My fly fishing background is all about fishing from boats. I’m completely and totally obsessed with boats, but there’s something truly rewarding about fishing on foot that keeps me going back to wading time and time again.
Whether it’s the minimalistic approach, stalking your fish or just going mano e mano with a wild animal that would love to drag you into the water, wading can be the best way to fish. Use these tips to make sure your fly rod keeps as busy as your wading boots.
Location, Location, Location
Without the luxury of a boat, choosing your locations becomes more important, as you can’t just pick up and buzz to the next spot or float the whole river looking for the juiciest runs. Instead of just walking straight out into the river and starting to fish, take a step back and wait.
Whether you’re searching for signs of rising fish on your local trout river, looking for structure on a saltwater flat or bass pond, taking the time to choose the best spot to stand will reward you later on. Set yourself down current of the spot you want to fish, and don’t be afraid to make longer casts so you can setup farther away for spookier fish. Look for spots that will let you hit multiple targets, structure or travel routes to spend more time fishing and less time setting up.
Low and Slow Is The Way To Go
Since you’re walking around and disturbing the bottom of the river or flat, you need to be careful where, when and how quickly you step, all day long. Instead of just rushing to get to your spot and making tons of noise, walk as stealthily as possible and use that extra time to watch for signs of fish or think about your strategy.
There have been many early morning walks out to my favorite saltwater flat where I spotted and was even able to cast to cruising fish before I reached my spot. If I was splashing around and trying to get to my spot as fast as possible I would’ve spooked the cruisers and wouldn’t have learned that there’s actually an additional travel route that I encounter every time on the walk out.
Take Advantage Of Your Extra Time
One of the tricky parts about fishing from a boat is that you’re always moving. Even if you anchor up and stay in one spot the boat is going to rock and make tying those 7x leaders damn near impossible. Instead of swapping flies, there’s a tendency to just stick with what you tied on at the launch, since it’s a pain to switch tactics on the move. Not when you’re wading.
Since you can stop anytime to swap flies, tie on new leaders or even just take a sip of water, don’t be afraid to use as much time as you need. I always seem to want to rush when I’m fishing, but I force myself to slow down everything when I’m wading. Instead of tying on a fly as quickly as possible to make a cast to a rising fish, I force myself to breathe, stop my hands from shaking and tie a better knot, or just double check my flybox to make sure I have the best fly tied on. Wading lets me be more precise in my presentations as well, since I can choose my shots, rather than just getting a cast out as quickly as possible before we float by in the boat.
Need a way to show off your pride as a wade angler? Check out our Wade For It hats now!
Want to make sure you keep hooking up on the water instead of just taking a nice walk in your waders and not catching anything? Make sure your flybox stays full of the best flies around with a Postfly subscription and become a Tribe Member today.