rod and reel, a wader must carry an assortment of other items. i wear a small belt for back support and place the sheath carrying my pliers on it. the fishing shirts i wear have a small loop riding on the inside edge of one of the front pockets. i employ a slick stringer with a sharp tip, and impale the tip into the float on my boga grip when keeping fish, since i don’t wear a belt designed specifically for wading. i’m a net hater, but others can certainly design a highly effective wading system which incorporates the use of a net.
when the fish are in water that’s barely ankle deep, stealth is critical, and that gives wade-fishers a big advantage. but there are a few things to know about being part of the wet-pants brigade. 1. get a good pair of wading booties such as the world wide sportsman flats boot. the above-the-ankle design keeps out sand and shell. (if you plan an all-day wading trip, it’s a good idea to wear socks inside the booties as an added protection against rubbing.) in an average day on the flats, you’ll be in and out of the water many times. 3. wear a vest such as the redington® clark fork mesh fly fishing vest to tote your extra gear, water and snacks. after you fish a given flat a few times, you’ll be able to pare down the necessary lures for that area.
the built-in boot foot means sand and shell can’t get inside as it sometimes does if you wear stocking-foot waders with wading boots over them. the only real defense for rays is to constantly do the “stingray shuffle,” keeping your feet very close to bottom as you ease along. rays are not aggressive, at all, so if you move slowly and stay alert, odds are minimal of getting stung. 6. in some areas sharks can be a hassle if you wade on the outside edge of the flats, anywhere there’s three feet of water or more. avoid them by not hanging fish on a stringer attached to your waist, by moving slowly, and keeping a sharp eye out. 8. move slowly and keep your eyes open for the slightest surface disturbance. frank sargeant is long-time outdoors editor of the tampa tribune and a senior writer for florida sportsman magazine as well as for b.a.s.s. he’s editor of the fishing wire and a regular contributor to boattest.com. his work has won over 60 national awards, including the asa homer circle fishing writer of the year award in 2011 and the national marine manufacturers…
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