In Texas, we love to wade fish. If you haven’t tried getting out of the boat where you fish, chances are you’re missing out on some of the larger fish that could have been caught.
“Why would someone get out of a perfectly good boat, or in this case a kayak?” you ask.
Stealth is one reason. Spring typically brings high winds, causing the waves to slap the hull of your craft. The noise we hear above the water is amplified beneath the surface, potentially startling fish, which can be a game changer.
I like the quiet approach of the kayak as I enter my targeted wade zone, which is typically 1 to 3 feet deep. If the winds are high, I typically pull the kayak to shore to eliminate the hull slap. This way I avoid spooking any old and wise fish in the area.
Upon arrival at your location and elimination of hull noise, don’t forget to pay attention to your feet. Stumbling and stepping on shells can be just as disruptive to skittish shallow-water fish. Moving slowly and carefully is a must. While fishing shallow, and at times needing to stalk your prey, always keep a watchful eye for signs of feeding or fleeing fish. I prefer this style of fishing because I can cast to targets rather than blind cast open deeper water. Wading gives me the advantage of feeling the bottom structure and contour for changes, aggressive and subtle, both of which can hold fish.
A subtle change could be a 6-inch depression or drain off a flat that the fish will use to travel. By wading, you can detect this structure, determine its direction, and focus your cast in that area. It could also be a difference in bottom composition from mud to sand, slight depressions or potholes, change in grass type, bottom color, or shell patches. Once I locate and identify these areas, I will make a mental note of where they are and target them on the walk back to the kayak.
During this style of fishing, I typically fish a lighter lure for quieter presentation and entry into the water on my cast. I also prefer a whippier rod that can catapult the lure and give me greater casting distance. You need to make sure you can load your rod for the lure weight you are throwing. Another important tip when using a baitcaster is to us as thin diameter line as you can and to have a full spool.
The 29.5-inch trout in the photo was caught while wading using the tactics mentioned. The location can be easy to get to, but tough to get back from. Typically, the winds where I fish pick up later in the day and can make returning around a point from a protected cove treacherous. Always triple check the weather forecast for your area when kayaking, and keep a close eye on the current conditions. Safety first!
Capt. Michael Okruhlik is the inventor of Controlled Descent Lures and the owner of www.MyCoastOutdoors.com.