I know what you’re thinking. What kind of fanatical fishing nut wades waist to chest deep, during a time of year, when the water temperatures can drop as low as 45 degrees. The answer is – the kind of nut who stalks the shorelines hunting for big double digit speckled trout. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying those of us who participate in this sport have an over abundance of intelligence, but with the right gear, a good bit of knowledge about the fish and the area, and a little luck and tenacity we will come up with the big fish you stay-at-homes will be reading about in the papers. Now for those of you who might be interested in joining such an exclusive club, there are a few pieces of equipment you must have. Texas Saltwater Fishing ReportFirst and foremost are a good set of 3 to 5 millimeter neoprene waders. These can be found at almost any sporting goods store and range in price from $70 to as high as $200 depending on the store and brand. Your waders will keep you dry and because of the neoprene’s natural insulation, help keep you warm. There is one decision you will have to make when purchasing your waders. Whether to get boot footed or stocking footed waders. For all practical purposes the stocking foot are usually cheaper and even after buying the boos or shoes to go over them you will still come out ahead. The boot foot waders, which I happen to own, can be heavier, but as in the ase with my Hodgeman waders, they usually come up a little higher on the body. This is not that important for wading the shallows, but when you head into slightly deeper waters it can make a major difference. An added trick, at this point, is get yourself a light water proof rain jacket, with a zipper not snaps, to wear over the top of your waders. Once you have the jacket on, put on your wading belt. This will help keep everything dry and protected from the wind that is not covered by the waders. Underneath your waders is something everyone who hunts or fishes in Texas has always heard about, but few understand. Layered clothing. What this means is to several layers of light weight clothing instead of one or two layers of thick heavy stuff. The reason is simple, no matter how cold it may be in the morning, it can always warm up in the afternoon. The layered effect gives you the option of removing some enough clothing to remain warm without becoming hot. A good example might be starting off with a t-shirt, adding a long sleeved cotton shirt, next put on a light weight sweater, and finally, top this off with a light weight jacket and you’re ready to go. There is one other thing that a winter wader should not venture into the water without. A good cap or hat can make the difference whether you’re warm enough or not. Some of the better gimme caps wil work fine, but stay away from the net versions. The whole purpose of a cap, in winter asspects, is to help trap body heat within the body. The net versions allow body to escape, which is great in summer heat, but during the winter, especially when standing waist deep in cold water, we want to retain as much body heat as possible. Gloves are an option. There are a few neoprene styles on the market which have fingers cut out or allow individual fingers to fold back and they will keep your hands warm. But I’ve tried several of these and find all of them to uncomfortable to wear when casting and they can cost you some feeling as far as sesibility. One other piece of equipment that can be important on certain days and just get in the way on others is a good pair of polarized sunglasses. On those crystal clear days after a front has blown the cloud cover away there is nothing nicer than to have a pair of sunglasses sitting on yoour nose. On those days when you know you’re not going to see the sun for anoher few months they just get in the way. But, just to remind you once again, this is Texas we’re talking about and I’m sure you all remember the old saysing, “If you don’t like the weather just wait a few minutes and it’ll change.” There is no doubt that this is the time of year to start hunting big speckled trout, but remember, the best rod, reel, and line won’t do you a bit of good if you’re shivering from the cold. So take the advice from someone who has done it both ways, the warmer you are the more fun you’ll have and the more fish you’ll catch.

– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide