Leave a Perfectly Good Boat?
Waders negotiate terrain a boat could never reach without flushing every fish in the area. I might walk five steps and make five casts and catch a fish. Then I might shuffle for another first down and methodically cast to the point where sand and grass meet. My first, second, third and 10th casts may be met with a thump, and the fish will never know I am there, something I could never pull off from a boat.
And few things trump my bottlenose dolphin buddy swimming by to say good morning. We have waded together for a decade now, and it quickly identifies me as the guy who feeds it sand trout, probably by the creaking sound of arthritis in my knees and the agitating topwater I habitually throw.
I show my appreciation by feeding it, and it counters by keeping sharks off my stringer. Many people spend hundreds of dollars to swim with a dolphin; I guess they do the same on a charter with me.
Resting against a South Texas mesquite and rattling two old, brazen white-tailed bucks from the brush is the land version of a sunrise wade for long lavender-backed specks. There is a matchlessness of being eye to eye with wildlife in their own domain, and the first time you see a school of two-foot trout swim past your legs, you’ll know why we Texans like to get wet.
To say I enjoy fishing a topwater plug is like saying my retriever enjoys a fresh rib-eye, but not everyone was made to throw a topwater.
Walking-the-dog takes practice, patience and pragmatism. I have been accused of force-feeding MirrOlure She Pups or Heddon Super Spook Jr. lures to stubborn specks, but trout sometimes don’t want my candy bar.
I stuff a pack or two of Bass Assassins in my front pocket these days, in case the fish are avoiding the surface. Some of my most impressive stringers have come while jigging and bumping the bottom.
That leaves the middle of the water column. You’ve heard of Corky and MirrOlure lures, haven’t you? Rest assured, these baits still catch plenty of specks.