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Wading – 101


Types of Fishing

There are a number of different types of fishing that people enjoy every day, somewhere. Some folks fly fish many of the great rivers in our country for some of the greatest trout fishing one can find.

Others have fun trolling many of the deeper lakes of the nation for northern pike and walleye. But when it comes to fishing the coastal regions of Texas, anglers may practice any of a number of different methods of fishing.

Some fish out of their boat while either drifting or while at anchor. Others fish from a pier, the edge of the bank, or directly from the beach along the surf. For each of the different styles of fishing, anglers must consider an equal number of factors as they strive to be successful—and safe at the same time.

In wade fishing, coastal anglers will almost certainly face challenges at some point. Just like the guys who fish the northern rivers for steelheads have rocks, holes, and swift moving water to worry about, we have our own list of hurdles we must clear.

There’s deep mud, sharp shell, thick grass, drop-offs, and any of a number of other unforeseen underwater obstacles that we have to contend with. And let’s not forget about the constant threat of stepping on an unsuspecting stingray.




It’s for that reason alone that anglers should always wear, at minimum, a pair of stingray guards over the outside of whatever wading boots they wear.

Some anglers probably find the fully outfitted stingray boots to be a bit pricy, but they’re much cheaper than an emergency room visit or hospital stay—not to mention the pain, incurred by being hit in the foot or calf by a flying stingray barb.

When wearing chest-waders, anglers should consider a belt to be a mandatory piece of equipment. If you were to lose your balance and fall to your knees or, heaven forbid, fall out of a moving boat while wearing chest-waders, having a belt on around your waist would greatly slow the influx of unwanted water.

In August a wading belt takes on different meaning, as a belt is not used as a safety feature to keep water out of our chest-waders because we’re not wearing chest-waders now. Instead, the summertime use of a wading belt now serves to attach ourselves to a number of different wading tools – net, stringer, fish basket, live-bait bucket, tackle box, etc.


Tips and Technique

When you exit the boat to begin a wading session, remind yourself to move slowly. This can be important for a number of reasons.

The obvious reason is that it is safer to take your time by going slow, because moving at a moderate speed allows you to drag your feet on every step as you work to keep a constant lookout for any sudden holes, obstacles, or marine life that could present a risk of falling.

From the fishing perspective, slow generally means quiet. Being quiet is a good thing when wading to avoid spooking any nearby game fish. Taking your time as you wade also allows you to fully observe wind, water, and bait conditions in the immediate area. This helps you to better familiarize yourself with your surroundings if you’re wading in a new location.

If you have an option, choose the type of bottom you wade across based upon your knowledge of the area and your individual level of wading experience. Sand and shell bottoms usually provide a safe and a rather secure footing for wading anglers.

Mud bottoms, on the other hand, often present new challenges. First, mud in itself can be very slick, especially in the event you step into mud and you don’t happen to sink to your knees. This sinking to your knees in most mud instances means difficulty in walking.

As your leg becomes encompassed with mud, a vacuum is created between the outer bottom sole of your wading boot and the surface of the mud directly beneath your foot. When this occurs, things can become extremely difficult for even the most advanced wade fisherman. If you are knowingly going to be wading in heavy mud, it is always a good idea to do so in the company of a partner.

One final recommendation to wading anglers who can’t swim is the importance of using a life jacket. In fact, wearing a life jacket isn’t a bad idea for any wading angler or boater. Tight lines to all, and we hope these tips help!