For the Record

Capt. Chuck Uzzle

 

The big center console finally drifts to a stop in the early morning darkness as

the anchor rope comes tight. Solitary figures equipped with the latest gear that

would make a NAVY Seal jealous slide over the gunnels into the warm still water

and begin casting in all directions, probing the shallow flat for the fish of

their dreams. These anglers have achieved their goal of being at that special

place when the fish begin to feed, the scene is picture perfect and the plan has

no flaws. One hefty fish after another crushes the offerings of these anglers,

topwater plugs disappear in a foamy wash and that is followed by the sound of

line stripping off a reel. A successful wade is a thing of beauty, especially

when it’s shared with other anglers who understand what it takes to make it all

happen. You don’t just get to a spot and hop out expecting to catch fish,

there’s a little more to it than that.

Summer wade fishing is an excellent way to not only catch fish but to catch big

fish. Pre dawn excursions are the norm when the temperatures climb high and

thunderstorms pop up during the day at a moments notice. The lack of traffic on

the water combined with the cooler temperatures makes wading early and late

mighty productive. The well equipped wade fisherman can make this time on the

water more enjoyable as long as they are prepared. Besides the obvious stuff

like rod and reel, tackle, and pliers there are some other essentials that the

wader should never be without. Proper footwear is a must, sting ray guards or

ray proof boots should always be worn when wading during this time of the year.

Having a barb from a ray get lodged in your leg is a very dangerous and painful

experience so be sure to wear the guards or boots. Another couple of items you

don’t want to be without is some sort of light and a whistle. Both of these

items will help keep safe from other boat traffic in the dark as well as make it

easier to signal for help if needed.

Now probably the last thing any fisherman wants to find in the water swimming

around with them is a shark, wade fishermen deal with this much more often than

they realize because there are plenty of sharks. If you are going to wade you

need to be aware of a couple of things when dealing with sharks. When keeping

fish that you have caught be sure to put them on a longer stringer to get them

farther away from your body. Dragging dead or bleeding fish around behind you is

just an advertisement for sharks and believe me they will find your fish. Talk

with anyone who wades and more than likely they have a story about shark

stealing fish off of a stringer or taking the whole thing completely. There are

alternatives to stringers; the Do-Net is a Styrofoam float with a net in the

middle designed for carrying fish while wading. Other anglers like those on the

middle coast have resorted to making floating 5 gallon buckets using foam pool

toys to keep the sharks away. Whatever approach you choose be sure to pay close

attention and use common sense. Letting a shark take you stringer or a fish off

a lure is much cheaper than trying to fight it.

Well now that you are equipped to do battle you can head out on the water with a

better understanding of what it takes to make a safe and successful wade. Use

your time in the water to not only fish but to study the bottom in the areas you

fish because that will pay dividends in the future. By walking these areas you

can learn a great deal about the structure and what actually makes an area hold

fish. Get in the water and get with the program.