All along Mississippi’s 44-mile coastline you will find hundreds of anglers who spend their time standing in or along the surf line casting huge rods with large spinning reels and weights as far as they can heave. This is surf fishing. Now don’t confuse wade fishing with surf fishing.
And don’t get me wrong, if you have a friend named Wade who goes fishing with you, it is purely a coincidence. True wade fishing involves going for a swim. The neat thing about the Mississippi Sound is that most of it is less than six feet deep which means a great deal of the near shore area is open to those who are OK with getting their feet wet. It’s not uncommon for waders to be able to walk 200-300 yards offshore and still be in waist deep water. Just be sure you keep out of the marked channels and wear bright clothing to help watercraft spot you before they are on top of you.
Tactics for Wade Fishing
Unlike the shore-bound surf fishermen and the landlubbers pier side, the wade fisherman can wander around offshore in areas that are otherwise inaccessible. Across all of the coastal counties, countless stark and abandoned pilings were once docks and piers. These pilings are encrusted with barnacles, weeds, and growth and are a haven for small baitfish, ghost shrimp, and other creatures that reds and specs eat like gumdrops. Of course, be careful in these areas that you avoid stepping on underwater wreckage, stumps and submerged driftwood that can really ruin your day. When you are out within walking distance of shore, live or dead shrimp, and shrimp-like lures are a must. Cocahoe minnows, small shiny spoons and other standard saltwater lures work well.
Wade Fishing Equipment
Wade fishing is easy and exciting but it can be dangerous. In Texas, just a few months ago an experienced wade angler was pulled out into deep water by a rip current and never came home to his family again. Now rips are rare in the Sound, but any open body of saltwater is still unpredictable and with this in mind, a life jacket is a must. If you get one of those jackets with pockets and mesh netting, it can help eliminate the need for a tackle box. Some waders like swim trunks or shorts but to keep those big bad jellies off you, especially in late summer, a light set of dungarees or fishing pants are a better bet.
Never go wading without shoes due to broken bottles and random wreckage. Your favorite fishing hat, sunblock, and a floating cooler or foam ring and bait/tackle box attached with floating rope complete your rig. The cooler can be done away with for those who use stringers, but beware that a nice line of white trout or specs attacked to you in three feet of water is a good way to call your local blacktip or hammerhead shark in for a closer look. A stiff rod and a smaller diameter salt-water baitcast reel help you keep ahead of the game.
The fish are out there, go get em.