Wade Fishing Basics
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Although hardcore anglers keep fishing all winter long, the majority of saltwater fishermen are derailed to some extent by mutinous weather. After weeks of sharpening hooks, changing line, and cleaning reels, they are anxious to finally hit the water as the weather warms.
The one drawback during spring is the relentless wind. However, days when the wind lies a bit can provide excellent opportunities.
While high wind does cause some concern for the cast, whether with a fly or spinning rig and light jig, it creates a riffle on the surface that hinders a fish's ability to spot anglers. This surface riffle affords a window of opportunity to get within comfortable casting distance.
But, more often than not, this needs to be accomplished on foot. The tiny waves created by a gusting wind create so much hull slap that it is often impossible to pole a boat quietly enough to close the gap. It is best to stake out and go overboard.
The first couple weeks of spring are generally borderline "wet wading" weather. Water temps are still cool enough to be uncomfortable early and late in the day. In this instance a pair of lightweight, breathable waders are invaluable. Since these waders do not insulate, they can be comfortably worn without fear of dehydration via sweat. On the warmer or less windy days a pair of wading boots and quick-drying shorts or pants will get the job done.
When wading it is important to travel light, but carry all of the necessities. Pack all you care to in the boat, but when you get in the water keep it basic. A small box with a pair each of six lures or fly patterns should suffice. An extra leader and spool of tippet can be slipped in a shirt pocket. Forceps are lighter than needle nose pliers and work well to remove hooks or pinch down barbs. A pair of snips can be pinned with a retractable "zinger" within easy reach.
If fish are to be kept, a 15' stringer with a sizable float can be rolled and clipped to a belt until needed. Last but not least, a water bottle is always handy and makes a long wade more bearable.
It is important to remember that a productive wade need not be a death march. Stay in the boat until you are relatively sure that fish are in the area. Once such a flat is found, gear up, slip quietly over the side and work the area thoroughly. If done right, this is one instance where going overboard pays off.
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