Wade in and catch a fish

Wade Fishing Tips for the Texas Coastal Flats 

As the sun comes up across a Texas coastal flat, the silhouettes of coastal birds begin to slowly weave through the sky. The dedicated, early-rising wade-fisher walks along the surf, trying his luck. He’s seen a dolphin and caught a redfish already. It’s going to be a good morning — he can feel good luck quivering in the tip of his rod.

Wade-fishing the shallow flats of our Texas coast offers some noteworthy advantages over other forms of fishing, even more than the quiet beauty of a coastal sunrise.

Economically speaking, wade-fishing requires much less financial investment because there’s no boat, so no need for insurance, trailer or fuel. You have to carry your gear, so it’s simple by necessity. 

Keeping your feet in the water offers a more connected fishing experience. Walking through the flats brings you up-close to all kinds of natural wonders you’d miss speeding by in a boat. Find your own private area away from the crowds and really let the magic of the coast wash over you. 

Wading is a low-cost entry into fishing

Red drum, spotted seatrout, black drum, flounder and ladyfish are some of the most popular species, but the coastal bounty is widely varied. There’s no shortage of land available for this sport, with hundreds of miles of accessible coastline and acres and acres of shallow coastal flats to walk.

Equipment you’ll need
·     Waders and/or wade shoes. When water temperatures are low, you’ll need good waders. Some anglers still wear waders in the summer, just for protection. High-quality wading boots will help you steady your feet.
·     Sun protection. Don't forget hat, sunglasses and a long-sleeve shirt or sun sleeves.
·     Medium-weight casting rod. A sturdy, medium-weight spinning rod (use a 12- to 15-pound line) is generally a good rod for wade-fishing the Texas coast. 
·     Vest. Anglers wear many-pocketed vests to keep all their gear well organized.
·     Map. Many tackle stores sell maps of specific wading areas. 
·     Rod/wading belt. A wading rod belt can help you secure your rod when handling a fish or tying on a new rig or can carry a second rod.
·     Lures. Any tackle store will be glad to recommend some lures to use in the area. Some prefer shrimp and mullet mimicking soft plastics and MirrOlure-style casting plugs.
·     Floating bait bucket. If you aren’t using artificial lures, these buckets will keep your bait alive. Many wade fishers also catch their own bait with cast nets, making wade-fishing even more economical.
·     Landing net and wading stringer.  Carry a net to land the fish, and if you intend to keep your catch, bring along a long wading stringer.

Starter tips
·     Go with friends. Don’t go alone. Let others know where you’ll be, too.
·     Take it slow. Wading’s a pretty good workout, so don’t expect to wade for miles and miles.

·     Watch for structure and edges. Fish areas around any structure and the edge of vegetation changes — where sandy bottom turns to grassy areas, or perhaps a visible patch of sandy bottom in the middle of lots of vegetation.

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  1. Anonymous8/13/2019

    ALWAYS slide your feet - you won't accidentally step on a stingray and end up in a hospital.

  2. Anonymous8/14/2019

    make sure you take plenty of water not sweet drinks that zap your energy.

  3. if you wade with suspenders tighten the waist belt so if you step in a deep hole or loose your balance, your waders won't fill up with water and could possible drown

    1. Anonymous11/19/2020

      Very important! Learned the hard way!

  4. Choose a landing net with a long handle that can be used as a "cane" to stabilize yourself and help you walk thru mud and oyster shell.

  5. Don't set your expectations to high,there is always a learning curb, it's fishing and not always catching, be one with nature, plug in!

    1. It's ALWAYS about being there and not always catching. A beautiful day or sky, an unusual bird sighting wildlife on the's all a grand blessing.

  6. Concentrate on being stealthy and you can get really close to the fish. Wading is also the best way to stay on the fish. Good way to learn the bottom contour and find new spots.

  7. Wading is a great way to get your toenails clean.

  8. I pull a boogie board behind mind that contains a rod holder, baitwell, tacklebox, and fish keeper net. Acts like a floating table to change lures and helps to not lose fish while netting them. Can also use it to float thru deep guts.

  9. Using a kayak to wade fish helps not only to tote extra gear--especially a small cooler with refreshments--but also to get over the encounters
    with some of gummy mud spots. And at the end of the day you can hop
    on and paddle back instead of having a long wade.

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