Frosty trees and snowy mountain tops are reminders of what lies ahead as winter approaches North Carolina. The past few days has been a reality check knocking us from fall right into winter. It is easy to get caught off guard when it comes to preparedness for cold weather fishing but making a few changes can help you hit the water comfortably. In fact many anglers opt to stay inside thinking of warmer days ahead and that leaves the water to few anglers that know how productive winter fishing can be.
As kids we all wanted to play in the snow! Moms dressed us in layers upon layers of bulky clothing making many of us look like Stay Puft Marshmallow Man without agility. Sorry mom but we are going outside without the bulk and we are staying warm.
The key is dressing in layers that work well together. A good base layer is key just like the foundation to a building and Patagonia Capilene does a tremendous job of setting the tone for the day. Capilene comes in upper body and lower body pieces. Couple that with quality wool socks and you are off to a pretty good start.
I like wearing a fleece pant versus jeans. We recommend that our clients refrain from wearing jeans if at all possible. Waders are difficult to put on over jeans and there is no way of candy coating this. Be smart and opt for fleece if you can and you will much happier.
Coats that have synthetic insulation are best on the water. When wet they retain heat and dry quicker. Some coats have small quilted areas ensuring insulation stays in its assigned area maximizing performance. Most of these style of coats are not bulky allowing you the freedom to layer with a vest and still move efficiently while wearing waders.
Use a good beanie, watch cap, or toboggan depending on where you are from to trap in heat that otherwise would be lost out your head. Plus that winter wind is hard on the ears and I am not into looking like a Christmas Elf. We certainly have nothing against Elves, in fact they may be good at fishing, but I don't to get called out by eight year old son. He would call it my Clark W. Griswold moment.
Also consider gloves, hand warmers, and toe warmers to make your winter fishing enjoyable. I for one like for my toes to be warm and toe warmers do the trick. I also like keeping my hands dry so I stash a washcloth inside my waders for hand drying. Toasty hand warmers inside my wader pocket seals the deal when it comes to hand warmth.
Keep spare clothing available in case you decide to take a polar plunge. Hypothermia can hit during all seasons but winter time can expose more people to higher risk. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you are getting cold get out of the weather and warm up.
Winter time offers a cleansing affect and it allows us to absorb some of its natural beauty that can be hidden in warm months. Bare trees, gin clear water, and the deafening silence of snow cast and image in our mind that cannot be matched by spring, summer, or fall. Get out and experience it for yourself.