I made a cast, worked the surface lure through a little riffle and struck as the smallmouth slammed into the shallow running lure. Stepping forward, I stepped into a hole and went waist deep when before I had been knee deep in water. No problem, I was wading wet. Getting wetter could only mean a refreshing swim.
Wet wading in late summer in pants and without hip or chest high boots is a lot of fun. And this is the best time of the year for fishing this way in local shallow rivers. The waters are at their warmest and wet wading makes this fishing at its simplest.
It is a time honored tradition in some areas, and most areas of the country have rivers where shallow depths, slow currents, warm waters, plentiful fish and safe conditions make this a possibility.
Safety is a must with all of this. In all situations, fish with a buddy. I always do this, and sometimes have a group of a half-dozen friends spread out over a river but within hollering and help-range. It always helps to wear a comfortable life vest, or one of the blow-up types of suspender PFDs that are now approved by the Coast Guard. These are available from any tackle or boating store.
Also be aware of local and state regulations. Some areas may be off limits for wading or swimming, some might have other requirements as to legal times to fish or how to fish. Naturally any required fishing license is a must.
From a practical standpoint, it helps to wear long pants – khakis preferably – for protection against snags, brush or shelf rock that you might find in your quest for fish. Footwear can be high top sneakers or specially made boots with felt or sticky rubber soles. If buying these, go for the sticky rubber soles, since many areas are getting sticky about using felts that might transmit diseases such as rock snot.
Naturally, you need to have a complete change of clothes for changing into and driving home, and a large plastic bag to dump all your wet clothes and shoes.
Tackle can be whatever is appropriate to the fish in your area. For changes of lures and a bait can or two, the new PFD vests (you are going to wear one, right?) often have a few large pockets to hold a supply of what you need.
It is a fun way to fish, does not require heavy waders and makes fishing simple and easy through the rest of the summer. Besides, when wading wet, you can’t go over the tops of your boots as you can when wearing those often hot chest high waders.