Wade fishing is about as fun as it gets on a hot summer day. It allows an angler to enjoyably get wet at the same time. The Ozarks is full of wade fishing opportunities. The following considerations will help make your first trip safe, fun and productive.
|Wade fishing in an Ozark stream is a fun and wet way to spend a summer time day.|
SAFETY FIRST - Safety issues must be paramount in every outdoor excursion, especially when trying something new. While wade fishing, keep the following in mind.
- Wear a life jacket, period. Many Ozark streams are quite small, but most contain deeper pockets of water or swift spots where a wader could get into trouble. Consider a suspenders type personal floatation device (PFD), such as Bass Pro's Auto/Manual Inflatable Life Vest.
- Carry sun screen and bug spray. Fun in the sun and on the water can bring painful sunburns quickly. Bugs are ever present. Buy waterproof sunscreen with an UPF of 50. OFF makes a small spritzer, which has a shirt clip for your pocket.
- Wear appropriate shirts and shorts. Comfortable clothing can greatly improve your enjoyment of a wade fishing trip. World Wide Sportsman Nylon Angler Shirt provides quick-dry protection, while their Boca Grande Shorts provide the same comfort and protection, plus 10 pockets.
LIGHT EQUIPMENT - The simplicity of wade fishing is often what attracts anglers. Keep it simple is a good rule.
- Short rods best. Bank side vegetation and overhanging limbs can be a nightmare for long rod users. Go with a 5-foot ultra-light rod, like the Shakespeare Ugly Stix GX2.
- Small reels and fishing light line. Couple a lightweight spinning reel with the UglyStick rod. Garcia and Shimano are good choices. A high quality flurocarbon line, like Sunline Super FC, in 4-lb. test is good fro most small stream applications.
- Small baits. ozark stream are full of smallmouth bass and sunfish. Both are suckers for small plastic baits. The Bass Pro fishing catalog is full of them, but you can't go wrong with Zoom's Tiny Brush Hog, small Flukes and Bass Pro's 3-inch Stik-O worms.
FISH 10 PERCENT - Like so many other bodies of water, 10 percent of the water in small streams hold 90 percent of the fish. Put your baits in fish holding water.
- Skip the skinny water. Extremely shallow water holds little in the way of catchable fish. Wade through it quickly and look for more productive waters.
- Look for dark water. In small streams, deeper water appears darker. These spots are where the bigger fish will hide. Approach cautiously and drift your offering from the top of the hole to the tail out. In most cases that distance will only be a few feet.
- Fish the cover. Downed trees, overhanging limbs, rocks and root wads will harbor fish. Work each piece of cover thoroughly and hang on.