Wadefishing is a very popular method of fishing throughout the middle and lower coasts of Texas. It is done in areas where concentrations of fish are high and the bottom structure is favorable for walking, such as hard sand or a shell reef. It can be done with bait or lures, although lures are usually more conducive for this type of angling. Equipment includes the usual rod and reel, a wade belt to hold your extra tackle, a stringer if you plan to keep fish, and a rod holder. Redfish Lodge supplies all of these items if you elect to wade during your stay. If the water is cold, waders should also be on your accessory list; They will keep you warm and dry, yet are comfortable enough to walk around in. In the warmer months, a pair of wade boots or old sneakers will do.
Wadefishing offers many benefits over fishing from a boat. The first and foremost is exercise. Walking is great to keep you fit and help you lose weight, while being good for the knees and back because of the slow pace and the fact that a great deal of your body weight is being supported by water. Best of all, it is a one-way trip and your guide will bring the boat to you when the wade is over.
The fishing benefits are numerous, starting with the ability to control your pace. If there are a lot of fish, you can stop and cast repetitively. If the fish are scattered and infrequent, move faster to an area of higher concentration. This eliminates drifting quickly over a big school of hungry fish in the boat or anchoring just short of a hot spot. Also, wading is much quieter than fishing from a boat. The slap of the water on the hull and the sound of feet on the deck alert fish, especially big fish, to your presence and make them more reluctant to strike. Walking quietly can put you in casting range of the fish without them knowing you are there. This is the number one reason that most trophy specks are caught while wading. A group of three to four waders can cover a wider swath of water down a shoreline or reef that can the same group of fishermen from a boat. This improves your odds of finding the fish and concentrating your efforts where they are feeding. Seeing a school of feeding redfish while you are wading allows you to stay within casting distance of them indefinitely, even if they are moving across a shallow sandbar or into the wind as most feeding reds do.
Water temperatures typically range from five to fifteen degrees cooler in the water than in the air. For much of the Texas summer being in 80 degree water feels a lot better that being on a 93 degree boat. The peace and solitude of a wade, just you and the fish, is a great way to enjoy the quiet and watch the birds and wildlife. Plus, there is a satisfaction in knowing that you beat a fish on his own turf and in his own element. Until you have caught your first big red or gotten your hand on that monster speck while you are in the water with them, you will not understand. And once you have caught that fish, you will not understand why anyone would want to stand in a boat.
Some people view wadefishing with trepidation for a couple of reasons. The first is usually stingrays. If you heed the advice of your guide and do the “stingray shuffle,” this concern is all but eliminated. A stingray has to be pinned to the bottom by your foot before he becomes dangerous. Otherwise, they are very docile and shy animals. If you slide your feet along the bottom it is impossible to step on a ray, and therefore impossible to get stung. If you still feel uneasy, get a pair of stingray proof wade boots from your local tackle store and worry no more.
Vibrio is another hot topic in the news lately that keeps unapprised people out of the water. It is a virus that lives in saltwater environments and can be fatal to humans. The strain that is found in Texas favors hot water over 82 degrees, which only happens for a short time during the summer. If you do come in contact with the virus, it needs a breech in your skin to enter your body. If it does enter your body, a normal immune system is perfectly capable of destroying the virus before you know you have it. If you do contract it, you will show symptoms in only a few hours. Go to the hospital immediately, tell them the circumstances, and IV antibiotics and hospital observation will generally clear it up. If you are elderly, overweight, have a circulatory immune disorder, or a large open wound you may want to pass on the wadefishing or wear breatheable waders even in the warmer water. Overall, your chances of being hit and dying from the common flu virus are far greater than dying from vibrio. The odds are stacked in your favor.
If you think you may want to try wadefishing during your trip to Redfish Lodge, let us know in advance and we will have a guide and gear specially prepared for you. You will quickly see that all of your questions will be answered, your hesitation eased, and your fishing rod bent. Give it a try, you’ll love it!