Wadefishermen are a special breed of folks. We buy nice boats, just like everyone else, but for a different reason. For most anglers, their boat is their home away from home on the water. For the wadefisherman, a boat is just a method of transportation. It is used to get from the dock to a good wading spot and back to the dock. In fact, if you’re ever looking for a good deal on a boat, ask the seller if he is a wadefisherman. If he says yes, then the boat is most likely in excellent shape. After all, it probably hasn’t been used much. There are several reasons why wadefishing is so addictive to those few anglers who realize fishing is more than just catching fish. One of the first things I discovered, while wading the shallow flats of West Bay, was how relaxed it made me feel. To quote a much over used phrase, it made me feel like “one with nature”. I know how corny that sounds, but until you’ve been on the flats and watched as the sun rises over the horizon. Well, It just can’t be described. And just when you’re really getting into the nature thing, along comes a pod of mullet. As you watch them you notice they are nervously twitching back and forth and staying as close to one another as possible. You cast your favorite lure across the school, working it back through them until you feel the jolt of a trout or possibly a redfish mistaking your offering as something good to eat. Oh sure, you may catch more fish from a boat using live bait, but nothing matches the first high speed run of a trophy fish when you’re in the water with him. It flashes through your mind, with every strike, that this could be the wall-hanger you’ve been waiting for your whole life. And here you are, on his home turf, trying to out think him. A trophy speckled trout won’t allow you to make any mistakes. He’ll jump, shake his head, and make sizzling runs both away from and toward you. And all you can do is react to his actions. He’s the boss here. And no matter what you may think, when you’re standing in chest deep water the odds are a lot more in his favor than yours. There will be none of this chasing him with the boat when the line is slowly disappearing from your reel. No sir, it’s just you and the fish. And the great thing is that it doesn’t really matter who wins the battle, it truly is the fight itself that matters. I believe that wadefishermen, more than anyone, get the fullest enjoyment out of every fish they catch. The pre-dawn thrill of seeing the flat green surf or a calm clear bay may never be fully understood by anyone who hasn’t spent many hours wading a flat with nothing more to show than a minor sunburn and a never to be forgotten sunrise. Successful wading takes practice. Anyone can walk into any particular area and possibly catch a few fish, but a wader studies the area before committing his efforts. He’s looking for water movement, bait, and most of all how many anglers are already in the area. All these things are important to the serious wader. The water movement is needed so that fish will be in a feeding mode. The bait has to be there for them to eat and studying the bait will also tell the wader whether his prey is around. The lack of a crowd is important so that the bigger fish will stay in the area long enough to give the wader a chance at doing battle. If you really want to get into the sport of wadefishing, talk one of your friends into allowing you to make a trip with him. And don’t forget to ask him what you should or shouldn’t bring along. Each wader has his own set of lures that work best. He also has his own particular tools which make things better, safer, and more enjoyable. Don’t go on the trip if all you want to do is catch fish. Jay Watkins, a Rockport guide, once told me that many people never fully comprehend the whole fishing experience and I agree with him. Fishing, especially wading, is more than limits, it’s an experience that can become addicting.
– Texas Saltwater Fishing Guide