Tips and Tricks of Wade Fishing
Ethical Angling and Techniques
Ethical angling is part of this passion we call wade fishing. Most of the unwritten rules are nothing but common sense. Know the regulations in reference to the sizes, limits, and seasons, of the fish you catch. If you keep fish that are not within this criteria, it is poaching, plain and simple. Ignorance, is no excuse and it will not float when an individual from the FWC checks your catch.
Give other anglers room, there is absolutely no reason to post-up too close to other anglers. This rule includes other waders, yak anglers, and boats. If you want to approach another angler, make your intentions known and do not step into that anglers fishing area. Many anglers are out on the water for solitude, they may not be in the mood for a conversation.
If you are given the opportunity to fish with an experienced angler, do not go home after fishing and blow-up the spot on social media, just common sense. If you know these rules, you will have much better fishing experiences.
Before you leave the house, have all of your equipment and leave a “float plan” with a loved one. Check satellite imaging of your intended “hunting grounds”, look for the telltale signs of a good fishery. Flats with sea grass and potholes, deep drops, oyster beds, docks, and mangroves are just a few areas to target. When fishing a new flats area, be methodical use the positioning of a clock and attempt to cover as much area as possible. If you are fishing and are fairly deep, remember, there are fish between you and the shore, turn around and fish. When using artificials, try different speeds and depths.
Scouting different areas is always a learning experience. Fishing an area on both low and high tides will reveal areas and structure important to know for your next trip. Some areas are better at high tide, some are better at low tide. When you become familiar with these areas, you will not be restricted by tides. Situational awareness is very important, if you find a “honey hole” and don’t have a GPS, get a visual landmark so you can find that area next trip. If you have found a great spot, try to keep one leg stationary and use the other as a pivot foot, this will keep you in place to continue fishing the same spot.
Look for moving water, know the currents and which way to cast to catch predatory fish. Let your senses be your guide, visual and auditory clues are paramount in the wading game. Know which species follow other species ex. cobia following rays, reds mixed in with mullet. If you see bait, throw at it, that easy.
Do your homework and have the right equipment for inshore wade fishing. Remember, you do not have to break the bank to start “getting waist deep”. You can do all the research in the world, but nothing beats being on the water. Wade fishing is not easy, that is why it is so rewarding. This style of fishing it certainly not for everyone, but if it interests you, get out there and give it a try.
Thank you for reading this series, if you missed a segment, the Tampa Bay Fishing Club website will be posting it in its entirety under Paul’s Corner. I will leave you with some images that I have captured of other wade fishing anglers doing there thing. If you would like to see more of my work, hit me up on Facebook, I use my page as a blog. I also post when I am going wade fishing, I love teaching new anglers and making new friends. It has been my pleasure attempting to inform and entertain the new anglers out there……...tight lines!