If you are a visitor to a flats area and plan to wade fish, you'll find you can get to some really
interesting spots. Wading is a spectacular experience, but you do need to take some precautions.
This is not like wading in a brook with felt shoes over your stocking-foot chest-waders. Flats
boots or thick snickers are an absolute necessity. Flats boots are rubber and have a steel shank
in the sole. Even if you step on a ray, he'll just move out of the way. Flats boots are useful if
you are walking where there are oyster beds. Oyster shells are razor sharp and stepping on
one is very painful, and your blood trail might attract some unwanted guests, like bull sharks or
barracuda. Yes, you'd be surprised on sharks maneuver in shallow water. I once caught a
4-foot hammerhead on the east end of Mosquito Lagoon. Remember they are predator fish
looking for food.
Unlike freshwater streams, flats have either sandy, hard bottoms or they will have
grassy, muck bottoms. They are beaming with activity from various aquatic fishes
that live there and under the sand or in buried beneath the mud. Our flats have
an abundance of rays, crabs and other creatures. Rays have barbs on their tails
and they can inflict serious pain and discomfort. Crabs like nibbling on toes and
tiger shrimp will take some bites as well. Regardless, it pays to use caution when
wading. Always shuffle your feet, like you were wearing snowshoes. Don't pick
your feet up and then put them back down, you don't know what you will step on.
Our sub-tropical and tropical waters are home to all sorts of critters. The most
stepped on are rays. They have barbs that can penetrate your skin, usually a foot,
and this is not only painful but a vacation wrecker as well, and it could mean a trip
to the hospital.
If you plan on fly-fishing the surf, you might consider a striping basket. Although,
I've never used one, they are supposed to be great at keeping your line tangle free.
Another item and more important is line dressing with a small towel and some 303
Protectant. This stuff is easy to carry because it comes in little packets and you can
usually get about 3 cleanings from one pad.
When your cast starts getting heavy or the line is not unloading properly, this usually
means the line is dirty. Cleaning your fly line is easy. Just get over to land and or
in the boat. If you have some drinking water, you can dampen a small section of
your towel (4-square area) and then feed the line through it to the backing.
Now feed the line back through the 303 pad all the way down to the tippet.
Then take your towel in a dry area and hold the line pulling it in the opposite
direction back onto the spool. You'll find that the line will cast so much better.
What else should you take?
The only thing left is fly selection, where to fish and how to read a flat (huh, are you in for a surprise).
We'll get to that in a future segment.
- Polarized sun glasses
- Sunscreen (15 spf)
- Small Towel (face towel size)
- Boat Shoes (non-marking)
- Flat's boots
- Nail Clippers.
- 2 packets of tippet
- A Hat
- A fishing shirt with long sleeves.
- Something to drink and food.
- Your camera - with a polarizing lens if possible.
- A small selection of flies (4-6 tops)
Fly selection next time!
Capt. Doug Sinclair has relocated from New Smyrna Beach, Florida to
Grantsboro, NC. He specializes in fly-fishing and light tackle charters.
Doug charters the Coastal Carolina area of New Bern or Oriental.
Catch him on the web at
www.flyfishacademy.net or call him at (252) 745-3500.
Doug is also a Sponsor here on FAOL.