As some of you know, wade fishing is one of my most favorite methods of catching a fish dinner. I began way back in the 1970s.
In those days, I could wade the chilly winter waters of Turtle Mound just south of New Smyrna Beach for a bounty of large sea trout.
For 10 or 12 consecutive winters I made the long journey from Ormond Beach to catch four or five fat trout. The fishing was so good I seldom missed. These days I do a lot of summertime wading around Tomoka State Park.
If I go on a weekend, there are usually three to five other guys fishing the same waters. On a recent Sunday, I arrived just after dawn to find three other men already in the water. As the sun came up, I was out about 50 feet in shallow water when I noticed another fisherman enter the Halifax River and head straight out to deeper water. That was not unusual for the fellows seeking trout like to go in deep. I watched as the new angler waded in up to the armpits and began throwing around a top water lure. Soon, I realized there was something very different about this wader. It was a young lady.
As I watched her fish, I began to think back through all of my years of wading and the other women I had seen. There were none. This was the first time I had ever seen a woman in the river at dawn with a fishing rod in hand. Let's face it; wading into deep water in our brackish inshore is not for the faint of heart.
Aside from the ever-present no-see-ums, there is also the constant threat of stumbling over a clump of oysters and needless to say the gummy Halifax mud does little for one's manicure or pedicure. I really wanted to speak to this girl and when she passed my spot I told her that I write this column.
Twenty-three year old Beverly of Ormond Beach told me she was indeed out looking for trout and was throwing a Mirrodine type MirrOlure. Wow! This girl knows what she is doing. She also told me one of the fellows out in the center of the river was her boyfriend. She was there with him, his brother and their dad.
After some time, the flounder began to hit my jigs and I landed a couple good 19 inchers. Both hit the white Pearl shrimp tail from Grandslam Baits. This is a good bait for flounder, trout or reds and works pretty well as a fisherman catcher. When you see it, you won't be able to resist.
When young Beverly saw my two flounders she told me she was switching to a bottom bait to try for her own flounder. I gave her boyfriend a few jig tails to help get them started. I have to say it was pretty impressive to see a pretty young woman up to her neck in the Halifax. This is a girl with no fear.
I would urge all of the ladies who read this to consider doing a little wading of their own. You can do it most anywhere in the inshore and it is a lot safer than most believe. Although I wear flip-flops, I would suggest that any newcomers wear old sneakers.
After all of these years of wading, my only injuries have been a very few nicks from sharp oyster shells. Sharks, crabs, stingrays, alligators, barracudas and all of the other fearsome critters have never bothered me. Wading has very little impact on the environment and there is no better way to become one with nature.
Ladies, I hope you will give it a try and if you need a little further instruction email me. Come on in, the water is fine.
Dan Smith has fished the waters of Volusia County for more than 40 years. Email questions and comments to email@example.com. His book, "I Swear the Snook Drowned," is available for $10.95 at (386) 441-7793.