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Wade Fishing Tactics for Coastal Fishing

Angler and fish

If you’ve got two feet and a fishing rod, you’ve got all you need to go wade fishing. With almost unlimited access, anywhere an angler can walk is a possible fishing hole.

Whether you’re casting from New England rocks, stalking a flat in the Florida Keys, or wandering up a marsh creek in South Texas, wade fishing is pretty much the same from coast to coast. Find a section of shore where deep water, swift current, and structure meet and you’ll find the fish. Start your search on a satellite map, looking for public access near productive-looking coast.

Once on location, use your feet to explore. Walk the shallows and skirt the bank looking for fish and fishy places. Always consider tide changes when setting out, don’t get caught when the water gets deep. For an extra level of safety, wear an inflatable life vest in case you step in over your head.

Angler carrying multiple reels

The key to success is covering water and making a lot of casts. Wade anglers want to travel light and dress right. A good pair of stockingfoot, breathable waders and lightweight boots will make it easier to walk miles over land and in the water. Add a light rain jacket to keep water from entering over the top of the waders.

A small backpack that can be worn high on the back will hold a single tackle tray with essential lures, extra leader, and a few tools. Artificial lures are the best choice for wade fishing, plastic and metal is easier to carry and constantly casting and retrieving keeps the angler exploring.

In addition to a carefully curated tackle selection, wade anglers will want to carry scissors and pliers. Add a bottle of water and a resealable plastic bag with lunch and you’re set for walking the water. To keep your catch, use a rope stringer with a float.

Clash HMG reel close-up

Rod and reel choice is especially important for wade fishing. Casting distance and accuracy makes it easier to fish from shore. Fenwick’s new HMG Inshore rods are designed for casting performance. 30 ton graphite blanks have a quick response to launch a light lure maximum distance with pinpoint accuracy. The HMG Inshore rods combine graphite with a spiral carbon fiber wrap for extra strength.

Long casts put a lot of line in the water, reducing sensitivity. To increase feel, the HMG Inshore rods use Fuji® Alconite guides with super smooth ceramic rings. A cork grip and exposed blank in the reel seat transmit vibrations to the angler’s hand. The HMG Inshore comes in four wade specific models specially designed with a split rear handle that has been intentionally shortened to provide easier maneuverability and enhanced leverage when casting on the go.

Angler handling reel with fish on line

Wade anglers look for a sensitive rod and a tough reel. Matching the Fenwick HMG to a PENN Clash II spinning reel makes a high performance package capable of walking through water, sand, and salt.

The Clash II has a metal body and sideplate to keep the internal workings aligned. Its Clutch Armor System and Hydrophobic Line Roller Bearing prevent water from entering moving parts. Although the Clash II is built to be heavy duty, the reel is lightweight for hours of walking and casting.

Hand holding reel

Wade fishermen often fish near rocks, docks, flats, grass and other obstructions that could cut fishing line. To put the pressure on a big fish, and keep it out of the rough stuff, the Clash II reel has HT-100 carbon fiber drag. Not only does the carbon fiber drag produce up to 20-pounds of pressure, but the material doesn’t catch or stick for smooth power through the drag range.

Anglers fishing from shore may feel they’re at a disadvantage, but the right tackle can even the playing field. Grab a rod, a bag of tackle, and a lunch, then head out on the water by foot.

Angler wearing Penn shirt

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