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Wading into another world of fishing

By Staff | Sep 15, 2023

Capt. George Tunison

A quietly wading angler slowly moving through the water is almost as stealthy as a push poled skiff and an often productive and fun way to fish while beating the heat, especially with local redfish already schooling in the shallows and hiding under high tide mangroves. If you’ve never gotten out of the boat and into the fish’s world you should as it offers a unique experience not possible above water and also something the walking angler can take advantage of.

We Floridians are very boat centered, always getting in the boat to go fishing, while redfish and trout anglers in other parts of the country like Texas and Alabama, use their boats just to get to their spots, then jump out to fish.

During fall, trout, redfish, snook, tarpon, pompano, and sharks are all available both on the inside and outside of Burnt Store Bar generally from Two Pines up to Pirate Harbor. The bar is also a prime wading, spin and fly rod destination, and an always interesting area for photography including million dollar sunset and bird shots. There’s parking and access at Charlotte Harbor Preserve State Park off Old Burnt Store Road on Northwest 44th Place. You do have to walk about a third of a mile to get to the edge of the harbor or come by boat.

Here walk-ins can choose to fish the inside of BSB while walking or wading along the eastern shoreline or wade out to the bar and fish the harbor side or the inside from the bar. If you would like to try wade fishing this season, before grabbing a rod and marching off into the nearest body of water, first check your bottom. A no pun intended — waders needs a firm bottom. Otherwise he could become a permanent stick in the mud facing a rising tide and circling dorsal fins. Not sure if Sea Tow would consider this a soft grounding and pull you out? A sandy bottom is the wader’s friend and in this part of Charlotte Harbor there are miles of walkable and “wadable” clear water areas along the bar to explore.

If you find that you like getting out of the boat to fish you might consider buying proper footwear to protect yourself from a painful encounter with a suddenly startled stingray minding its own business on the bottom. It’s not unusual to see big as car hood rays around the area. Unfortunately today’s waters contain more than pure water and marine creatures which is why many waders now insist on wearing waders as a precaution. Then, of course ,there are always sharks and alligators so maybe that stringer of bleeding fish attached to your belt might not be a good plan. Most dedicated waders pull a float rig with aeration, coolers, and tackle.

Wading obviously doesn’t always mean chest or even waist deep water. It can be as simple as getting the boat close to a shallow island, secured, and walking in knee deep or less, fan casting the area as you go then getting low while making side arm casts under the islands mangroves surprising big fish hiding way back in the shady shallows. Make sure you’re aware of what the tide is doing so when you return you’re not stranded. I know.

There’s another group of on-foot summer anglers that always prays for rain. You’ll find this gang at dams, weirs, any type of spillway or flowing water outlet after a big rain knowing that predators gather to chow down on small baitfish, frogs, anything washed over to the waiting mouths below. Here you’ll find a wide range of fish from bass to bluegills and invasive cichlids, snook, reds, to tarpon, even sharks. Most local spots are well known so bug proof yourself and night fish.

Red snapper recreational harvest, open every Friday — Sunday during September, October, and November. Delicious!

Capt. George Tunison is a Cape Coral resident fishing guide. You can contact him at 239-282-9434 or via email at captgeorget3@aol.com.