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Wade Fishing 101

The next 3½ months (December through February) will be the coldest Florida inshore waters get each year. Still, inshore fish species continue to bite through the chill. Wade fishermen statewide can benefit from cold, crystal-clear water and tightly-schooled gamesters such as flounder, pompano, seatrout and redfish.

But what type of waders should Florida inshore fishermen buy? Will one style of wader be sufficient for fishing year-round? What's the best wader material? Florida Sportsman member razorreilly09 asks these questions in a recent thread.

Preferences vary when it comes to wade-fishing and wading style, but here are some helpful tips that most inshore fishermen will find useful:

  • If you already own one pair of waders, stick with them for the winter. During cold weather, neoprene or Gore-Tex material work. Neoprene is a heavy material that does not allow your body to breathe but is a much better insulator from cold waters. Gore-Tex or other breathable materials are better suited for spring and fall temperatures. In winter, wear longjohns or an extra layer underneath your breathable waders to keep warm. In summer, waders are not needed—simply wear a swimsuit and wading booties.

  • In general, chest high waders are the best for Florida waters, especially if a wade fisherman only wants to own a single pair. Hip and waist waders are available too, though not as common or versatile—many anglers fish deep! Chest waders allow you to store a dry case for your keys in a pocket at your chest. Tackle can go there too. Some wade fishermen opt for a wading belt if they fish shallow flats.

  • Don't ever have your bare skin contact or touch the inside of your waders for extended period when fishing—it stinks something awful! So awful in fact that the smell can linger for days like a locker room after a football game. Florida wade-fishermen sweat year-round in their waders. There's no getting around that. That's why breathable waders have become so popular; they are cooler and they are much more comfortable. Many wade fishermen wear longjohns, sweat pants or light nylon pants underneath their waders to prevent stink.

  • Go with stocking foot waders over boot foot waders. A stocking foot allows you to wear different wading boots or soft shoes, depending on the bottom substrate (soft shoe for hard grassflats; boot for oysters and muddy bottom). Wading boots bring reassurance when stingrays are around, though it's still a good idea to watch your step. Boot foot waders have the shoe attached, which is often a weak point and can leak after a few trips. Be sure to wash and dry waders and foot gear at day's end.

  • The cheaper the wader, the sooner it will break down. Consider this when buying. There is repair material for waders, but it can be a hassle to make your waders waterproof once the seal is broken.

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