The popularity of wading has exploded in recent years. Jumping in lets fishermen move slowly, dissecting the water by the square inch; finding and mixing it up with local residents. To get the most from your wading time, you must master the basics.
Your wading footprint is measured by your ability to move quietly and efficiently through your surroundings. The more you slosh and slog, the larger your footprint. It's this disturbance perimeter that dictates how close you can slip into fish. When slipping, move in a ninja-like manner. By gently sliding your feet, you stir the bottom less (compared to taking steps) and nudge nasty bottom dwellers (rays) out of your way.
Over the years, I've noticed those who can cast the farthest are typically the ones who catch the most fish. The reason is rudimentary. The farther you cast, the more water you're dragging your baits through. When wading, this is especially true. As we've seen, your footprint dictates how close you get to fish. By making extra-long casts, you cater to those fish beyond your immediate impact zone—those unaware of your presence.
To maximize your casting distance, you've got to maximize your rod length. Extra-long rods increase your leverage and in turn your effective casting range. In some cases, the difference between a 6-foot, 6-inch rod and a 7-footer can be as much as a 30-percent increase in distance. A 7-foot, 3-inch rod can add an additional 15 percent in distance.
Dressing for wading success means blending into the surroundings. When possible, match your ensemble color to your background. By doing so, you melt into the landscape, keeping the prying eyes of the fish below from visually picking you off.
Long casts are optimally made with smaller diameter lines (smaller poundage). Smaller diameter line provides less friction in the air (aerodynamic drag) and less friction coming off the spool (sliding friction). In both instances, minimizing these maximizes casting distances.
Thin Is In
When downsizing line diameter, your hook setting power is diminished. As such, opt for smaller diameter hooks. Light gauge hooks drive home easier than heavier ones with your smaller-poundage lines.