Here’s a little experiment to try next time you know you’re going to spend a long day bass fishing. Wear whatever pair of shoes you ‘d normally wear on the water, and note how you feel at the end of the day. Are your legs tired? Do your feet hurt? Is your back aching? It may seem like a really trivial piece of the overall bass fishing game, but I’d argue that the right footwear is just as important as a well-tuned reel and the right lures. This is especially true during those long, drawn-out days when the bite isn’t on fire and every cast and retrieve requires 100% focus.
Bass fishing keeps you on your feet, staring down at the water, for long periods of time. Fish a bunch of 10 to 12-hour days over the course of a month or so, and you might start noticing little aches and pains you never noticed before. Most of those little sore spots are a product of bad posture on the water. Now, without going into an excessive anatomy lesson, all you need to know is that your feet are the beginning of a chain that goes upward all the way to your head. So, if your feet aren’t properly supported, the next set of muscles in the chain step in. When they get tired, the next set steps in and so on and so forth. Add in an unstable, rocking boat on a choppy lake, and you’ll tire out fast if your feet aren’t properly supported.
I often see guys jumping onto bass boats wearing pancake-flat sandals. Sandals or flip-flops, as comfy as they may be in the warmer months, are about the worst thing you can wear during a long day on the water because they have zero support. I typically opt for lightweight running sneakers with good arch support, and I truly believe they help me have more gas in the tank by the end of a long day. Now that we’re getting into the cool fall months, you may want something warmer and more substantial on your feet than sneaks. There’s nothing wrong with boots, but don’t just run out and buy a cheap pair of rubber deck boots. Look for brands that are lightweight, have good contoured inserts, and have sufficient arch support. After you buy them, wear them around the house for a day to make sure they’re comfy. Don’t ever let the trial run of any footwear happen during a long day on the water unless you’ve brought shoes you already know are comfy and supportive with you as back ups.