Which Waders are the Best Choice for Me?

Fishing can be an exciting outdoor activity, especially when the fish are biting! Those who bank fish may be at a disadvantage if the fish that are biting are in deeper water. A simple solution to this problem is fishing waders. Whether you’re fishing for Salmon, Trout or Bass, waders can give you a competitive edge.

It is important to pick the correct wader for the depth of the water you’ll be fishing as well as the weather you’re in. There are several types of waders to choose from. Chest waders are most versatile in their design, allowing fishermen to wade into deep water because they provide maximum coverage.  The suspenders and lightweight baggy material keeps the waders securely on your body while leaving room for your body and layered clothing.

Waist-high waders are mid height wader option. Waist waders don’t provide as much coverage as chest waders. Designed much like a baggy pair of pants, they are meant for water no deeper than mid-thigh and are equipped with belt loops to hold them in place. These waders are nice in that they provide more coverage than a hip wader, but don’t restrict movement as much as a chest wader would. These are a nice warm weather option because of their light weight, medium coverage design.

Hip waders are a minimal coverage option meant for water no higher than the knee. These are a great warm weather option due to their light weight. These are often used for fishing in shallow waters.

There are options for either insulated or uninsulated waders as well. Insulated waders are used for both colder water and colder weather. These often consist of baggy material to allow for layered clothing. Uninsulated waders are a great option for fishing in summer months as they are more breathable.

There are options for boot-foot waders, wading soles, and stocking foot bottomed waders. Boot-foot waders allow you to purchase both boot and wader in one, which make them convenient and affordable. Wading soles come in a variety of materials such as felt, rubber, hiking, and studded soles, for different underwater terrain. Stocking foot waders are meant to be paired with a waterproof wading boot. It is up to the fisherman which option is best suited for their preferred type of fishing.

Waders are meant to enhance your fishing experience while keeping you dry and comfortable, not hinder it. It is important to find the right wader for the conditions in which you’ll be fishing. It is also important to rinse (especially if you fish in salt or brackish water) and hang dry your waders after each use to insure they don’t mildew.  Make sure to store waders that are completely dry, in a cool, dry space free of direct sunlight.


Wading Around For Spring?

Spring is fast approaching and now is the time to check your waders and wading boots to see if you need to replace your old ones or upgrade them.  Bass Pro Shops in Independence, MO has a wide selection of waders and wading shoes to accommodate a variety of outdoor activities.  Whether you are trout fishing at the trout parks in the Ozarks or crossing a small creek to get to your favorite turkey hunting area we have many options for you. 

If you haven't been in to our store for awhile come in and browse around and see what we have to offer.  We have stocking foot chest wader/wading boot combinations that can accommodate various needs.  Some of the wading boots even have interchangeable soles you can instantly switch to adjust to the terrain you are walking on.  We carry various waders made with either breathable, neoprene or 3-ply canvas material.  And if you want the basic cleated boot wader we also have them in chest and hip waders.

If you would like to make your outdoor experience more enjoyable then consider our assortment of wader accessories.  For example, if your clothing pant legs move around in your waders and make you uncomfortable we have pant keepers that will help hold them in place.

Or if you need a wading staff to help you walk across the rocks in the water we have one of those also.

We also have various tall socks if you need to add warmth or cushion your feet.

So come in to the Independence Bass Pro Shops and check out what we have to make you next outdoor adventure enjoyable.






Harkers Island for some Redheads

I just recently I got back from what has become an annual duck hunting trip out to Harkers Island, NC. We were hunting on the Core Sound (pictured below) in search of some Red Heads.

Core Sound

The Core Sound is located in Carteret County. South of popular fishing in Hatteras, Okracoke and the Pamilico Sound.

Core Sound Map

Like many old communities on the Southern coast, Harkers Island is undergoing a transformation. People from elsewhere in the state and country are arriving and buying land on the island, building summer houses or settling in as year-round residents. Fishing and hunting and boatbuilding no longer form the core of Harkers Island’s daily life,but rest assured the duck hunting is still as good as yesteryear!

Historical Waterfowl hunting

Photo credits: Harkers Island; photo by Roger Haile. In Carteret County, and hunting party aboard a menhaden boat; photos in the collection of the Core Sound Waterfowl Museum.

The Core Sound Waterfowl Museum, at the southeastern tip of the island where Shell Point juts into Core Sound, provides a snug haven for the centuries’ old traditions of these maritime communities. The museum serves as a center for the preservation and documentation of the region’s material culture, and a gathering place where Down Easterners celebrate and renew old ties.

Museum exhibits display beautiful historical and modern-day examples of the region’s finest decoy carving, as well as handmade nets, crab pots, and other tools of the region’s trades, all of which require a high level of skill and experience to make. Exhibits lovingly showcase the daily lives of their hardy forebears, with handcrafts like quilts and tatting, implements of their various maritime occupations, family letters, sports regalia, and many other treasured items.

Given the history of this region and the success of our trips, Harkers Island will no doubt remain an annual staple in our duck hunting season.

Pictured Below one of the first Red Heads harvested during our trip.

Red Head

This trip we ended up having some extremely cold weather to deal with and I was concerned I did not have enough gear and clothing to stay warm and be able to truly enjoy the trip.

I am extremely cold natured but when I checked the weather after hunting Tuesday only to find that they had changed low yet again to bone chilling 8 degrees wind chill, I was worried to say the least.

This was by far the coldest weather I have hunted in yet since I was born and raised right here in North Carolina and temperatures like this are really not that common.

Some of the clothing I used:

Our premier base layering system, RedHead Enduraskin Long-Sleeve Cold Mock Shirt for Men features AXE Anti-Odor Technology and extra-thick 4-way stretch fabric that is ideal as a base layer in cold temperatures. Moisture-wicking, quick-drying, easy care 82% polyester/18% spande

480 gm, 100% polyster spun fleece fits snugly against your skin yet stretches easily to allow for walking and bending. Elastic waist and handy rear zippered pocket. Gives you total moisture control in all types of waders, keeping you completely dry!

Made with 100% waterproof, windproof, breathable Refuge HS with HyperShield 2.0 Technology, the Drake Waterfowl Systems MST Eqwader Plus 1/4-Zip Long-Sleeve Shirt for Men features pullover style with placket-length zipper for easy on/off, fleece-lining, taped seams, midchest adjustment, neoprene cuffs, magnetic call pouch, and zippered security pockets.

RedHead Waders deliver 100% waterproof protection for the entire family. The flexible 3.5mm neoprene construction traps and holds body heat to give you a shield from the chill of the water. The wader's durable ozone-resistant rubber boots are lined with 600 gram Thinsulate Ultra Insulation to keep your feet warm. Adjustable nylon shoulder straps with quick-release buckles and nylon wading belt help provide a comfortable, customized fit.

 Wader Jacket is a shorter version of our 4-in-1 Parka in a warm waist-length style with elastic bottom for wearing over your waders. The jacket features a 100% waterproof/breathable Bone-Dry membrane; 150 gram ThermoLite Insulation in the body, 100 gram ThermoLite Insulation in the hood and arms; Taslon oxford shell; Ripstop-oxford honeycomb fabric at shoulders and articulated elbows; double storm flap with rain drain; lined collar with chin flap; 3-piece hood; side-seam adjusters; hook 'n' loop cuffs with neoprene barriers; 2 large snap-close cargo pockets; magnetic-closure chest pockets with hidden drainage; lined hand warmers; and license loop. The liner features a water-resistant nylon camo with 100% poly microfiber lining which reverses to brown; built-in shell holders; knit wrists; elastic waistband; micro tricot-lined hand warmers; and 150 gram ThermoLite insulation. Mesh ambidextrious shooting pad pocket with shooting pad included.  

Our Cold Weather System—C.W.S.—is your shield from the full frontal assault that mother nature can unleash in the coldest months of the year, and it will soon become your favorite cold weather system. In driving sleet and blinding snow, you'll stay warm, dry, and comfortable while you stalk your prey. The quiet, waterproof/breathable warp knit suede The quiet, waterproof/breathable warp knit suede features our BONE-DRY 100% waterproof, windproof, breathable membrane, a technical barrier to pounding moisture that also lets your body exhaust perspiration, increasing your comfort level while hunting in inclement weather. C.W.S Bibs feature ultra quiet, waterproof, breathable warp knit suede with 150 grams of Thermolite insulation. Features include integrated adjustable stretch suspender system with dual clip release, 2 front waterproof lock down zipper chest pockets, 2 front slash pocket, 2 waterproof lock down zippered cargo pockets, extra wide belt loops, and two 20 inch waterproof lock down slider leg zippers for easy on and off. 60% cotton, 40% polyester.


Thanks to the hunting gear I had with me I will have to say I stayed warm from the boat ride out until we got back to the landing. After looking over all of the gear I had you may think wow that is a lot of clothing and you are right. I think I looked like the Michelin Man walking around on the marsh that day but I was warm and was able to enjoy the hunt instead of being cold and completely miserable.

Group Photo Limit Out

We had a great hunt, almost limited out all three days as a group, enjoyed the great outdoors and got to experience God’s amazing creation. I have used our Red Head hunting clothes for the last thirteen years that I have been working here and they continue to get better and better. Next time you are looking for new hunting clothing make sure to check out our Red Head brand and compare it to the other.

Red Head Logo

     "150 Years in the Outdoors Since 1856"


Just like one of our print ads says, “ Ducks Don’t Care About The Label On Your Camo”.


Happy Hunting,

Dale Rice, Hunting Manager




Staying Toasty in the Frozen North

16 Mile Creek

Winter fishing in the Great Lakes region brings up some problems we don’t normally have down south, namely; snow, ice, and temperatures well below freezing.  Deciding what kind and how much clothing I should take was one of the most pressing problems for me while preparing for my last trip.  And I really don’t care how many pairs of shorts or Columbia short sleeve fishing shirts you put on, standing in freezing water while dressed improperly would be uncomfortable and potentially dangerous.

Getting a new pair of waders made of neoprene would have been a good idea but budgetary constraints wouldn’t allow for a complete refit of equipment.  So looking into some quality layering materials seemed to be the most fiscally responsible route to take for a once every few years type of trip.  Thank to modern technology and layering materials I was able to remain toasty while fishing in temperatures between 14 and 24 degrees.

Now before anyone starts saying that I sound like an info-mertial on TV, I don’t normally write about specific products, but in this case I think they really proved to be worth the money, and a few words of recommendation.

The real trick seemed to be choosing the right combination of clothes starting with a base layer of Redhead Enduraskin, then a layer of Redhead XPS 2.0 Midweight Thermals, a long-sleeved shirt, a sweatshirt, and finally an outer jacket with a quilted liner.  Mobility wasn’t too bad despite six layers trying to maintain a core temperature somewhere above freezing.  I’ve found in subsequent usage that the Redhead shirts make for great casual dress underlayers on cooler days here in Florida.  They insulate well, breathe to allow perspiration out, and are so light that I really don’t notice that I’m wearing anything extra.  The XPS Thermals come in multiple weights allowing you to choose from a 1.0 Baselayer for moderate to cool temperatures, up to a 4.0 Extreme for severe cold and prolonged exposure.

Elk Creek SteelheadMy toes could have been a bit warmer but that was more a function of needing properly sized boots that would have allowed for more effective layering.  So take it from me when I say that you need to allow for additional socks when purchasing boots to go with your stocking foot waders.  Otherwise, my legs were fairly warm inside the waders with a pair of medium weight pants and a layer of 3.0 Expedition weight thermals.

So, hopefully someone will benefit from my recent adventures into the frozen north and can find some quality layering gear that will keep them toasty on even the coldest days on the water or in the field.  Stay comfortable by shopping smart and trade up so some of the modern materials available on the market today.

Brian “Beastman” Eastman

White River Fly Shop

Outdoor World Orlando


Cold Weather Fly Fishing

Cold Weather Fly Fishing

By Lesley Allen

            Winter time is a great time to fly fish. The big fish gather up to spawn and there are usually fewer people out in the rivers. If you are brave enough to go out when it is cold, then you have a much better chance of catching a trophy trout. However, you have to know how to keep warm while you are out there.

            Have you ever heard the phrase, “cotton kills”? Well, it is true when it comes to keeping warm. I never wear cotton socks with my waders. Why? It is simple, if you sweat while wearing cotton you will get cold, and, if your feet get cold, you are miserable. You may even get frost bite. Synthetic or wool blend socks allow you to sweat and wick away the moisture. Wool or synthetic blend socks are very comfortable and often thin enough to wear several pairs at one time if necessary.

            Merino wool or a synthetic fabric also makes for great long underwear. Under Armor and Redhead make some great base layers that are thin but extremely warm. When I wade in the colder months, I usually wear long underwear with a thin pair of fleece pants on top. This enables me to keep very warm and comfortable under my breathable waders. I also wear a long underwear shirt followed by a casting shirt and then a fleece jacket and maybe a wading jacket as well. This way if I begin to get too warm, I can take off a jacket or shirt and still be warm. We carry a great variety of shirts and jackets at Bass Pro as well.

            Just remember to always layer your clothing under your waders. Don’t wear cotton. You should choose a synthetic or wool blended clothing. Take a change of clothes and towel to keep in your car just in case you slip or get wet.  Don’t forget a buff or warm hat and a pair of gloves!

            Tight lines!!!



Check out some of our Thermal Collection here at Bass Pro Shops!

Men's: Bass Pro's XPS Thermals & Under Armour Base Layer Thermals


Ladies: Bass Pro's XPS Thermals & Under Armour Base Layer Thermals


Ladies: Under Armour


Redhead Canvasback Series, Max 4, Duck Blind

4 in 1 wader jacket

  • Waist length- elastic bottom
  • Usually worn with waders
  • 150 Grams of body insulation
  • 100 grams of arm insulation
  • Bone dry
  • Storm Flap- rain drain
  • Microtrcot lined collar and chin flap
  • Detachable hood
  • Waterproof hook n loop cuffs
  • 2 large cargo pockets, lined hand-warmers
  • Magnetic shell holder
  • Reinforced shoulders
  • Articulated elbows-ripstop fabric lined Thinsulate
  • Machines washable

Parka with Liner

  • Bone dry
  • Longer length than the wader
  • Liner 150 Grams thinsulate reversible
  • Water resistant nylon 100% polyester lining
  • Built in shell shoulders
  • Knit wrists
  • Elastic waist band
  • Machine washable
  • Magnetic closure on pockets
  • Insulated hood with soft visor
  • Invisible game call pocket
  • Inner security pocket
  • Machine washable



Canvasback Bib

  • 2 way zippers, storm flaps
  • 150 Grams insulation
  • Bone Dry
  • 2 chest pockets, 2 accessory pockets
  • 2 cargo pockets, 1 back pocket
  • No slip shoulder adjustable sharps
  • Full length size sips with covers
  • Machine washable

Canvasback Pant

  • Non-insulated pants
  • Elastic waist- gap shits
  • Belt loops
  • Knee high leg zips
  • 100 polyester
  • Machine washable
  • High stress area reinforced
  • Rear pocket with zip

Under Armor Hunting Clothing

Sky-sweeper System Jacket

  • Waterproof, breathable, cold gear
  • Ability to wear under waders
  • Warm, light weight
  • Loose fit
    • Range of motion
    • Encourages warm air to circulate
  • Adjustable, removable hood
  • 100% Polyester outer shell and fleece lining
  • Magnetic Storage pocket
  • Slash hand-warmer pockets
  • Machine washable

Sky-sweeper hoody

  • Light weight, windproof
  • Loose fit- movement freedom
  • Max warmth without bulk
  • Body soft wind proof poly fleece
  • Arms, shoulders, hood- waterproof polyester fabric
  • Kangaroo pockets- hand-warmer
  • Storage pocket- magnetic closure
  • Wader tab
  • Machine washable

Sky-Sweeper Wader Pant

  • Warm, breathable pant to wear under waders
  • Lightweight
  • 100% polyester, 200wt cold gear
  • Moisture wicking
  • Foot stirrups
  • Machine washable

Redhead Canvasback Series, Max 4- Duck Blind

Redhead Canvasback Series, Max 4, Duck Blind

4 in 1 wader jacket

  • Waist length- elastic bottom
  • Usually worn with waders
  • 150 Grams of body insulation
  • 100 grams of arm insulation
  • Bone dry
  • Storm Flap- rain drain
  • Microtrcot lined collar and chin flap
  • Detachable hood
  • Waterproof hook n loop cuffs
  • 2 large cargo pockets, lined hand-warmers
  • Magnetic shell holder
  • Reinforced shoulders
  • Articulated elbows-ripstop fabric lined Thinsulate
  • Machines washable

Parka with Liner

  • Bone dry
  • Longer length than the wader
  • Liner 150 Grams thinsulate reversible
  • Water resistant nylon 100% polyester lining
  • Built in shell shoulders
  • Knit wrists
  • Elastic waist band
  • Machine washable
  • Magnetic closure on pockets
  • Insulated hood with soft visor
  • Invisible game call pocket
  • Inner security pocket
  • Machine washable






Canvasback Bib

  • 2 way zippers, storm flaps
  • 150 Grams insulation
  • Bone Dry
  • 2 chest pockets, 2 accessory pockets
  • 2 cargo pockets, 1 back pocket
  • No slip shoulder adjustable sharps
  • Full length size sips with covers
  • Machine washable

Canvasback Pant

  • Non-insulated pants
  • Elastic waist- gap shits
  • Belt loops
  • Knee high leg zips
  • 100 polyester
  • Machine washable
  • High stress area reinforced
  • Rear pocket with zip

Browning Hunting Clothing

Dirty Bird Vari-Tech Jacket

  • Pre-vent, waterproof breathable
  • Fully tapped external seams
  • Primloft insulation-body
  • 3 layer laminate fabric in sleeves
  • Adjustable cuffs
  • 2 upper, 2 lower zippered pockets
  • Detachable draw-cord hood
  • Water resistant zip with storm flaps
  • License tab
  • 100% polyester
  • Max 4
  • Machine Washable
  • Available in Sizes S-3xl

Dirty Bird Wader Pant

  • 2 layer wind, water resistant fabric
  • Single layer below knees, eliminates bulkiness in your wader
  • Hook and loop tabs cuff at ankle
  • Smooth shell fabric allows waders to slide easily & adds range of motion
  • Elastic waistband
  • Rear security pocket, 2 from pockets
  • 100% polyester
  • Machine washable

Fall Hunting Seasons are Approaching, are you Camo Ready?

Fall is an exciting time for hunters. It's when a lot of hunting seasons open up across the country and you need to make sure your camouflage is just as ready for hunting as you are. There are many patterns out there and choosing the right one for your surroundings is paramount in your success in taking home the game animal you are after. The big four here in the south when it comes to camouflage are RealTree AP, Mossy Oak Break-up Infinity, RealTree Max-4 and Mossy Oak Duck Blind.

First let's start with saying you were going to get geared up for your fall deer season. RealTree AP is a widely used pattern here in the south and features a light grey neutral base but also has dark contrasts like shadows to really help blend in. RealTree AP also has mixed pines and dark hardwoods which really covers a wide range of forests. Say you are looking for a little bit of a darker pattern for where you hunt though, Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity would be your camo of choice. Mossy Oak Break-Up Infinity has a soft brown base with highlights of grey, tan, and green thrown in to really break up an hunters silhouette. One great product that comes in both of these patterns is the Scent Blocker Super Freak jacket. The Scent Blocker Super Freak Jacket features SPF 60 Scent Blocker Cold Fusion technology, DWR water repellent fabric, and a safety harness slit in the back which are all features for a good all round hunting jacket for deer hunters whether they are in a tree stand on a pine tree or down in a river bottom hunting behind a ground blind. Another great product that could be paired with the Super Freak Jacket and also comes in both patterns is the Browning Hell's Canyon pants. These pants are quiet, windproof, and also feature Browning's OdorSmart technology for true stealth in the woods whether you are stalk hunting or watching a green plot from a ladder stand.

Scentblocker super freak jacket  browning hell's canyon pants

Next let's say you are getting ready for the upcoming waterfowl seasons. A widely used waterfowl camo is the RealTree Max-4. RealTree Max-4 features plant life such as cattails, cornstalks, sunflowers, oak and maple leaves, and cedar and oak limbs. This camo works great with waterfowl because they simply just ignore those things, it blends whether you are sitting on a river bank waiting for ducks or you are sitting on the edge of a corn field watching a pond for geese. Another great waterfowl pattern is the Mossy Oak Duck Blind. Mossy Oak Duck Blind starts out with dirt colors with different shades to show both wet and dry ground and then is covered with elements of millet, wild oats, corn stalks, Johnson Grass, soybeans and other grasses. These elements really create a 3-D feel and a sense of depth to completely blend in with the background you are using to take down waterfowl. One jacket that can be bought in either of these patterns is the Under Armour Skysweeper Jacket. The Skysweeper has a comfortable styling so it is easy to wear over waders, it features magnetic storage pocket, slash hand warmer pockets, 100% waterproof fabric, shooting shoulder and an adjustable/removable hood. One other great product that can be found in both these camo patterns is the RedHead Bone-Dry Canvasback insulated bibs. These bibs feature a Bone-Dry membrane for 100% waterproof performance while still remaining very breathable. The bibs also feature 150 gram thermolite insulation, plenty of pockets on both front and back, and also have reinforced seat and knees with ripstop honeycomb fabric.

UnderArmour Skysweeper jacket   RedHead CanvasBack insulated bibs

All of these products can be found at your local Bass Pro Shops store or online at basspro.com. Thanks for reading and stay safe hunters.

Ethan Aycox
Bass Pro Shops
Camo Pro Staff
Spanish Fort, AL



Simms Waders Quality You Have To Look At!

Want a great wader that is made in the good old USA?.  Well we have what you need right here at Bass Pro Shop.  The Simms waders are priced at $299.99.  Now you may think this is high, but hang in there a bit before clicking out of this blog.  As you read on you will see what goes into these waders and how the Simms Company stands up against other brands.  You be the judge.

The Simms Company out of Bozeman, Montana uses gore technology to make sure they have the best breathable cloth on the market today.  They incorporate moisture management so you remain comfortable and dry while you enjoy your time fishing.

The Simms Company specialize in waders and jackets.  They test every wader before it leaves the factory to make sure it does not leak at all.  They have been in business for years and it shows with these waders.  Some great features on these waders are:

Anatomically correct left and right foot.  Why is this important?  Most waders have extra neoprene so they can adjust to different sizes and shapes of feet which can uncomfortable.  Simms has no extra neoprene so your feet are always comfortable.

They have built in gravel guards for protection with extra tape on the seals to prevent the kicked up sand and gravel you get while walking in the water.

The sole is durable hypalon.  This evenly distributes your weight and again makes the wear of these extremely comfortable. Which means you may just want to fish longer.

The hand pockets are fleece lined and there is a front pouch to carry whatever you may need.

Simms reinforces the leg areas so if you get entangled in thorns and brush you won't tear.  They articulate the knees for easy walking.  All stress points have added tape reinforced in them for when you sit or stretch.

All the inside seams are sewn, glued, and taped.  They use wider gortex tape than other brands on all seams which makes it impossible to pull apart.

Wader belts are included, but what is nice is they have a belt loop on the back so you won't have any sagging.

Do I still have your attention? Keep reading!

Now for the important information WARRANTY.  This is the only company who will repair their waders.  The first repair is free.  Any other tear or rip other than a small puncture they ask you to return the waders to Simms.  This company stands by their product and want you to continue to use their waders.  Not only do they repair them but they note each return to find out what they did wrong and how they can improve their product even better.  Yes, you pay more but you do get a superior product.

These waders can be worn all year. Yes, this does include the winter.  They keep you warmer in the winter and cooler in the spring and summer. But!  And this is important you much wear the right clothing.  DO NOT WEAR COTTON (JEANS, SWEAT PANTS ETC.) Cotton does not wick moisture, Mike DeTomaso in our Fly Fishing Department at Bass Pro suggests the following:

Winter/Fall   Wicking underware such as Underarmour, or Bass Pro has their brand of polypropylene long underwear.  Heavy Weight giving you more insulation.

Spring/Summer Supplex nylon pants and shirts (Bass Pro has them at a reasonable price by World Wide Sportsman)

One important fact that most people do not do, is they do not wash their waders.  You should wash them one to two times a year depending on how often you use them.  Yes, I said wash them.  Bass Pro sells a detergent for breathable fabric called Revivex.  Soak your waders in your bathtub and put them in the dryer on LOW HEAT.  The heat from the dryer will redistribute the waterproof coating and literally revive them.

Now if I still have your attention after all of this, you must agree that these waders are something that should be looked at seriously.

So stop on in and visit our Fly Shop.  You won't be disappointed!

2                                                  2





       Robin Piedmonte-Events Coordinator





Beat the Heat With Summer Trout Fishing

Fly Fishing

Summer time in Georgia usually means one thing---heat and lots of it.  Although we don’t get the super heat of our nation’s arid areas, it’s still plenty hot enough for me.  When it seems as if you’re on the verge of melting in the humidity as you fish local reservoirs and a boat ride sounds good just to cool off, think about a great alternative.  I’m not talking about kicking back in the living room as the AC blasts a steady climate of 72 degrees.  I’m talking about trout fishing in our north Georgia streams and rivers.  The Department of Natural Resources does a superb job in managing hundreds of miles of  very productive trout fisheries that are just a short drive away.  Imagine yourself on a wide river in the morning as wisps of fog unfurl along the water’s surface.  The telltale rings of rising trout are visible as you plan your next cast.  It seems like you’re on a legendary river in one of our great western states, but this is a typical scene on the Chattahoochee and Toccoa River tail race fisheries.  If you’re interested in catching a lot of trout, these are the places to be.  The waters from Lakes Blue Ridge and Lanier flow very cold below their respective dams.  They create optimum conditions to support trout.  Due to size and popularity, both rivers are heavily stocked throughout the summer months.  Access is easy on both, with the Chattahoochee getting an upper hand for an abundance of public land along the river.  I’ve fished quite a few trout streams in the Appalachians over the years and the Hooch is hard to beat for consistent quality fishing, whether you’re dunking a worm or casting tiny flies.  While I have not personally fished the Toccoa, some seasoned anglers claim the fishing is even better.  Both rivers are fishable as long as water from the upstream reservoirs is not being released.  For water release schedules phone (770)945-1466 for the Chattahoochee and (800)238-2264 (option 4 followed by option 23) for the Toccoa.  Of particular note is the Chattahoochee law that requires life vests to be worn by all persons on the river from Buford Dam to the  Georgia Highway 20 bridge (Yes, I do sound like the recorded message.) which is three miles downstream.  This is for a very good reason.  Know the release schedules and if you hear horns sound, get out of the water immediately.  Some of our streams are managed by special regulations.  For instance, on the Chattahoochee, anglers cannot use live baits below the Highway 20 bridge.  Get up to speed by picking up a copy of the regulations at a local tackle shop or visit www.gofishgeorgia.com

 Choose Bright and Dark Colors for Lures

Fly Fishing

 If you enjoy catching fish on light tackle, trout fishing is a perfect opportunity.  Although some anglers use ultralight rod and reel combos paired with six pound test, four pound string will yield more strikes.  Some avid anglers even use two pound test line.  Spinning tackle is superior in this application although some anglers opt for spincast or underspin outfits for ease of use.  If you’re getting beginners or youngsters into the sport, the latter options are very fine choices because they are easily mastered.  Ultralight rods in the four to five foot range are the norm.  There are some who prefer much longer rods and this includes me.  On larger waters they offer greater casting distance and line control.  I even use a seven foot ultralight model on mountain streams with tight quarters and have no trouble flicking a lure or live bait into a run that might hold a fish or two.  I also prefer a larger reel than most use for light line applications.  Very small reels typically have very small spool diameters.  This means the line has somewhat restricted flow during a cast.  Line flows more easily off a larger diameter spool.  I feel that the heavier reel weight balances the rod tip better as well.  We now have a few smaller reels that boast extra wide spools making them super for light line fishing.  Try an Extreme or Pro Qualifier reel paired with a Micro-Lite spinning rod for a fine set up.  When it comes to line, choose green colors.  This shade best blends in the water for nearly any angling situation.  Fluorocarbon lines have a more invisible light refraction index but can be tough to handle with lighter tackle.  Popular lure types include spinners and minnow shaped plugs.  When it comes to the former, you can’t go wrong with models from Mepps, Panther Martin, or Rooster Tail.  For the latter, look for the brands Rapala and Yo-Zuri.  The myriad of color choices among these categories can seem like a sojourn into Alice in Wonderland.  As a general rule of thumb for spinners, choose a few bright colors and a few darker earth tone and natural insect colors.  For the minnow plugs, the bright colors are fine choices along with brown trout, brook trout, and rainbow trout patterns.  Both lure types are very easy to effectively fish.  Simply cast quartering upstream and retrieve as they swing down with the current.

 Get Hooked on Fly Fishing 

If you really want to have some fun, I recommend fly fishing.  Fly fishing and trout streams were meant for each other.  Using the right techniques, you can often catch more than you would by tossing artificial lures.   Fly fishing has a vastly undeserved reputation as being difficult to master.  At the age of thirteen I self-taught myself how to cast a small popper using the manual that came with my Abu-Garcia fly reel.  This can only mean that anyone can do it.  It opened up a new and very exciting way to catch bluegill and small bass on local farm ponds.  Today’s instructional books and DVD recordings make it easier than ever to get started on the right foot.  A good outfit including line can be had for a very reasonable price.  Pick a floating line as it will serve well for presenting dry flies and weighted subsurface nymphs or streamers.  Fly outfits are classified by weight.  A four or five weight set up with an eight to eight and a half foot rod is a great all around choice for our area.  You’ll want to pick up a few leaders and some tippet material while you’re in the shop.  For our larger fisheries such as the Chattahoochee and Toccoa Rivers, weighted subsurface nymphs and streamers will produce the most fish day after day. The former often sport metallic bead heads for weight and are fished under strike indicators.  A bushy dry fly can make a fine strike indicator as well.  As a bonus, aggressive trout will often smash the surface fly.  To be effective, nymphs are fished with a drag free drift; that is to say they need to move with the same speed as the current versus ripping along at a faster pace.  A technique called “mending” during a drift adds more productive drag free time to the presentation.  Streamers are hugely fun to fish and work very well on larger waters.  Simply cast quartering upstream as you would a spinner or plug and retrieve with sharp tugs as the fly swings down and through its final downstream arc.  When on smaller streams, I’m nearly always fishing a dry fly.  There’s nothing quite like anticipating the surface strike as it drifts through a run and watching as a hungry trout slashes to take it.  It only gets better when you’ve constructed and tied that fly yourself.  As with the weighted nymphs, dries are most productive when cast mostly upstream and given drag free drifts.  If you’ve hesitated to wade in the fly fishing world, do a little research and you could become hooked. 

 Float Tubes Expand Your Reach


 It’s worth merit to discuss accessories and other things that will make your time on rivers and streams more enjoyable, efficient, and productive.  The first thing is a handy tool that includes precision line clippers and a device for tying a nail knot used for connecting leader to fly line.  On another front, a valid question is does one opt for waders or go without?  While angling on small streams you’ll seldom be in water above your knee or mid-thigh and the cool water along with shade is really nice on a hot summer day.  The two prominent large rivers mentioned herein are a different story.  Their waters are colder than mountain streams and waders are a must.  Sweat pants or fleece models worn underneath provide a welcome layer of insulation.  These days, most anglers wear lightweight and breathable stocking foot style waders.  These are designed to be worn with wading boots.  Boots will provide an extra measure of ankle support while negotiating across slippery rocks.  With thick socks worn to compensate for waders, wading boots make excellent choices for small streams as well.  Floating larger rivers provides yet another dimension to the angling experience.  The small investment of a float tube will actually contribute to safer wading and open up areas that are inaccessible to many.  On a larger scale, when paired with a friend or two and a downstream take out vehicle, a tube enables you to explore miles of water.  Remember that a float tube does not meet the qualification of a life vest.  Speaking of vests, a fishing vest is your wearable tackle box on these river and stream expeditions.  Multiple pockets make convenient storage for small boxes of flies, leaders, bug spray, water bottles, and your lunch of course.  And what could be finer than taking a lunch break while sitting on a rock and listening to the sound of moving water as you contemplate angling adventures that lie around the next bend?  In closing, I’m going to state that even in this age of the catch and release ethic, it’s morally okay to eat trout.  They’re delicious when breaded in seasoned flour and fried or cooked on the grill in foil with lemon, butter, and herbs.  I will keep trout from streams that are regularly stocked.  This use is one of the purposes for plentiful stockings in public areas.  If a fish’s color is exceptionally bright along with long fins, I release it.  This is typically a wild trout and should be preserved.  In closing, I hope you’ll take a relaxing break and give our abundant trout populations some attention this summer.  It’s a perfect way to cool off, unwind, and get back in touch with nature.  Until next month, take care and have a wonderful summer!


Fishing Footwear

 It’s that time of year again to start getting geared up for Fishing. With the Fishing Classic going on I want to take a moment to share some insight on the “Other” Gear you need besides your rod, reel and bait. With the large interest in Trout Fishing in East Tennessee waders and wading shoes are essentials to an enjoyable experience. They are as important as your fly rod and flies; not only for Fly fishing but any type of river, stream or brook fishing. Waders provide you with the way to get into the action instead of just bank fishing. Depending on the time of year you do the majority of your fishing will determine what type of waders you will need. Also waders come in two styles, one with an attached boot or one with a stocking foot. Lightweight breathable waders are perfect for late spring, summer and early fall fishing. My personal favorite is the White River front pocket stocking foot waders. They are perfect for any type of fishing you are planning this year. They are made of a strong nylon fabric with plenty of room to accommodate additional clothing underneath, such as wader pants and wading socks. I really like the front pocket with it zipper closing the pocket so you don’t lose you valuables and allows easy access to your tools of the trade such as baits and flies and your clippers. At $149.99 they are a great value and I would put them up against any waders made by Simms or Orvis for quality. As you may know those brands of waders can run you from $200.00 to over $400.00 depending on they style you want. An even better value during the fishing classic you can purchase these waders for only $99.97, now that is an extreme savings on a dependable, durable and perfect wader.

For the year round fisherman you may want to invest a little more and purchase another style of waders for the colder months of the year. A neoprene wader from Bass Pro Shops provides you warmth and comfort. The standard type of neoprene wader is the 3.5mm brown stocking foot wader by Redhead. Retailing at $79.99 this is a great value. There are also other types of neoprene waders, depending on how cold the weather outside is may influence your choice of thickness of neoprene, the thicker the better for warmth. The thickest we carry here at Bass Pro Shops is the extreme neoprene wader; at 7mm this is very durable and strong. It also comes equipped with a boot with 1000 grams of thinsulate to keep those feet warm. In two camo patterns, Mossy Oak Break Up and Max4, this is perfect of those of us who enjoy Waterfowl hunting. Retailing at $199.99 this is a great value. If you are trout or small mouth fishing you can get by with the 3.5mm neoprene.

To go with those new waders you just purchased we have on hand multiple styles of wading boots to fit your needs. Again depending on the type of fishing you are doing, or to be more precise the type of body of water you are fishing in you can go with a cleated sole boot or a felt sole boot. The river bottom will determine which boot fits you need better. When fishing in a muddy bottom river the cleated sole boot will provide you with the traction you need. When heading in to rocky bottom rivers and streams the felt bottom boot provided you with more traction that the cleated bottom. They most economical boot we carry here at Bass Pro Shops is the Redhead wading boot retailing at $39.99. This boot comes in either cleated or felt. If you’re like me and fish both types of rivers, instead of purchasing two types of boots you can purchase the Korkers style of boot. This company makes in my opinion the best boot and shoes for fishing on the market today. With its interchangeable soles (Yes they provide you with two pairs of soles) you get the best of both worlds. Retailing at $109.99, they are truly the best wading boot I have ever wore and are my personal preference when I trout fish.

So now you have purchased your waders and wading boots. You may ask what ‘Other” Gear am I going to need. Aside from heading to our fishing department and getting expert advice on your rod and reel purchase, you will need to get a great wading stick. The White River brand exclusive to Bass Pro Shops makes the best folding wading stick I have ever used. It also comes in a case so you can carry with you attached around your waist belt.

Well now I have you dressed for one of the best adventures you can have in the outdoors, in closing I would like to say one last thing. Remember to be safe out there. When you are fishing alone make sure you tell someone where you will be and when you plan to return. Keep in mind that you are fishing in the river not next to the river and anything can happen. If you happen to fall into the river don’t panic. Yes your waders will fill up with water. Remain calm and simply detach the shoulder straps and slide out of your waders. And lastly when you decide to make your gear purchases come by and see us in the footwear department, one of our knowledgeable associates will be more than happy to show you what type of gear you need. Thanks for your time and no matter what type of adventures you have planned this year, be safe and enjoy it as much as you possibly can.


Lee D. Bridges

Footwear Team Lead

Bass Pro Shops

Sevierville, TN



Shop Bass Pro Shop Rancho Cucamonga for all your waterfowl accessories.
Team up with Bass Pro Shops Rancho Cucamonga (Team Waterfowler) on the 1,2,3, steps of waterfowl hunting.

           TEAM WATERFOWL: Russell Freehling, Sandoe Debreceni, Justin Wold, Freddie Washington

(Left to Right: Russell Freehling, Sandor Debreceni, Justin Wold and Freddie Washington)

Bass Pro Shops has a large selection of waterfowl decoys and calls.

Decoys & Calls:      

  • Greenwing & Bluewing Teal
  • Ringneck
  • Mallard
  • Gadwall
  • Wigeon
  • Pintail
  • Also Geese decoys


In the early morning hours, under a shower of falling stars, team member Sandor and Russell  spread decoys for the morning hunt.   

SPREADING OF DECOYS: Sandor and Russell

WADER: Chest, Hips, Pants


You'll also need a good pair of Waders to retrieve downed birds and set decoys.

RETRIEVING DOWN BIRD: Russell Freehling          RETRIEVING DOWNED BIRD: Sandor Debreceni

( Russell Freehling and Sandor Debreceni retrieve downed birds)

BLINDS: Layout, Netting

Layout Blind       CAMO NETTING BLIND  

     Team Waterfowl Blind

Sandor and Russell build a blind from sounding brush and camo netting.  



Many more brands to choose.

The above combination will help in the success of your hunt, and creating memories of a lifetime.
Russell Freehling  Justin Wold
Russell Freehling with snow goose, while Justin Wold take aim on incoming birds.

Sandor Debreceni
Oh! what a day. Sandor Debreceni with the days harvest.

At Bass Pro Shops it is our goal to provide you with all of your hunting and outdoor needs, and associates in each department are knowledgeable and eager to assist. 

Remember at Bass Pro Shop Rancho Cucamonga we're "Sitting on Top of The World" to provide all your outdoor needs, and "We all live down stream".

Freddie Washington
Hunting Associate / Hunter Education Instructor
Bass Pro Shops Rancho Cucamonga, California


Essential Gear for Duck Hunting

Essential Gear for Duck Hunting Part 1


Duck hunting is now a primary focal point for many hunters and will continue to be well into some of the coldest conditions of the year. Being properly prepared and equipped can be instrumental in helping to insure a comfortable and successful duck hunt. Ducks are extremely wary and have excellent eyesight so it is imperative that you be well camouflaged. It is also important to be warm and protected from the elements when you are out duck hunting since some of the best duck hunting occurs during the worst weather conditions.


For the coldest weather a good weatherproof coat is a real must. A good choice would be the RedHead Bone Dry Canvasback 4in1 wader jacket in Mossy oak Duck Blind or Realtree Max 4. Another good choice might be the Onyx Arctic Shield waterfowl Parka in Realtree Max 4. For more moderate temperatures you might want to go with something like the Drake Waterfowl Systems MST Waterfowl Fleece Lined Jacket or perhaps the Whitewater Ducks Unlimited Wind Blocker Jacket.

Jacket 1  Jacket 2  Jacket 3  Jacket 4     


A good pair of gloves is also essential for duck hunting with warmth and waterproof being of prime importance. If you will be handling decoys a good choice would be the RedHead Cold Weather Decoy Gloves or another good all around choice would be the Arctic Shield Camp Gloves.


Gloves 1                                   Gloves 2


Another essential part of a duck hunter’s gear is a good pair of insulated waders. Standing in cold water or in an half frozen marsh requires a good pair of warm waders to keep you warm and comfortable. It is hard to enjoy duck hunting if you are shivering in your boots. To insure that your feet and legs stay warm the RedHead Bone Dry Extreme waders is a good choice. Another good choice would be the LaCrosse Brush Tuff Insulated boot foot waders. 

Waders 1                    Waders 2


If you are not hunting in real wet conditions then the choice would probably be more towards some camo pants and a good pair of insulated waterproof camo hunting boots

Choice of hats basically depends on the preference of the person but the important point is that it should be camo irrespective of the style.


Another piece of equipment which is very useful under certain hunting conditions would be a blind of some sort. There are a couple of good choices here. Under relatively dry conditions a layout blind might be a good choice such as the RedHead Deluxe Layout Blind or perhaps the Hard Core Decoy Man Cave Layout Blind, or possibly the Hunter’s Specialties Hitman Layout Blind all of which are designed to bring the ducks in close.

Blind 1         Blind 2        Blind 3


There is a lot more gear that will be essential to successful duck hunting and these items will be dealt with in upcoming blogs.


Hunt safe,

Don Nelson

Bass Pro Shops



Fly Fishing Myth Busters

The pre-dawn Sun bruises the dark horizon with the first promise of light as mist whispers over the water and an oriole chirps at the coming day.  Gurgling water trips pleasantly over smooth river stones as it steadily moves past a wader-clad fly fisher while he ties on a tiny dry fly. This could easily be a scene right out of Hollywood or straight off of a magazine cover. 

How could such a wonderful new day present any kind of problem? Well it certainly isn’t an issue for the fisher who is there on our imaginary stream, but how about the millions of fisher folk who don’t live close to gold medal trout streams? Hollywood has etched a message into our heads that fly fishing is just with size 20 floating flies and it’s just for trout.

There are literally millions of fisher folk across America who think of fly fishing as an elitist pursuit of tiny fish with a flimsy pole while wearing rubber pants in cold water. Well, part of that might be true, however, our mission here in the White River Fly Shop at Bass Pro Shops of Garland, Texas is to see to it that no potential fisher person is left out of the fun of fly fishing. The list of fish that can be challenged with a fly rod are almost as long as the book on fishes of the world itself.

Over the coming months we’ll be clearing up a few old stereotypes about the oldest form of sport fishing. We’ll also discuss, in plain language, how to rig up for, bass, crappie, bream, northerns, redfish, speckled trout and just about any finny critter you might care to tangle with.

Here are a few of the myths we plan to shed some light on. “ Fly fishing is hard.” For now we’ll just answer that with another question. If it’s hard then why do so many folks with gray hair have such big smiles?

  • “I’m not a fly fisherman, I’m a bass fisherman.” We’ll discuss rods, reels, line and flies that catch bass on some days when the best conventional gear just doesn’t have the presentation required by your personal finicky fish on your favorite water.
  • “Fly fishing is expensive.”   Yes, it can be, but it does not need to be. You can get a fully rigged Dogwood Canyon fly fishing outfit for under a hundred bucks. There are rods for every pocketbook. We’ll go over some great choices for your wants, needs, desires and investment level.
  • “You can’t set a hook with that floppy fishing rod.”   We hear that one all the time. I do a demonstration in our weekly free casting classes that make our maintenance folks cringe. This demo involves dragging furniture around with a fly rod. I usually use a 4 weight, they hate it when I use an 8 weight…damages the furniture you know.

Tight Loops and Lines!
Bill Sankey  
Fishing Lead
Bass Pro Shop/Garland, Tx


Summer Trout Tactics

By Michael D. Faw

Mid-Summer Trout Tactics

When temperatures rise, state fish departments take quick action to protect trout. If you're planning a fishing trip to a western watershed during the heat of the summer, come with a backup plan.

The mercury in the thermometer has swollen to nearly reach the 100-degree mark, and the sun is bearing down unmercifully as you stand by the river's edge. Your annual fly-fishing vacation is underway, but you're faced with high heat, mandatory stream closures by the state's fish department and uncooperative trout. Even more discouraging, you've driven half-way across America to go fly fishing. Now what do you do?

There are several ways to beat the heat when pursuing summer trout. Try heading upstream to higher altitudes and you'll find cooler waters. Fish during the early morning hours while avoiding the midday. If you're flexible with your plans, you could try heading to another watershed. Yes, you can still fly fish in many areas on hot summer days. The fish are there, and they've adapted. So must you.

Moving On Up

When temperatures rise, state fish departments take quick action to protect the trout, an important economic asset for many leading vacation destinations in the West. In addition to requiring the release of chilling, deep-bottom lake water to cool river temperatures, states also restrict angler actions that could cause undue stress on trout. Stream closures have become a given in recent years, and Montana -- one of the nation's most popular fly fishing destinations -- seems to lead the way in restricting or stopping angler action when temperatures soar.

Montana and other popular fishing destination states have often closed major, well-known rivers during the hot summer days -- and at the peak of the vacationing angler period. Outfitters, guides and fishing clients made plans months ago, but now the rules have changed. And while widely recognized rivers like the Firehole, Madison, Gallatin, Yellowstone, Big Hole and others were closed to anglers this summer, many other waters were open at higher altitudes. Among them were the headwaters in Yellowstone Park and on the Gallatin River.

Mid-Summer Trout Tactics

Higher elevations mean smaller streams and cooler water temperatures. Mountain springs near headwaters usually equate to ideal conditions for trout.

To get the most up-to-date details and to make or alter your angling plans, visit Web sites that provide details of the area you'll visit. Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks have Web sites that cover closed -- and open -- areas during high-heat periods. You can also call the fisheries department headquarters or regional offices in most states. As a last resort, contact guides and outfitters in the region, but note that details can change while you are en route to the region.  

As a general rule, higher elevations mean smaller streams and cooler water temperatures. Exposure to warm air and sunlight heats water, and high water temperatures stress trout. Mountain springs near the headwaters seep or pour forth very cold water, which means ideal conditions for fish. The ideal trout temperatures are from 50 to 65-degrees Fahrenheit. Anything much warmer -- and for extended periods -- often means floating fish that will never bite again or sluggish, barely-surviving fish that will not bite anything anytime soon. And if your pocket thermometer indicates the water has reached 70F, do everyone a favor and leave the fish alone.

Water temperatures, however, also play an important role in helping you discover where trout might be lurking. If temperatures become too warm, fish migrate or head to the bottom of the deepest pools. Take the temperature reading in several areas to get an understanding of the BIG picture.

Go Early, Go Late

For the rivers that are open during summer months, some have restrictions on available angling hours. For example, allowing angling from 5 a.m. to 2 p.m. seems to be the norm.  (Ok, so you wanted to sleep in late on your vacation. You also wanted to catch trout, didn't you?) Rise early and fish furiously.

The break of dawn is also the feeding hour for many trout on summer days. Spent Tricos falling back to the water surface cause fish in much of North America to start feeding. Blue-wing olives can also be spotted with other mayflies on a local basis.

Lower temperatures, as well as shade or subdued lighting, can also mean that big browns are still on the prowl -- and catchable. Bright, overhead sunlight can make trout easier noticed by predators like ospreys and eagles, so the fish head into cover. Go to the waters early, and walk about 30 minutes along the river to scout for food sources and feeding fish before you start casting.

Remember also that after the morning's chill is chased and replaced by rapidly warming air, grasshoppers become active. One thing that can make any hot summer day in the West more bearable is the hopper season -- or what the local's call "hoppertunity." When clouds of hoppers flutter up from the grasses along a body of water, skip lunch and start fishing. You have limited time and lots of water to cover after tying on a hopper pattern.

Mid-Summer Trout Tactics

Consider wet wading and let the cool water work for you. Don shorts and your regular wading boots worn over thick socks.

On many waters, the last hour of the day can mean furious trout feeding action. You'll need to be in a favorite pool of water or standing by an inviting stretch of river or stream to witness this phenomenon. Late day feeding can be the essence of summer fly fishing -- and catching. Record high temperature readings cannot suppress the summer lifecycle of most aquatic based insects. Discover the players and take advantage of the look-alike flies.

Dress for the Temps

In addition to searching for colder water to find active trout, you owe it to yourself to stay cool. Remember the well-known angler tenet: the more comfortable you are, the longer you're likely to be active and casting.

Another important rule in the West is to stay well hydrated. Start this by consciously increasing your water consumption as you begin the day. A cooler with ice and bottled water or sports drinks can be the best solution. Alcohol or coffee can work against your hydration efforts.

For personal comfort, apply sunblocker to exposed skin and lips. Nothing is quite as painful as sunburned lips. Also, cover your head with a hat that has a complete brim. It'll keep the scorching sun off your neck and ears as well as out of your eyes.

In your efforts to remain cool, consider wet wading. Don short pants and your regular wading boots worn over thick socks. Let the cooler water work for you. And if you absolutely must have something between you and the water, wear lightweight, breathable waders.

Another fashion tactic to help your body release or repel heat is to wear a mesh fly vest. Even better would be donning a chest pack. Bass Pro carries various models them from Simms, White River and other manufacturers.

Under your chest pack or vest, wear a very breathable shirt, possibly with a vented back. I like the new Flats Guide long-sleeve shirt offered by Under Armour. It kept me cool on 90-degree days in the Madison Valley.

Remember; the trout exist, but the rules have changed when summer temperatures soar. You must adapt if you want to hook and land a trout. Good luck!


Wade Fishing Saltwater

By Capt. Joe Richard

Wading Saltwater for Redfish90
Wade fishing gets you up close and personal with the fish you pursue.

When it comes to fishing, wading is the ultimate contact with nature. Shuffling along through the water, you get a feel for the elements -- current, bottom consistency, water temperature -- and with the local bay's residents. The rewards can be great, but make a mistake out here and you might be punished by nature. More on that later.     

Wading has its financial rewards, too. If you're wading, you aren't burning gas. There are perfectly sane people out there who prefer to wade simply because they like a meditative Zen sort of fishing. Or they've refrained from owning or using a boat, which has never been more costly. They watch the regular crowd speed by in their $30,000 bay boats, getting maybe two miles to the gallon, and smile a little.  

I got a serious refresher course in wading recently, after spending the day with a Florida guide named Dr. John Leibach of Gainesville, who prowls the Gulf's Big Bend region as Raptor Guide Service. John wade fishes Texas-style, wearing waders all day. He drives an airboat over water too shallow for prop-driven boats, water pocked with oyster reefs and mined with abandoned crab traps that turn rock solid with marine growth -- a true hazard for outboard engines. When John reaches a honeyhole, he anchors and bails out, trudging away with a bait bucket brimming with choice items -- live pinfish, finger mullet and marsh minnows. He also carries a second rod with a trout plug attached, mounted in a rod belt for quick access.

Wading Saltwater
Many anglers jump out of perfectly dry boats to wade fish, sometimes in shoulder-deep water.

We saw few boats that day and no other waders, save for the veterans on our airboat. As John explained, "Most boaters around here make a drift, and then try somewhere else." Meanwhile, we anchored and fished each favorite shell bar or grassy shoreline very thoroughly. Incredibly, we landed 55 slot-sized redfish and five seatrout, one of them the biggest trout in a number of years, caught by Richard Scarborough. Mix in five blacktip sharks and a few gafftop catfish, and it was the best six hours of wading action I've seen in a decade. If I hadn't taken 500 photos, hardly fished, and constantly stopped anglers to pose with their fish, our total would have certainly been higher.   

At our first stop on a shell reef bar, I nailed a 26-inch redfish on a Rapala X-Rap plug, using spin gear with only 8-pound line. It was a dicey battle in oyster reef country, but this reef was fairly flat with dead shell and no outcroppings of live shell that so easily cuts lines. Oysters are cruel and patient, and they can be hard on anglers and equipment. But they represent an entire ecosystem and gamefish love hanging around them. With my redfish securely on John's stringer, it was easier to sling the rod over a shoulder and start taking pictures.       

These guys had picked a day where the tide was low about 9:20 a.m. and would slowly flood reefs and shorelines until almost 4 p.m. They stocked up the livewell with pinfish from traps set out the night before, and then we castnetted a low-tide beach where baitfish skittered in thin water that couldn't hide them. His big livewell in the boat suitably stocked with bait, we headed out to fish as the tide began pouring in, rising 3.7 feet. We all knew that gamefish ease in close to shore with a rising tide, and that's where we met them, but prowling around on foot. Often we were wading in flooded grass on a shoreline, and that's where most of the fish were.

I didn't have neoprene waders, just the high-top Keds that protect ankles and feet. I also wore a pair of doctor's scrub pants, pulled over shorts. Add a long-sleeve Columbia Wear shirt, fishing hat with earflaps and nylon sun gloves, and I didn't collect a dime's worth of sun the entire day. A little SPF 75 sunscreen on the face certainly helped.

Wading Saltwater Seatrout
Seatrout and other gamefish ease in close to shore with a rising tide. Flooded grass around the shoreline has excellent wade-fishing potential.  

The fish just kept hitting, and sometimes all three guys were hooked up at once. Dr. John reared back on one fish that made a 10-foot wide splash, and then cruised away like a Mack truck. With 100 yards of line out, we began glancing towards the airboat...could we climb aboard and fire it up in the next 30 seconds? At that moment his 30-pound braid line broke. It was a huge critter of some kind, and that episode left us uneasy...but we were safely up in flooded grass with the boat, after all, where it could never reach us.

Wade fishermen are present in Florida, but aside from Atlantic beaches, there are vast stretches where you seldom (if ever) see them. The sport just hasn't caught on in some areas. Or the bottom is too muddy to wade. In my area the bottom is firm, but boaters prefer to drift-fish over grass and sand bottom.  

In Texas, it's different. That's where many anglers jump out of perfectly dry boats and wade off, sometimes in shoulder-deep water during summer. Wading is more stealthy and they sneak up on bigger fish, without the telltale slap-slap of a boat hull that warns big trout that danger is near. In fact, most "trophy trout," as they're called in Texas, are caught by waders -- including several state records. 

Texas fishermen lead the wading crowd by far compared with other coastal states, and they've evolved over the years. Years ago it was t-shirt, shorts and high-top sneakers, with a Styrofoam pith helmet cluttered with Bingos and Mirrolures and maybe a 30-foot fish stringer to keep sharks at a (semi) safe distance. These guys were pretty salty, their skin often ravaged by the sun. But they caught stringers of trout and redfish that had to be dragged to the car; there were no bag limits in those days.

Wading Salt for Reds

The wise wader will move towards any sign of baitfish, such as jumping mullet, spraying menhaden and diving seabirds.

Today, serious wade fishermen use neoprene waders and boots to ward off chilly tides, oyster cuts, stingray wounds, jellyfish stings and the water-borne, rare but dangerous Vibrio organism, which gets inside even small scrapes and abrasions, causing life-threatening tissue loss within 24 hours. You have to be careful out there and treat any scrapes with hydrogen peroxide or rubbing alcohol back at the boat or car -- whichever comes first. Preventive maintenance.

For those getting into the sport, it's a lot easier to fish with a veteran wader and pick up on the subtle cues these guys use to find fish. How to pick a veteran wader? Watch for economy of motion. These guys don't flail around or waste time. They fire a cast out there, hook a fish and land it without making a fuss, either with or without a landing net. Their artificial baits have caught many fish in the past -- so watch what lure brands and colors they reveal. If they're attached with a cord to a floating bait bucket, they're likely skilled at using a castnet for local live bait.

Lots of empty water to wade. The wise wader, if he doesn't have some proven honey hole in front of him, will move towards any sign of baitfish. That usually means jumping mullet, spraying (or at least popping) menhaden, and diving seabirds.

Wading is more work, but catching a good fish in the elements feels far more rewarding than catching a good fish while standing in a dry boat. And, in this age of exploding gas prices, wading and getting exercise means you aren't burning a drop of gas for hours. (Somewhere an oil company CEO is unhappy about that.) Those guys much prefer you buy a big center console with triple outboards, and go racing 50 miles, looking for kingfish or offshore snapper.

Today's reality is that more fishermen are turning to shallow water and wade fishing options -- tactics that use little or no gas at all.  

Joe Richard is a Gainesville writer and photographer who owns Seafavorites.com, a stock photo website of outdoor photography.


Hunting Gift Guide

By Keith Sutton

Searching for the perfect Christmas gift to give a friend or family member who enjoys hunting? This can seem like a daunting task since such a great variety of products are available, but this guide to holiday shopping can help you get started. Here are some hot items you'll certainly want to consider gift-wrapping this year.


If you really want to make an impression, you can't go wrong with the gift of a new rifle, shotgun or handgun. Most veteran hunters already own one or several, yet all will tell you there's always room for a new caliber, gauge or style in the gun cabinet. A matched pair of collectible British doubles might set you back $40,000 or more. But more budget-conscious shoppers can find firearms that will long be treasured by the lucky hunter starting at just a few hundred dollars.

Archery and Blackpowder Equipment

MuzzleloaderIf you know someone interested in bowhunting, you might ask them to make a list showing some of the specialty items they'd like to find under the tree Christmas morning. The possibilities are almost endless, everything from a brand new bow or crossbow to a new set of arrows or accessories such as broadheads, bow cases, targets, sights, quivers, releases and stabilizers.

The blackpowder enthusiast will probably have some great gift ideas as well. Give something truly special like a new muzzleloading rifle, shotgun or handgun, or keep them well-stocked with commonly used items such as powder, caps, bullets, lubricants and patches. Accessories such as powder measures, flasks, speed loaders and cappers make great stocking stuffers.

Clothing and Footwear

It's hard to go wrong in this department because every hunter always can use a new shirt, pants, outerwear or other item of clothing made especially for hunting.

Cold-weather ApparelCold-weather apparel always is appreciated, anything from a complete insulated waterproof parka system and bib overalls to more moderately priced items such as thermal underwear, gloves, face masks, caps and hats. And the first time they get caught in a downpour, they'll be glad you thought about a gift of new rainwear.

There's clothing made especially for waterfowl hunters and turkey hunters, and specialty items such as scent-control apparel that will put a smile on the face of any big-game hunter. For upland hunters, consider a new vest with game bag and shell holders. And what outdoorsman wouldn't be thrilled to find a new pair of boots or waders under the tree?

Don't forget the ladies and youngsters in the family either. Clothing made just for them is available in a wide variety of camo and blaze-orange patterns.


TreestandIf you have a budding deer hunter in the family, he'll surely appreciate a new treestand where he can get a bird's-eye view of his hunting territory. And hunters who already have stands may need upgrades that include safety features unavailable on many early models.

Choices are many. Ladder stands, which are simply leaned against and secured to a tree, are preferred by many. But climbing stands, which tend to be more compact and lightweight, may be the best selection for those who hunt backcountry or public areas where stands must be carried out daily. Also available are big comfortable tower stands that are more permanent in nature and ideal for hunters who regularly pursue deer on their own property or lease. With prices starting around $70, there's something for every budget. See the "Treestand Buyer's Guide" for more.


A good set of binoculars or a spotting scope aren't necessary for many types of hunting, but they'll be appreciated anyway as they'll provide hours of enjoyment watching wildlife outdoors and at home.

Rifle ScopeA new rifle scope makes a great gift as well, and many hunters wish they had but don't yet own a red-dot or holographic sight for their handgun, slug gun, turkey gun or muzzleloader.

Rangefinders are one of the hottest gifts for today's hunter who wants to improve accuracy on the range and in the field. And your loved one is sure to love you even more if he unwraps a package and finds one of the many new game cameras inside that will capture great photos of deer and other animals on the trails he hunts.


Handheld GPSThe newest technological toys are big hits when it comes to gift giving, even for hunters. Near the top of list would be a handheld GPS unit that will help your hunter get into and out of the backcountry without getting lost, and help him navigate to prime hunting spots on return visits. See "Choosing a Handheld GPS Unit" for more info.

Other electronic options include two-way radios for outdoor communication, electronic predator calls and accessories, electronic collars for hunting dogs, hearing enhancers and weather-alert radios.

ATV Accessories

Does your gift recipient own an ATV? A wide variety of ATV accessories are available, any of which might make a great Christmas gift. Choose from items as diverse as winches, gun racks, bow racks, cargo/storage bags, camouflage covers and tree-stand transporters.

ATV accessoriesOther add-ons include drink holders, halogen trail lights, spotlights, cell phone holders and carts. You can even purchase a passenger cart for some models that permits the rider to carry extra friends or family on a single ATV to their hunting blind. See "Outfitting Your ATV" for more.

Calls and Decoys

Nowadays, there's a call and decoy made for just about every type of game, from deer, elk and predators to waterfowl, turkeys and squirrels. Calls make wonderful stocking stuffers, and when you gift-wrap a dozen duck decoys or a full-body deer decoy, you'll have the gift recipient wondering what that huge package is under the tree.
Hunting and Shooting Accessories

KnivesIf you can't decide on one or two gifts for your favorite hunter, consider buying a daypack or travel bag and stuffing it with a variety of small hunting accessories. Some items to consider include a hunting knife, pocketknife or multi-tool; hunting scents and scent eliminators; ammunition; targets; hearing protection and eye protection; gun-cleaning kitcompass; flashlight or headlamp; first-aid kit; water purifier or shooting glasses.

Books and DVDs

Hunters always are looking for ways to improve their skills, and instructional books and DVDs are very helpful in this regard. Scores of titles are available for hunting sports of all sorts, from bear hunting and waterfowling to archery and dog training. Gift subscriptions to hunting magazines also make superb Christmas presents that will be appreciated year-round.

TentCamping Gear

If none of the above is inspiring, consider camping-related gifts. Options include a new tent, sleeping bag, cot, sleeping pad, lantern, cooler, backpack or camp chair.

Cookery items will be appreciated as well, with much to choose from. A new camp stove can get your chef started, and a camper's kitchen is great for keeping everything organized. Coffee pots, grills, cooking utensils, cast-iron cookware and accessories such as roasting forks, mugs and cookbooks are just a few of the many other items from which to choose.

A Hunting Trip

Big Cedar LodgeFor that really special someone, think about booking an outdoor hunting adventure with a reputable guide or outfitter. The cost may be more affordable than you think, and many options are available, from big-game hunting in remote wilderness areas to family affairs where hunters can spend time with their loved ones enjoying a variety of activities together. A visit to Big Cedar Lodge in the Ozarks near Branson, Missouri, is one option your whole family is sure to remember for years to come.

Gift Cards

And finally, if you still can't decide on the just-right gift, let your hunter make the selection. A gift card stuck in a stocking shows you really care and makes the perfect present for someone who seems to have everything. You pick the dollar amount, and the recipient can redeem the card for online purchases, catalog orders and purchases made in the store. And if you're one of those last-minute shoppers, you can even purchase an E-Gift Card to send a gift almost instantly to your favorite outdoor enthusiast.

This doesn't begin to cover all the hunting-related gifts you'll have to choose from when making selections this holiday season, but for most hunters, it's the thought that counts anyway. No matter what you give this Christmas, you know the person who receives it will be thinking good thoughts of you when they use it.