Ready to Jump Off the Boat

Aaron Cisneros
Ready to Jump Off the Boat
The necessities for wading.
As the school year comes to an end and the hot weather settles in, many teenage kids like me will be ready to hit the water for some fun days of fishing. In this article I want to target young readers and share the excitement of what it’s like to jump off the boat and get your feet wet. Ever catch yourself asking why some people have such nice boats, yet they anchor their boat in some area and jump in the water with all the creatures that live there? Well, let me tell you; wading can be a blast if you have the right equipment.

Let’s start with the reel. I started off with a Zebco push button combo then on to a spinning reel. I got to where I could throw my spinning reel pretty well, but being around adults that used baitcasting reels exclusively got me into thinking I could do it too. I still remember the first time I used a baitcaster; the fish were very cooperative that day. We entered a back bay and saw birds working over redfish. My dad encouraged me to use my new reel he bought for me.

Since the fish were easy to locate, it was a perfect opportunity to learn how to cast with the new reel. Let me tell you at first it was a disaster and somewhat frustrating because here I was learning how to cast, and my dad was hooking up one after another. I learned the hard way because I had to untangle every bird’s nest on my reel while redfish were tailing all around me.
After messing around for about forty-five minutes, I finally got to where I was casting about twenty yards or so and that was good enough to catch fish on that day. From that day forward my preference was a baitcaster.

I prefer a baitcast reel, but it does not matter what reel you use as long as you feel comfortable throwing it. I have one suggestion to improve your casting abilities; go out in the back yard and practice. Place a hula hoop at a certain distance, and try to land your cast as close as possible to the hoop. As you get better, keep increasing the distance. A few sessions like this and you will be ready to go.

Your clothes are important; wear something that is highly visible, comfortable, dries quickly and protects you from the sun. A good cap or hat that will protect your ears and face is a must. Along with head protection is of course eye protection; make sure your eyewear is of polarized quality. Sunscreen is always a must. Your wading shoes should fit you comfortably even when in the water. There are many styles that come with different prices, but a simple pair of neoprene boots is sufficient. I would highly recommend wearing a pair of stingray protection boots like the Ray-Guard wading boots.

Your gear should include a wading belt with all the necessities like a stringer, rod holder, and a pair of pliers. My dad has also made it a requirement that I carry a whistle when I wade for emergency purposes. As far as tackle; it’s always a good idea to seek guidance from someone that has expertise in this department. Some of your tackle should include spoons, topwaters of different sizes, and plastic lures in different shapes and colors.

Preparing your gear for the next morning is equally important. Just recently I was in a hurry in the morning and grabbed the wrong gear bag. When we got to the dock, I realized I didn’t bring my wading shoes. We had to run to the local bait shop and buy a pair when it wasn’t necessary had I been prepared.

When you’re ready to jump in the water, wade with an adult that knows the area. You don’t want to venture in water you don’t know. Even if you’re wearing Ray-Guards, do the “sting ray shuffle.” Slide your feet on the bottom. This way if you happen to tap a ray, you have a chance it will scoot away.

Why do I prefer to wade? Simply because it puts you in the elements, and it becomes more personal as you learn to read the water. You will be amazed at how close you can get to the fish. May I add that when you hook a fish while wading, it tends to give a better fight. I have been wading for quite a while now and prefer it over fishing in a boat. When I wade, I like to take off as my father says, but that’s because I have younger feet. I love to explore and find my own fish. For me, wading is relaxing, learning, and being with nature.

For some of you wading is not an option right now because of certain circumstances, your fishing tends to be off a pier, in the surf, or drifting off a boat, and that’s okay as long as you can get out to enjoy the sport of fishing. If the opportunity comes, try wading. I know you will really like it. Remember the fishing doesn’t stop when it’s time to go home. Taking care and washing the equipment is important in order for things to last. The weather’s hot and so will the fishing, so get on out there and maybe will see you there jumping off the boat of course.