Wading is not for every one
Austin Smith begrudgingly struggled with his waders while his youngest son, B.J., slipped over the side of the boat and his eldest son, Lon, repeatedly assured him that he was going to enjoy his first attempt at wading.We could not have asked for better conditions, but Austin could have cared less.
“Waders were made for duck hunting and boats were made for fishing,” declared Smith.With both boys already in the water and casting, I helped him untwist his suspenders while explaining in general how all of this wade fishing stuff worked.“Don’t bother to get too detailed,” he barked while digging for the ringing cell phone buried somewhere deep inside his waders.“I could catch a state record trout and this will still be my one and only wade trip!”
We slowly headed in the opposite directions of his sons and it was immediately apparent that while he had no use for the wading approach it was not his first rodeo.His third cast with a Geaux Daley She Dog produced a classic blow up and he wasted no time bringing a fat three pound trout to hand.“Are we going to keep these nasty things,” he shouted in the direction of his two sons.
He strung the fish and I noticed the first hint of a smile all morning.“I am a flounder fisherman,” he stated in mid-cast.“The boys are home from college and we have been wearing the flounder out all week.I lost my bet on the Saints this weekend and here we are slopping around in this mud.They couldn’t be happier.”
Wade fishing is obviously not for everyone and the elder Smith is at the head of that list.He is fifty-one years old, has fished the Louisiana coast his entire life and has never seen any need to get wet to catch fish.We just caught the heck out of the trout all evening long while he spent the majority of that time sitting on the bow of the boat taunting his sons.
“It’s really not as bad as I thought it would be……its worse,” he whispered while I was cleaning their fish at the end of the day.“I got out of the water early because I had a leak in my left leg and my right boot was rubbing a blister on the inside of my ankle, but I enjoyed watching the boys.”
I saw him toss his waders in the dumpster as they headed for the truck leaving little doubt that he had no intention of ever wading or betting on the Saints again.
In all honesty I do not wade so much because I enjoy it as because I am convinced that it affords me the best opportunity of catching more big trout than any other approach.Talons and Power Poles have narrowed the gap for boaters, but there is no substitute for standing in one spot and quietly making repeated casts to an isolated piece of structure.
Many times there is actually no designated target, but simply eliminating boat noise and the vibration off the troll motor propeller makes the elite of the species far less wary.Perhaps even more important is the fact that you do not scatter the pods of baitfish that lead your prey into casting range.
Regardless of your choice of tackle and lures, you cannot stay focused very long if you are exceedingly cold or your feet hurt.Maintaining your balance and carefully negotiating a muddy uneven bottom quickly takes its toll when wearing waders that do not fit properly.Some prefer boot waders and other prefer stocking waders that necessitate wearing a shoe or boot as well.
Either way, you need a sole that is wide enough to provide a comfortable base and a shoe or boot that does not slip or bind when you walk.Unfortunately, it is difficult to determine that by simply walking around in the department store.
The fabric of the waders is also critical.For years we wore nothing but neoprene, but the thinner breathables are far superior and much more comfortable.They are thinner and far more flexible and dressing in layers will solve the warmth issue.You can pretty much pay whatever your checking account can handle for a quality pair of waders.
I was talking with two of the best wade fishermen on Sabine last weekend and while they spend a great deal of time wading together, they are on opposite ends of the spectrum as far as the cost of waders. You can find decent waders that may or may not leak over the course of a year or possibly two depending on use for as low as $100 to $150.At some point, however, they are going to develop a leak.
At the other end of that scale are the Simms waders.I have never been able to justify buying a pair, but they carry a fantastic guarantee, are extremely comfortable and are well worth the extra money for anyone that spends as much time in the water as they do in the boat.Their best wader sells for somewhere around $800.
This is absolutely the best time of the year to decide if wading is for you.I would recommend making your first trip with someone that knows the ropes.Obviously there is more to it than simply dressing right, but that certainly helps you keep your mind on those other things.
And……pack an extra change of dry clothes. Even an $800 pair of waders won’t keep you dry should you misstep and take a bone chilling spill!