Linesiders Lookout

Fish the shallows often? Then you, too, know how incredibly spooky sly shallow water predators can be. Snook, redfish, trout, tarpon, bonefish – all exhibit super shy tendencies, which is why avoiding detection by blending into your surroundings when stalking these keen-eyed killers, either from a skiff and especially when wade-fishing, can greatly improve angler odds. Inshore game fish are constantly on alert because they have to be. Their very life depends on their natural ability to detect predators before they are targeted as an easy meal. After all, with birds of prey crashing down from above, hungry sharks and barracuda attacking from below and well-equipped fishermen plying for their fair share; it’s a serious war zone in the shallows.


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Photo: Steve Dougherty

The latest advantage for shallow water angling enthusiasts looking to capitalize on the concealment edge is stealthy camouflage patterns printed on breathable fabrics designed specifically for hot and humid conditions. Aqua Design ( has been designing such high-tech apparel since 1995 and remains an industry leader. The company’s design experts are outdoor enthusiasts who know wearing camouflage patterns isn’t only about remaining at the forefront of fashion with comfortable, lightweight clothing; it’s about utilizing the latest technology in high-performance outdoor wear to achieve a greater level of angling success – all while simultaneously adorning a protective shield against the sun’s harmful UVA and UVB rays.

…water inspired patterns minimize detection by providing anglers the ability to perfectly blend in with the exact type of environment they’re fishing in…

Developed from underwater photography – directly from the fish’s point of view – water inspired patterns minimize detection by providing anglers the ability to perfectly blend in with the exact type of environment they’re fishing in, regardless if stalking bonefish and permit on an open flat down in the Florida Keys, chasing tarpon along a sandy West Coast beach, or hunting redfish and snook along lush, mangrove encrusted shorelines in any of the state’s fertile backcountry waterways. Concealment: that’s the name of the game with camouflage apparel.

If you don’t think blending into your surroundings is a benefit, step off a skiff and stalk a school of tailers’ on a crystal-clear flat just a few inches deep, because if you can see the fish you are chasing they can certainly see you. Even when faced with ideal conditions, keen-eyed crustacean-crushers rarely allow even the stealthiest of anglers to approach within casting distance. Large silhouettes are instinctively associated with danger and immediately trigger blow out. You should also consider for a moment that if a sharp-eyed bonefish can pick off a translucent grass shrimp from 20-feet away, don’t you think that same fish could detect a 6-foot tall angler wearing brightly colored clothing sloshing across the same serine flat? From the fish’s perspective, anglers wearing bright clothing probably look like walking billboards flashing “STAY AWAY!…STAY AWAY!” The segment of seasoned vets who are super serious about the sport know that avoiding detection on the shallows means increased shots at viable targets from shorter distances, which clearly translates into greater success against the shallow’s most admired adversaries, regardless if you are a spin fishermen or if you prefer the long stick.

Hunters have been taking advantage of the same benefits for decades and while concealment may be a new idea for anglers, fish, too, have been using camouflage since the beginning of time. In any aquatic environment, inshore or offshore, any time there is a prey/predator situation camouflage and concealment play a huge role. Just think if shrimp and crabs were colored bright yellow rather than natural tones that blend in with their surroundings, there wouldn’t be a single one left!

Camouflage apparel alone will not make you a more successful fisherman. It is simply one more piece to the angling success puzzle. With decreased stocks and increased pressure, fish are getting smarter. To remain at the top of our game, anglers, too, need to wise up. We need to fish were the fish are and when they are most likely to feed while utilizing the latest tackle and techniques for any particular species under any set of circumstances. And if you are still under the false impression that camouflage has no place in saltwater fishing, think again. It seems like just yesterday when camouflage monofilament fishing line was introduced. Today camouflage apparel is taking the angling community by storm. Tomorrow you may not even be able to see your boat.