Wade Fishing the Flats 101

Fishing the flats for any species is one of the most engaging and exciting ways to fish. Whether you’re targetting tropical species, redfish or stripers on the flats its an experience like any other. Sight fishing in the shallow waters allows you to pick your targets and watch them inhale your fly. If sight fishing is something that you love, the flats are the place for you!

Comfy Wading Boots Make All The Difference

Since you’re going to be putting in a decent amount of miles while stalking the flats, having a solid and comfortable pair of wading boots is important. You’re going to want something with a thick sole so you don’t feel every rock and piece of shell underfoot. We recommend a simple pair of sturdy wading boots, like the Compass360 Tailwater II’s, their lightweight breathable design is perfect for long day’s wading the flats on the hunt for skinny water cruisers.

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Only Blind Cast As a Last Resort

“Blind casting” is a term to describe anytime you are casting a fly into the water without making visual contact with the intended target. Normally, its a very effective way to find fish, but on the flats, it should be avoided. It can alert fish on the flat that you are there and you could possibly spook a happily feeding fish that you couldn’t see.

Never Stop Scanning the Water

Anytime you are on the water, your head should be on a swivel, on the lookout for anything giving away the position of a fish, be it nervous water, a tail waving loud and proud above the surface or fish waking across the flat. Once you learn to recognize these behaviors, all you need to do is quietly get into casting position and drop that fly right into the money zone!

Minimize Your Wading Noise

When fish feed on a flat or in skinny water, they are taking a lot of risk for the reward of easy feeding. This means that they will be more sensitive than ever and will bolt for safety the moment they detect that something is amiss. So you’re going to need to do your best to minimize your wading noise and wake. To do this, either choose to wade in slightly deeper water or just move slowly making sure to minimize the wake produced by your steps. If you’re wading on soft sand and you want to go super stealth mode, try shuffling your feet slowly across the bottom, this will both reduce the sounds of your footfalls and minimize wake.

Bring Along a Heavier Rod

You never really know what else is hunting on the flat with you. It’s not at all uncommon to roll up on an unsuspecting shark or larger fish than you anticipated and it will pay dividends if you are prepared for it. In order to carry that extra rod along, we recommend picking up on of our Vedavoo Rod Holsters which makes carrying a spare rod on your hip a breeze!

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3 thoughts on “Wade Fishing the Flats 101

  1. George Bischoff August 20, 2019 / 10:01 pm

    How well do the compass 360 tailwater IIs hold up to oyster shells and saltwater? Or is there another boot to consider?

    • Dan Zazworsky August 21, 2019 / 1:55 pm

      Hey George,

      We’ve used them extensively in the salt here in Massachusetts and have had no problems as long as you make sure to care for them properly and rinse them after each excursion!

      • George Bischoff August 21, 2019 / 3:56 pm

        how about against oyster shells? I live on NC’s Crystal Coast and they can be fierce!

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