Wading Discussion [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Wading Discussion

10-01-2003, 09:33 PM
As I look back on our discussions we have discussed a ton of things but I can't remember any diverse discusion on wading... not waders... but on wading techniques , the type of fish, the water... etc. My general thinking is that , at a maximum, you should never wade deeper than the bottom of your stripping basket... and at times you only need ankle deep... I think the norm would be just Knee deep... I see a ton of fishermen out on Monomoy and South beach who are basically out to far... Any Opinions on putting this in perspective.

10-01-2003, 09:50 PM
I am hardly a wading expert, but if you wade much deeper than your knees (I am not very tall), you can't see the fish all that well.
If one is blind casting in the surf, if you are up to your basket, the fish might be behind you. But there are no absolutes except no fish is worth drowning for.

10-01-2003, 11:38 PM
Well said Eddie! We've all seen them on South Beach and elsewhere - all you can see above the surface is a head and a pair of arms flailing the water to a foam - flies coming back at speed and , for the most part, unmolested.

Each to his own:rolleyes:

I like ankle to knee deep too.

10-02-2003, 05:54 AM
Good topic. I get strange looks for anglers when I wear an inflatable vest. However, things happen so fast you don't have time to react , I know from experince. I see many anglers too far out. It is amazing than nothing serious has happened.
A couple of weeks ago I watched two rookie anglers fish a blitz on the Flats and I had to yell to them to get back or they would be stranded. They made it back but the water was chest high.
I guess in our quest for fish we loose are sense of the tide.
Be safe out there.

10-02-2003, 06:41 AM
A very good topic this...
I live in the UK and we get some huge tides over here. On certain spring/moon tides, it would not be unusual to see 30 - 40ft of water move in 6 hours. If you happen to be on a sandbar or point thats gets cut-off at high water, then it's curtains!
Wading and knowing the tides is of paramount importance in the UK. That said, only last week i was out up to near top of my chest waders to reach the fish that were stationed over a weed bed! It made casting very difficult, but at least i caught, where others were blanking. Normally i like to use the bottom of the stripping basket as my marker.

10-02-2003, 06:48 AM
I'm not an expert either, but the number of times that I was knee deep and the fish were BEHIND me are countless. I think they are telling us something:hehe:

10-02-2003, 07:33 AM
Wet wading, however pleasant, has it's risks even on a 95 degree summer day.

When enough of the area of your body is submerged for hours, particularly the legs, the conductive cooling can reduce your body temperature and you enter stages of hypothermia even while the upper half of the body is sweltering.

Other than those days when you spend most of the time out of the water and part of the time in it, I would highly recommend the use of a good pair of breathables for most days of the year in saltwater.

I use them any day I spend on the flats without fail, unless I agree to take people fishing who don't have waders. In that case I wet wade to make sure I am not leading them too long in the water. If I feel temp loss coming on I lead them out, etc.

I was full time on the flats this summer and some of the tide pushes that occurred on hot summer days were downright chilly, cold enough to induce hypothermia in a relatively short time.

Willie Gunn
10-02-2003, 08:17 AM
How things have changed, has the world gone soft? William Scrope the Victorian Salmon fisherman thought waterproof boots were for wimps, and advised it was quite safe to wade till the water was lapping your fifth waistcoat button. In February on the Tweed when it is cold enough to freeze the line to the guides he suggests ď should you be of a delicate temperament it might be a good idea to have an occasional glance at your legs, should they be black or even purple it might, perhaps, be as well to get on dry land. But if they are merely rubicund ( ruddy) you neednít worry."
Please sue Mr Scrope for this advice, I am merely the messanger

10-02-2003, 08:22 AM
Last year, I got to the Beach a little late and by the time i got to the mouth of the creek i like to fish, four guys has positioned themselves out on the bar ,chest deep in the surf! They were wearing wet suits, casting Wild Eyes, and hooking up. I was a little discouraged, but proceded to catch fish behind them.

10-02-2003, 08:22 AM

Willie -

Not fair! Men in skirts are able to withstand much more cold temps down in the nether regions! :devil: ;)

10-02-2003, 09:22 AM
I agree that anything past knee deep is too deep on the flats. I find that if you wear a fleece or windbreaker you can wet wade just fine for most of the summer but to each his own. Juro is right about the hypothermia thing but I find as long as you keep the big muscles dry, you are OK.

As far as the surf is concerned, I don't know how you could go much deeper than knee deep without getting pummelled by a wave. Plus you'd be standing in the fish's hot zone.

A pee peeve of mine are people who feel the need to stand right in the middle of the travel lanes of the fish and stomp around for a bit. That and hoot and hollar when they hook up top a schoolie.

A freshwater consideration is the clown who needs to wade chest deep across a pool full of trout to retrieve his snagged fly - and ruin the fishing for everyone else.

Dble Haul
10-02-2003, 09:36 AM
My take on this topic is best summarized by Adrian's signature:

When sight fishing, look over your shoulder from time to time, you never know who's behind you ;)

10-02-2003, 09:44 AM
Juro and Dave are both correct... I wet wade because it is more comfortable for me to do so, yet I have got cold. I do this because I can travel easier along the beaches to given locations. If I am standing still for hours, sure, it starts to get cold... but I am usually moving... and in the summer I have no problem, for example, moving from the J bouy to the drop off in wast deep water (usually, I am at knee deep). If I get cold I will just head to shore for a short time, get warm and go back in.I remember one summer day at the Swift River in Neopren waders in 95 degree temperature and starting to shiver because I stayed for hours. If you keep moving it's better. I suppose a river is different as compared to a long beach. That's about waders... but I am trying to focus on the distances one goes in as a general rule. It is certainly easier to cast at Knee deep and more importantly, to see fish.

10-02-2003, 09:45 AM
I think the depth you wad depends first on safety and second on where the fish are.

Think about Monomoy.

Flats....safety not so much an issue unless your getting into a rip, but you can't see fish if you're too deep, so ankle to knee seems about right.

At the drop-off basin, though, there is a nice contour line out some distance, and some weeds beyond that. good fish holding area. Tough to reach if you're just knee deep, but wad out another 20 yards to waist deep and you're on fish.

Surf and tides are different entirely. Fished at deep hole a couple weeks back...jsut before the Hurricane. Lots of surf, and the spincasters were getting fish a bit further out than I can cast...not worth wading any deeper to reach the fish....


10-02-2003, 04:59 PM
Clearly each has it's good points!

Personally, and not meaning to imply anything about those au' naturel, I feel wet wading limits my reach and range. There are regions of the common flats where much walking in water is necessary. Even if the fishing could occur in shin deep water to return to hard ground can involve half to nearly a mile of wading in certain cases, often against a cold incoming tide. There is no dry land out there, and often the best sight fishing in the entire refuge is out there.

We won't even talk about the jellyfish blooms :eyecrazy:

What footwear do you like for wet wading?

Footwear? We don't need no schtinkin' footwear! - striblue ;) ;)

10-02-2003, 05:03 PM
Luckily I have not run into the jellies but a frisky horseshoe crab will make you wish you had footwear on once in a while :hehe:

Personally, I slap a little sunscreen on top of the feet and have at it. Leave the sandals at the dropoff for the walk back to the car.

Once you get used to it, there's no going back! :smokin:

10-02-2003, 05:43 PM
Flats- knee deep at most. On the bayside with the receding tide I end up on the sand when fishing draining troughs. When transiting troughs to the next bar I always make a few casts before proceeding. End of June early July the fish can push you out of the water on the early flood. Upper end of the tide I'll wade thigh deep. Eastern corner of Cape Cod bay get's warmed up by the third of fourth week in June. Then it's wet wading. I wear sandels or the NRS booties. Used to love to go bare foot but got tired of the crabs nipping at my heels and the gravel bars can be a pain also. South Beach/Monomoy flats I'll generally wear waders, anytime. Tend to spend more time in the water and on the flood that Atlantic water can be cool. More lifeforms over there to sting you also. I'd get the willies if a horseshoe crab started humping my bare foot.

Other areas/structure types - you do what you gotta do.

10-06-2003, 01:31 PM
I have a couple things to add that may not be obvious to everyone fishing the surf.

Know your tides and current in the area your fishing. When you are out on a bar and it starts flooding in leave yourself ample time to get in safely. I have been on bars that despite the water level dropping the current accelerated to the point of building a huge wave up behind me and washing out my feet at the same time.

Watch those incoming waves for awhile before steping in to get a sense of sizes and rythm. During the hurricanes big sets can come that are much bigger than the rest. If big waves are coming that will swamp you can Jump up into them. Or if you have a great wading jacket take a deep breath and turn sideways or duck.

When in the rocks don't get you feet stuck for long, if a wave comes in and hits you, you'll end up like many who have fished deep hole and the Matunuck shoals, crippled or injured when tons of water slammed into them with their foot stuck in the boulders.

When wearing my 5mm Simms stocking foot waders I float with the tendency towards feet up at a certain depth.:eyecrazy:

If you can't see or are not sure what the bottom is like step carefully and feel you way along. It could save you from stepping off the bar or in a hole, a potentially deadly mistake on a fast outgoing current.


10-06-2003, 04:24 PM
Many great points. My point like others is the deeper you wade, the harder it's going to be to sight fish. Personally I do not like to go over my knees. If I wade past the hight of my knees then I have waded to deep.

My experience is that I can see fish moving across a flat a lot easier when I am in ankle to knee deep water then when I am wading in water that is up to my waist. How many times have you been in waist deep water only to look back towards shore to see pods of fish getting by you? It use to happen to me all the time. Not no more! Besides..you have better visibility looking into the water when you are in the shallows.;)

10-07-2003, 09:48 AM
with regards to wet wading and foot wear, I have found that when fishing for trout, in cold water/hot day, a pair of the neoprene socks and my usual wading shoes works great. toasty feet = warm body. I am limmited to not much higher than my knees.
As for wading in the sand, I have not found the perfect solution. Boot foot waders seem the best to me, but they are not so good for other conditions. They rock for beating my buddies to the water.

10-07-2003, 10:45 AM
Good points about sight fishing and wading deep.

Equally to blame for the poor sight fishing when you wade deep is the fact that your body is in the water where the fish are cautiously hunting.

Wet wading is fine if you are not really going to be in the water. Effective flats fishing puts you really in the water. I see purple-lipped shivering wet waders all summer long. Been there, done that. Wet waders I fish with have no stamina to pursue fish once the body cools, they have to walk to shore and warm up. I usually hit the motherlode just as they need a break :devil:

Seriously, big muscles tend to cramp up and shut down under diress, and when you really need to get off a flat with .7 miles to go pushing against a cold incoming tide, the last thing you need is to worry about rapid body temperature loss, cramping, and other stress symptoms.

"Suit" yourself!


10-07-2003, 11:33 AM
Oh alright!.. If I know I will be fishing in the water for extended periods, I will wear waders next summer. There ,I said It!:devil:

10-08-2003, 09:42 AM

Don't let them break you down. Wet waders unite!:D

10-08-2003, 11:42 AM
Originally posted by Stevo
A very good topic this...

Who are you? Yoda?:D