Although many anglers may think of wade-fishing as something you do to cut your teeth before getting your “big boy boat,” those leaving it behind are missing out on some great opportunities, especially for speckled trout and redfish.
When the north winds usher in October and water temperature dives below 80 degrees, many trout and reds head upriver from their saltier summer homes to haunt the bridge crossings of brackish water creeks and feast on bait, and these are the perfect places to slip in off the highway for a hookup. Whether you the lack of a boat or the time to splash it, don’t like rough weather or you simply want your feet on the ground, wading in October only requires a handful of baits, a decent pair of waders, and a destination.
Will Jones of Bounty Hunter Guide Service in Beaufort, N.C., runs charters in from Cape Lookout to the Neuse River, but he still has an affinity for taking a short hike to catch fish. Bridge crossings are his most-common targets due to ease of access. An aerial view can reveal plenty, but a productive area will have to meet a certain criteria.
“What you’re looking for is deep water adjacent to a shallow flat,” said Jones. “You need that shallow area adjacent so you can wade to where the current is going to carry all the shrimp and bait. The places I wade aren’t a secret; it’s just a matter of hitting them at the right time of year and the right stage of the tide. The best time to fish these spots is a couple hours after low tide when the water starts moving in hard. When you have more flow, there’ll be more bait, and the fish will be feeding heavier. At low tide, there’s not enough water to