Wade Fishing 101: How To Maximize Your Time & Strikes While Wading

By: Joseph Simonds on February 14, 2018
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Quick story on this new wade fishing tip:

One of our awesome Insider Fishing Club members named Dave Ulgenalp recently reached out to me and was telling me about some unbelievable wade fishing trips that he’s had over the past 40 years of wading.

He also mentioned that over the last 15 years, he’s led hundreds of anglers on guided wade fishing trips, created a series of Wader’s Guide™ fishing charts, and had numerous instructional articles published on the subject of wade fishing.

He’s waded shorelines and flats from Cape Cod to Baffin Bay and currently spends most of his 200+ days on the water wading the Gulf coast of Florida.

The irony is that he owns a boat, kayak AND paddle board, but he mostly just uses them to get to and from the areas that he wades.

But either way, this guy has amazing knowledge to share, and I think you’ll see why everyone affectionately refers to him as Wader Dave.

Below is his first blog with us, and if you like it, please comment below (and SHARE it with your friends) so that we can have Dave back for more (including some advanced fish fishing tactics for wade fishermen).

Enjoy.

Related Post: How To Wade Fish The Flats Like A Pro (Podcast)

Related Post: Wade Fishing Pre-Trip Planning (Pro Tip)

Want To Take Your Wade Fishing Game To A Whole New Level?

Then you’ve got to “test drive” this online fishing course!

It’s the only wade fishing course guaranteed to help you catch more fish in less time.

Click here to join the online class today.

Wade Fishing 101

by “Wader Dave” Ulgenalp

wade fishing mastery

Would you like to catch more and bigger trout, reds and snook?

Then maybe you should consider jumping in the water and wade fishing.

The best news is that you won’t need a boat, kayak or paddle board and it won’t require a large investment in rods, reels and tackle.

You can apply the same logic to identify locations and use the same tackle and techniques to catch fish that you use when fishing from a vessel.

Productive spots are likely just a short drive from home and you might even be able to bring your family along rather than abandon them for the day.

To get started, I’d recommend you use a 7’ or 7’ 6” medium or medium light action spinning rod, matched with a 3000 or 4000 series spinning reel, spooled with 10 lb braid and a few feet of 20lb fluorocarbon leader.

Fill a small waterproof box with half a dozen lead head jigs ranging in weight from 1/16 to ¼ oz, a few of Luke Simonds favorite Owner TwistLOCK weighted hooks, a couple of ½ or ¾ oz gold or copper colored weedless spoons and if you like plugs, throw in your favorite suspending and topwater baits.

Grab a couple bags of plastic swim and/or split tail baits in your favorite colors, a small spool of leader material and throw them into a cheap fanny pack along with the waterproof box.

Attach your pliers and a plastic fish grip to the fanny pack strap and you’re almost ready to start fishing.

From spring through fall, you won’t need to wear anything more than a lightweight, quick-drying fishing shirt and shorts, hat, polarized sunglasses and hard soled neoprene wading boots.

When the water temperature drops below 72 degrees and your planning to wade more than knee deep, throw on a pair of 3.5 mm neoprene, stocking foot waders and enough layers underneath to keep your upper body and head warm and dry under the expected weather conditions.

Also, be sure to protect the areas of your body that will be exposed to the sun with either sunscreen or protective clothing.

How To Find The Best Wade Fishing Spots

Satellite image of the North Skyway bridge. (image source: Google Maps)

Great wading spots are easier to find and access than you might think.

In fact, if you live anywhere near the coast, you’ve probably driven right past what is soon to become one of your favorite places to fish.

Some of my favorite and most productive spots are along the numerous causeways that connect the mainland to barrier islands or one point of land to another across a bay or inlet.

Many provide easy access, safe parking and even walkways or seawalls that allow you to fish without getting wet.

Adjacent to the shoreline, most have a firm shallow sandy strip of bottom and a channel that runs parallel to the causeway on at least one side.

As always, be on the lookout for structure, changes in bottom contour or cover and other conditions that fish are likely to be attracted to.

The most productive causeways often offer riprap, rocks, mangroves and dead trees along their shoreline and/or adjacent areas of pothole-filled grass flats.

However, these conditions can make for a difficult wade and require caution and extra attention as you work them.

Most causeways provide fishing opportunities year-round, but the targeted species may change from season to season.

Under the worst and windiest of conditions, at least one side of a causeway is usually fishable and often provides the only alternative to sitting at home.

Two of my favorite cold weather spots for gator trout and slot reds are along the Courtney Campbell Causeway that connects Tampa and Clearwater at the north end of Tampa Bay and the causeway that connects the Skyway Bridge with Pinellas and Manatee Counties.

wade fishing 101

Satellite image of the Courtney Cambell Causeway near Tampa, Florida. (image source: Google Maps)

Beaches are often overlooked but can provide some fantastic fishing for a variety of species along with a million-dollar view.

Most public beaches don’t prohibit fishing and surprisingly, face little fishing pressure as they are often too crowded to fish during the heat of the day.

Fish them at dawn, dusk, after dark or under conditions unsuitable for beachgoers.

Be on the watch for windy and/or rainy days when you may have the beach to yourself.

The most productive beaches usually offer structure and/or changes in bottom contour.

Look for areas with a deep swash channel running along the shoreline, as this creates a feeding lane for snook, reds and trout.

Runouts are usually at either end of a swash channel and often hold schools of these same fish as bait washes through them on the incoming and outgoing tides.

Beaches that wrap the inside and outside of an inlet may hold some of the biggest fish you are likely to catch while wading or fishing from shore and should always be explored.

Like causeways, while the species may vary, fish can be caught from the beach all year-round.

There’s nothing more that I look forward to than summertime fishing for monster snook along the beaches of Longboat Key and Honeymoon Island.

Satellite image of Honeymoon Island Park (image source: Google Maps)

Beach or causeway, there are a few things you can do to improve your chances of catching fish.

Here are some of the things I wish I had known when I first started wade fishing…

Important Wade Fishing Tips

Here are some must-know wade fishing tips:

  • You don’t need to go any further than knee to waist deep.
  • You will present a lower profile as you work the shoreline and fish will be less likely to see you before they are in casting range.
  • You will also be able to effectively work your lure parallel to the shoreline.
  • Some of the biggest fish will be in just inches of water and within a couple of feet of the shoreline, especially if there is structure or a swash channel.
  • Second, keep moving along the shoreline (The more area you cover, the more likely you are to find fish or discover the type of structure that’s likely to hold fish). Start by casting straight out from shore and then begin fan casting in the direction you’re wading until you’ve covered all the water between you’re first cast and the shoreline and continue to move down the shoreline a few yards at a time.
  • Wade into the tide or current so that when you’re casting parallel to the shoreline, you are retrieving your lure in the same direction the tide or current is running (this allows for a more natural presentation of the lure and improves your chances of a fish striking it – that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t wade your way back to where you started from, just focus more on the water that’s not immediately adjacent to the shoreline).
  • Third, indicators that fish are present are the same as when you’re fishing from your boat, kayak or paddleboard. Look for areas where baitfish are present, mullet are jumping, birds are diving and/or structure is abundant.

Conclusion

When wade fishing, the most critical thing is finding the right spots.

First and foremost, find some structure.

I like to find the causeways and beaches that offer the proximity and access you’re looking for and the characteristics I’ve described, search the satellite images available at Google Earth or Bing Maps, or just hop in the car and start driving until I see birds, bait, or some visible structure.

Much if not all that you need to know to catch fish once you find a spot can be found in the Salt Strong Insider Fishing Club.

There are, however, many more tips and locations I’d like to share that could have you catching more and bigger fish and maybe even develop a “passion” for wade fishing.

Be sure to send me your questions or comments and don’t forget to let Joe and Luke know that you’d like to see more content from me – Wader Dave.

Thanks for your time.

Tight lines.

P.S. – If you think your angler friends or fishing networks would enjoy this post, please Tag them or Share this with them.

Want To Take Your Wade Fishing Game To A Whole New Level?

Then you’ve got to “test drive” this online fishing course!

It’s the only wade fishing course guaranteed to help you catch more fish in less time.

Click here to join the online class today.

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Ronald G Langevin
Member

$50 yes, $77 not a chance!

David Ulgenalp
Member

Ron – Salt Strong offers a money back guarantee if you don’t feel like you got you’re money’s worth. Hope you’re finding the free content available to be useful. Tight Lines!

Mike Mahoney
Member

I like to combo kayak/wade. I can pack for a longer day or changing fishing situations or weather. Sometimes a sandbar or oyster bed can block a kayaker off from a nice pothole or slough. Wading puts me into almost virgin spots. Also, the change of position extends my staying power longer through the day. I can also cast a little better standing which can be critical, at times. Lastly, wading lets me enjoy a really hot day much better. I am going to try a light backpack for when hauling the kayak isn’t possible or desireable for the extension of the day. I presume I could always drop the pack close by if it’s a pain.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Mike – I often do the exact same things with my kayak or SUP and even my boat. They are tools to extend my wade fishing opportunities. Great to hear from a kindred spirit . Hope to run into you on the water some day.
.

Roger Tucker
Guest
Roger Tucker

Hey Dave,
A friend and I are going fly fishing This April with a guide out of Everglade city. We are going a couple days early to wade fish on our own and I was wondering if you could give us advice and direction on access points. We have a lot of experience fishing for stripers and albies in Massachusetts but this is our first trip to Florida.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Roger – sorry I’m just replying to your comment now – it slipped by me somehow. There’s nothing better than Google Earth to look for great wade fishing area and access points. Without an access point a good area is useless. Also, try searching Google for public beaches, boat and kayak launches in the county you are planning to fish. They are usually good spots to access wadable water. Causeways are among my favorite spots and are easily identifiable on maps and Google Earth. I’ll be fishing for stripers myself on the Brewster Flats in a couple of months. Good luck!

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Texas wade fisher here. I have success fishing grass lines next to sand bottoms along the shore. Never tried this in the winter. Are there still decent fish in the grass ambushing bait, or do they leave for the winter?

Alan
Guest
Alan

Joe, Luke, and Dave I just found this site and thread last night via the SS YouTube interview with Dave and it has already totally changed my tactics, approach, and mindset. I’ve gone from a boat and tons of gear especially for bass in freshwater to a totally minimalist angler who thrives on wade fishing salt whenever I can make a trip to FL. The interview and insights here are invaluable, THANKS!

Luke Simonds
Admin

We are very glad to see that you are enjoying the site! Yes, the minimalist approach is shockingly effective.

Alan Johnson
Guest
Alan Johnson

I do have a few questions if I may? I’m watching several of your kayak videos and it appears you have an Ocean Kayak Big Game II kayak. Am I correct and if so how does it paddle as far as covering distances? Is the seat as nice and comfortable as it appears? How do you transport it and if by trailer, do you back the trailer right into the water? Lastly, what length paddle do you use? I have a narrower OK kayak now and like their kayaks but am considering a more comfortable kayak platform that would also allow me to stand but I’m past the age of lifting a kayak of that size onto a rood rack and would need to buy a trailer. My apologies for so many questions. In advance, THANKS!

Allen Tufts
Member

Great stuff, glad he’s a member of the family at salt strong!

Eric Black
Member

Joe/Luke, definitely would like to see more from Wader Dave. Much of my fishing is limited to wading and SUP boards, so insights like this are great! Thanks.

EDIT: Just saw the “Wade Fishing Mastery Course”. Looks like I know what I’ll be doing tomorrow — watching the whole course!!

MICHAEL Drozdowski
Member

Hi Dave – I retired in 2016 and I wade fish the Dunedin Causeway/Honeymoon Island area 3-4 times/week. Surprised I haven’t run into you. Question – what fanny pack are you using? Looks like a good replacement for the one I’m currently using. Also, what’s the URL for your impending website?

Chad Rizzo
Member

Wader Dave – my name is chad and I come to the Clearwater area twice a year. I would like to learn how to wade fish around honeymoon island and the Courtney Campbell Causeway area.

Do you still provide guided fishing trips and if so how can we contact you .

Also do you still sell wader guide fishing charts. This can give me a good starting point.

Thanks,

Chad Rizzo

David Ulgenalp
Member

Chad – I still do guided fishing trips with Honeymoon, Dunedin Causeway, Courtney Campbell Causeway and Skyway being my favorite locations to fish. I am constructing a new website to handle bookings which should be up and running within a couple of weeks. In the meantime, if you send me your phone number to my email address – du@5ugies.com, I’ll give you a call to plan a trip. I stopped selling waders guides as Google Earth and other mapping programs made them obsolete.

Richard Fiorentino
Member

Dave – getting set up for first wading try. Question- How do you attach the fish grip and pliers to fanny pack? thnaks

David Ulgenalp
Member

Rich, just loop elastic strap on fish grip around strap on fanny pack. I slide pliers sheath over fanny pack strap or web style belt I use to hold up my shorts.

Richard Fiorentino
Member

Dave – great video – What wading boots do you use. I only wade fish in warmer weather (over 70 degrees)

David Ulgenalp
Member

Rich, I’ve been using Promate 5 mm Dreadnought Hard Sole Scuba Dive Zipper Boots. You can get them on Amazon.com for 49.99. They’re light, have a firm sole and haven’t had a broken zipper on a pair yet. Great boot for the money. I just bought a pair of SoftScience Fin Boot Boating Shoe at the recommendation of Joe Simon and have only worn them once.. They are extremely light and have a tick cushioned sole which is great if you’re walking a long way. Will see if they last and zippers don’t break before I recommend. Got them on Amazon.com for 69.99.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Bruce – thanks for the kind words and glad you enjoyed the post. I used to wade your area on occasion back in the late 80’s when I had no idea what I was doing but still did pretty well. I’d love to give it a try again with someone like you that that knows the area and what they’re doing. I’ll let you know when I’m going to be in the area and maybe we can get out together. Wader Dave

Bruce Somers
Member

Dave I thoroughly enjoyed your post. Thank you for your contributions to the SaltSTRONG community. Feel free to contact me if you ever need a wading partner in the Indian River Lagoon (Jensen Beach) or on Hutchinson Island. Tight Lines.

Michael Odonnell
Member

Hi Dave
I just moved to N.C. and will be fishing Morehead City and Emerald Isle area. I wan to teach my grandkids how to fish without sitting on a pier and drowning bait and being bored. I got excited reading you article,I have been looking for information to take away some of the confusion. I hope you will continue with articles on lure color,retrieve,and maybe even some dissection of areas up here. Thank you for helping us newbies

MICHAEL Drozdowski
Member

One more question Dave (at least for now!) – do you do any wade fishing at night? If so, do you use a headlamp and what brand/model? If you do, would you only go around a full moon (best light)? Thanks…

David Ulgenalp
Member

Mike – I used to wade at night on occasion but was always on edge worrying about stepping on unseen rocks, oyster beds and rays. I also had a hard time finding anyone else to go with and wouldn’t go alone at night. I’ll leave night time wading to braver souls than I. That being said, I would imagine the fishing could be very good, especially in the summer. Wader Dav

MICHAEL Drozdowski
Member

Hi Dave,

Mike from Palm Harbor here. Regarding snook from inside Honeymoon Island park, which end of the beach do you prefer – south toward Dog Beach or north toward 3 Rooker Island? I saw your comments below concerning artificials you use. Have you ever had any luck for snook on flair hawks?

David Ulgenalp
Member

I fish north end of Honeymoon much more than Dog Beach but have done well in both places as well as along the beach near the jetties out front of the north parking area and the rocky areas just north of the jetties.

My favorite snook lure when fishing the passes in heavy current is a 1/2 to 3/4 oz red tail hawk, which I believe you’re referring to as a flair hawk. It’s a red and white buck tail jig with a long red tail. A gold weedless spoon works well when fishing the rocky beach areas I referred to. Wader Dave

Richard Fiorentino
Member

Dave – Interesting article. I fish mostly from a boat and have wanted to try some Beach Fishing around Englewood, Fl. Before your article, I was going to just go to the beach and do some standard Surf Fishing with live shrimps. Now I will try your method with artificials. Any specific soft plastics you find work well in various seasons? Thanks

David Ulgenalp
Member

Rich – my three favorite beach snook baits are a 1/4 oz jig head with a DOA Cal Shad in either Glow or Arkansas Shad, a 1/4 or 1/2 oz red and white bucktail jig with a long red tail and a 1/2 or 3/4 oz gold weedless spoon. I usually start with a steady medium to fast hopping retrieve keeping the bait along the bottom. When possible, I wade into the tidal flow and retrieve my lure back with the tide. Where I live in Panellas County, snook can usually be found along the beach from April through November but if water temps stay at 70 degrees or above, they can be found sooner or later in the year as well. There are certain beaches that have a lot of structure where I target trout through the winter and spring. Light jigs and plastic tails are my go to baits. I use a yo yo style retrieve worked as slowly as I can without getting hung up in the structure. I don’t usually target reds specifically but do catch quite a few incidentally while fishing for snook or trout. Whatever the targeted species, when fishing the beach I start by casting straight out from the beach (12:00) and systematically work my way around the clock until I’m casting parallel with the beach (either 3:00 or 9:00 depending on which way your working the beach). Hope this helps and thanks for the feedback. Wader Dave

Robert Burnstine
Member

I live in north al, but try to make it to fl 2/3 times a year and bring my kayak(old and bad knees). The tips on wade fishing especially around the causeway sound perfect for kayak fishing for someone new to a area.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Robert – I fish from my kayak on occasion but find it’s best use is to get me to places I can wade that aren’t accessible from shore. I tie a line to my belt loop and pull it behind me as I work an area. I don’t have to worry about positioning the kayak to cast where I want or fight the wind and tide. No noise and I don’t have to worry about a fish dragging me through a school and spooking the rest of the fish. Much easier to fish while wading in my opinion. When I reach the end of my wade, I hop back in and paddle back to shore. Good luck next time you’re in Florida. Wader Dave

Don Hershfeld
Guest
Don Hershfeld

For those without a kayak, consider towing a truck tire inner tube behind you. It can hold a cooler which keeps all your supplies free of saltwater. Best part? If/when you are wading an extensive flats complex, you can park your rear and use your arms as oars to cross the channels.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Don – I’ve seen a lot of wade fisherman do exactly as you recommend and have tried a few commercially made float stations in the past. They can make a long day of wading easier for sure. Thanks for the suggestion.

Gary Burks
Member

Thanks Dave, I will be visiting Florida in a few weeks. The podcast and Wading 101 were very helpful.

Jerry Mason
Member

Thanks Dave, I really enjoyed listening to your podcast and reading Wading 101. Looking forward to reading and listening to more podcasts from you.

Tom Rumbaugh
Member

Dave, Great work on the podcast. Thanks for all your years of shall we say research? I’m in St. Pete, but work in Tampa, picnic island is only 6-10 minutes from my work and I’m thinking of heading over there maybe on lunch break or after work.

The shore is long and slopes gradually, I have not seen any fish while walking around the beach area, but by chance do you know of a few good ideas to try close to where I can park? If not, I’ll be happy to take a best guess based on map reading for certain conditions. :-).

David Ulgenalp
Member

Tom – I haven’t fished Picnic Island for many years but used to have some decent success there. This might be a good spot for a dissection since it’s near a lot of SS subscribers and easily accessible. I will make a point of getting out there and let you know what I find. Thanks for your feedback. Wader Dave

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

This is a great article with practical advice for catching more fish without breaking the bank on gear … or time chasing live bait! Until recently I’ve been strictly a live bait fisherman … some from the beach and some from boats I’ve owned. Luckily for me, we moved to a new house recently and I was introduced to wade fishing by my new neighbor … yup … Wader Dave. The first time out wade fishing with Dave and his crew I caught several large trout … all on artificials … love fishing and just talking fishing with Dave …. I think he is part fish … so if you liked this first article you’ll love hearing more from Wader Dave … I guarantee it will make you a better overall fisherman … and it might even spark a fishing passion if you don’t already have one!

David Ulgenalp
Member

Scott – thanks for the positive comments and sharing the results of your first wade fishing trip. Glad to have another obsessed fisherman as a new neighbor and expect we will spend more time on the water soon. Wader Dave

Steven Free
Member

I think your confused I did not say I fished in the northeast I meant northeast Florida like the jacksonville and or st Augustine area and here its mostly muddy to sticky to wade although like I said I have found a few spots but very few the weather and bottom composition is totally different then the rest of the state down south in central and South fl they have more sand and potholes here its mostly muddy bottom with oysters and seagrass anyways you get the picture but your advice is great thanks for writing 😊

David Ulgenalp
Member

Steve – sorry for the confusion, I guess I missed the fl after northeast in your original post. I haven’t spent a lot of time in northeast Florida but will now have to put on my “need to spend more time there” list. I’ll drop you an email when I’m headed your way and maybe we can get on the water together. Wader Dave

Steven Free
Member

Great advice the only problem being here in northeast fl where I live the bottom about 95 percent of the time is gooey very soft mud not really good for ware fishing I have been fishing these waters for about 15 years now but have only found a very limited number of spots good for wading although I do agree when the fish are active wading can be very productive in fact the biggest seatrout caught by me was wade fishing a sandy shoreline I was fishing some culvert that had somewhat deep depressions under them that the old gator trout was laying in 12lbs 40 inches of pure silver excitement caught on a very small finess shallow running rapala fatrap usually reserved for freshwater crappie as us Yankees say or to southerners speckled perch thanks for the info😊

David Ulgenalp
Member

Steve – your absolutely right about the bottom composition of many inshore areas in the northeast being difficult and even dangerous to wade. I fish more beaches and shorelines and wade less when in the northeast as a result. There are however, some great flats with sandy firm bottom throughout Cape Cod and specifically off of Brewster and Chatham. Stripers may be one of the most accessible fish for shorebound anglers and maybe my favorite to catch. Thanks for your comments. Wader Dave

MICHAEL Drozdowski
Member

Hi Dave, great article! I live 10 minutes from the Dunedin Causeway and wade fish there 3-4 times a week. Your article had several really good tips I hadn’t considered, but will incorporate. I’ve been doing well catching trout there lately, but was wondering if you had any tips for catching snook along the beaches. When the weather heats up for good and the snook start hitting Honeymoon and Caladesi Island beaches, I plan to hit that, but I want to educate myself before I get out there. Thanks…

David Ulgenalp
Member

Mike – the Dunedin Causeway is one of my favorite areas to fish and I’ve probably spent more time fishing there and Honeymoon Island than anywhere else. I’d love to share what I’ve learned about fishing for snook and pick your brain as well. You look familiar and I’d be surprised if we haven’t fished side by side along the Causeway sometime over the years. Let’s get out together sometime. Wader Dave

Thomas Moran
Member

Dave, really appreciate your thoughts here and look forward to you getting into the topic in depth.

I think there are a LOT of frustrated would-be waders out there who would really benefit by people sharing spots that we’ve found over the years. I’m more than willing to give up a few of mine if I can benefit by learning more good places to try.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Thomas – I hope to write about specific spots and maybe even do some dissections. Look for the podcast I did with Joe and Luke to be posted next week. Thanks for the positive comments. Wader Dave

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

What makes Wader Dave such a great fisherman is his willingness to learn. He has taken all the knowledge I could give him and put it to work!
Captain John

David Ulgenalp
Member

Capt. John – glad to see you still have a sense of humor and hope that some day I’ll convince you to jump out of your boat and into the water to join me wading. However, it would likely require you to invest in a number of new mounts as you’d surely catch new personal best trout, snook and redfish. See you on the water soon. Wader Dave

Raymond Mayer
Member

I wade fish quite a bit. Enjoyed the article…keep them coming.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Ray -thanks for the positive comment. I hope to do more. Wader Dave

Phil Smith
Member

I’m 100% wade fishing except when my wife and I go out on a charter. How do you manage the connection between your braid and leader out in the water when It needs to be changed? (FG knot, ? Knot, swivel, popping cork directly to braid)

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Phil – I tie my leader to braid using uni to uni when on shore or in the water. FG knot just isn’t practicle when wading and takes to me too long to tie when I’m on shore. I honestly can’t remember a single time when a uni to uni knot has failed while I’m fighting a fish.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Phil – I pushed submit button to quickly, that last comment about uni to uni knot was from me -Wader Dave

Phil Smith
Member

Thank you for the response, and looking forward to your future inputs.

Bob
Guest
Bob

I would remind people to do the stingray shuffle to avoid stepping on a ray and getting stung. I kayak and surf fish around Charlotte Harbor and Boca Grande Beach.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Bob – great advice. That’s also why I recommend to wear wading booties with a hard plastic or rubber sole. Surprisingly, I’ve only been stung once over the nearly 40 years I’ve been wade fishing – but once is enough. If you move slowly and shuffle your feet (don’t pick your feet up and step down) you’re likely to spook the rays before you get to them.

Bob
Guest
Bob

I have a pair of “ray guards”, they look like a baseball catchers shin guards. They cover the front and back of your legs. I bought them at a Walmart in Gainesville, it’s the only place I have ever seen them.

Willie Chance
Member

Gainesville FL I assume – or Gainesville, GA? I would not mind finding a pair.

Bob
Guest
Bob

Gainesville, Fl

Anonymous
Guest
Anonymous

Great stuff and great strategies! The only thing I’ll politely disagree with is needing NEOPRENE waders in water below 72 degrees. Even in water below 50 degrees you can wear standard waders with an extra layer underneath. I’ll even wear two layers down to 35 degree steelhead water…but neoprene is easier. If you keep your wading to mid-thigh or less, you chill down more slowly than in waist deep water. Tightest of lines…. Frank

David Ulgenalp
Member

Thanks for the positive comments. I prefer neoprene because their cheaper and I can wear shorts underneath them and stay warm it many of my friends prefer breathable waders and to layer up.

Andrew Williams
Member

Great tips Dave. I too have a boat & kayak and still do a lot of wade fishing. Keep the reports coming Thanks

Thomas Webb
Member

I really enjoyed this Wade Fishing 101. Please share with all your friends. Capt Tom Webb

David Ulgenalp
Member

Can’t. Tom, thanks for the positive comments. Wader Dave

Ryan Sinnott
Guest
Ryan Sinnott

Thanks for this article, Dave. Very informative and insightful. Looking forward to more content!

David Ulgenalp
Member

Ryan – thanks for the positive comments. I hope to continue providing content for shore bound anglers. Wader Dave

Cam Allen
Member

Great tips here. Thanks Dave, and the SaltStrong crew for bringing Dave on board to help us landlubbers out.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Cam – hopefully there will be more to come. Be on the lookout for a podcast I did with Joe and Luke that’s supposed to be posted week after next. Thanks for the positive comments. Wader Dave

Russ Scholl
Member

Thanks Dave,Joe and Luke for the wade fish article! I mostly use boat and kayak to take me to places to wade. I have found that wading is the most effective method to catch big trout. —Russ

David Ulgenalp
Member

Russ – thanks for the positive comments. The biggest trout, snook and redfish I’ve caught were all caught while wading as is the case for most of my friends and clients that also fish from boats and kayaks. I hope to provide more content on wade fishing. Wader Dave

Scott Rispaud
Member

Loved it Dave! In Montauk, they call me “Recon” because I fish the shore line just like you have described. When they see me hook up, (through binoculars), I get “mugged”! I reside in Jupiter and utilize the beaches and structure. Come spring, I will hit the shoreline trough with my fly rod as well. Keep the tips coming, we love em!

David Ulgenalp
Member

Recon – always good to hear from a fellow wader and beach fisherman. Nothing more fun than drawing a crowd of beach goers watching you land a nice striper or snook from the beach. Look me up if you get to the Tampa Bay Area. Wader Dave

Scott Rispaud
Member

Thanks Dave, When I get over that way or plan a trip, I will reach out to see if we can fish a tide together. Tight lines.

Ed Brown
Guest
Ed Brown

I meet Wader Dave in Passagrille Beach, Fla. He stressed to me the importance of, ” keep moving”.
Watched him catch a nice Mackerel. Nice photos and location tips. Thanks Wader Dave!

Matt Maguire
Guest
Matt Maguire

Wader Dave has lead many succesful striper trips out in Cape Cod. All he needs is a jig head and a sluggo

David Ulgenalp
Member

Matt – glad to see you’re a subscriber to Salt Strong. Hoping we have a chance to fish Brewster Flats and Duxbury beach again this summer. Wader Dave

Irvin Mekler
Member

Are you related to that famous striper fisherman on the Cape by the name of Capt. John Maguire?

Irvin Mekler
Member

Great article. Good tips on how to approach beach fishing. Nice to finally hear specifics instead
of generalities about wading the beach. Follow up articles would be great. Nothing like wading
in the water when its 90 degrees same holds true for when its 50 degrees.

David Ulgenalp
Member

If this is the Irvin Mekler better known as Battling Butch, I’m flattered that such an accomplished fisherman could learn anything new from me. Hope to see you out along the Skyway sometime soon. Wader Dave

Walter Watkins
Member

Appreciate the insight / suggestions. I think this is a good method of fishing that deserves more attention / content.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Walter – be on the lookout for a podcast I did with Joe and Luke to be posted week after next. I hope to be able to provide more content on wade fishing. Thanks for the positive comments. Wader Dave

Michael O Donovan
Guest
Michael O Donovan

Thanks for the insight Wader Dave. Very intooative. This is a well written piece, easy to follow and I feel that even I can go out and put some of the techniques to use.i also like the affordability factor. Too many guys writing today who don’t live on the same planet as us poor fisherman. Looking forward to more.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Michael – wading isn’t a budget buster for sure. I had been wade fishing exclusively for over 10 years before I could afford my first boat and thought it was going to change my life. What I found was that I was only using the boat to get to places to wade I couldn’t reach from shore. Go figure!

Sam Craparo
Member

I totally get it. I have a boat and kayaks and I wade fish almost exclusively. My motto is no boat no bait no problem. The older I get the less time I want to spend doing the mantanace of boating. Minimalist fisherman. One pole one plug and boots. More time fishing less time cleaning.
Keep up the good work.

David Ulgenalp
Member

Sam – thanks for the positive comments. I’ve become a fishing minimalist over the years while maximizing the quantity and size of the fish I’m catching. Hard to get simpler than wading. Wader Dave

Alan
Guest
Alan

Sam, we are two peas from the same pod. An ex tournament bass angler here who has gone totally minimalist. So much so in fact that taking my kayak feels like I’m over doing it. I found wade fishing just a few years ago when I met a couple of nice guys on a FL winter vacation and have been hooked every since. On rod and reel, a fly fishing vest, pliers, and fish grips and I’m good to go. In fact if the beach is sandy enough to allow I even fish barefoot.

Jason Stewart
Member

Very helpful tips. Thank you

Virginia Planas
Member

Thanks Wader Dave” Super interesting points you share about wading. I’m interested to see more and may be a video-you fishing those areas and your technique. Thanks

David Ulgenalp
Member

Thanks for the positive comment. I hope to do more blogs and believe there will be a podcast coming soon. I have a face for radio not so much for video but you never know.

Wader Dave

David Prater
Member

Some interesting information, I look forward to seeing more from you and about wading, I have done some out around Snead island before and kinda had an itch to go do some wading last weekend, again thanks for the tips and insight

David Ulgenalp
Member

David – I hope I have the opportunity to do more blogs. Not sure where Snead Island is but if you give me the general area, I’ll check it out on Google Earth and let you know the areas I’d try for a start. Wader Dave

David Prater
Member

Wader Dave- Snead island is in Palmetto Fl, the area I am talking about is probably better known as Emerson point. I was born and raised in Bradenton so I grew up going around spots, Bridges and piers down there, I say down there because I now live in Central Florida so going salt fishing is a commute for me now. I have been eyeing Eg Simmons park lately because it is only an hour drive but currently have not actually fished it.

David Ulgenalp
Member

David – I had three clients last Saturday that wanted to wade Emerson Point Preseve on Snead Island. I told them that I hadn’t fished there in years but they wanted to give it a try anyway. As you may remember , a cold front came through Friday night and the wind was blowing 15 to 20 out of the north when we arrived in the morning. I had scouted the area via Google maps and decided to work the south shoreline to stay out of the wind and work the grass flats that bordered the near shoreline and deeper water on the outside of the flat. Lots of potholes and edges to work. Bottom was mostly firm, warter was clear and made for a comfortable wade. We were working 1/8 and 1/4 oz jigs with various plastic baits including CAL Shad in New Penny and Arkansas Shad as well as Zman trout tricks in fried chicken. We tried a variety of retrieves. One of my clients caught a 26” snook at the far West Point of the island which is where we started our wade. We worked our way about a mile down the south shoreline and ended up catching a few nice flounder, some big jacks and lost one nice trout but otherwise it was pretty darn slow. However, I will definitely come back as I’ve got to believe that the area holds fish as it has everything I look for. If you get out there, be sure to give me a scouting report. Wader Dave

David Prater
Member

Wader Dave- Thank you for the insight and info about your trip there, when I get a chance to make it down there I will be sure to give you a report on how it went