Fishing from a jetty can be fun, productive, and… quite dangerous. Most of us will, of course, be interested in the awesome fishing that jetties can provide. Species like black and red drum, sheepshead, flounder, and many others are attracted to the ripping currents and reliable food sources that jetty rocks create. Yes, you will have to bring lots of extra tackle – snags and break-offs are a common casualty of fishing around the rocks – but the bigger down-side to jetty fishing is the danger that goes along with it. Jetty rocks that get spray and wash are often subject to algae and seaweed growth, and are commonly quite slippery. That’s why savvy jetty anglers will wear crampons, or a similar product.
Crampons are designed for climbing ice and rocks, and will help you walk across slick rocks covered in algae. Some jetty anglers use old-school golf shoes, with metal spikes on the bottom, as an alternative. And we’ve even seen anglers who took an old pair of tennis shoes, and cranked a bunch of screws through the sole to make their own jetty shoes.
Shoes like these which will grip through the goop are incredibly important, because a fall on the rocks is extremely dangerous. Sliding into a crevasse can lead to broken ankles or leg, and tumbles off the jetty can put you into a swift current running out into the Gulf. But this isn’t the only consideration jetty anglers need to be concerned with. Even on calm days (thanks to passing powerboats), you’re likely to get sprayed by waves crashing against the jetty. Either wear a bathing suit or waders and a slicker. And when you get home, give the zippers and snaps on them a freshwater rinse or they’ll quickly corrode.
Finally, wear your gear in a vest. A tacklebox is just one more thing to carry as you walk out over the rocks, and keeping your gear in a vest keeps you hands free for fishing and your tackle from floating away, should a wave over-wash the spot you’re standing in.