When fishing in cold weather, tips suggested to ensure a comfortable time

When fishing in cold weather, tips suggested to ensure a comfortable time

Posted: Friday, January 20, 2012 3:00 pm
By: Brent Callicott

This week, I want to share a few tips with you while fishing in cold weather or — the way it has been this year — cool weather.
As I do share these tips, understand that this winter’s weather is far from what we have seen over the last two years and the La Nina weather pattern is responsible for the unusually warm weather so far this year.
But winter is far from being over and, taking the odds, I would say we still have some cold weather yet to come.
Either way, this time of year can be somewhat uncomfortable at times, especially if rain and or snow moves in on you while out on the water fishing. The breeze that blows over the cool waters also has a different feel than when you are on land. What may feel as a warm, sunshine type day with temps in the 40s and 50s, out on the water has a totally different feel and you’re wondering if you have had a cold front move through.
Here are a few tips while being out on your fishing trip that just might “save the day” so to speak and/or make things much more enjoyable for you while taking those few precious hours out of your day to fish.
• Start your day dry if at all possible. Starting with the undergarments — and going all the way to the outer layers of your clothing — everything needs to be dry from the day or trip before.
You can be fooled with this because they may feel dry but actually the clothing has hidden moisture that has soaked in the materials. Kinda like taking warm clothes out of the dryer at home but, sometimes, once they cool, they aren’t fully dried. To solve this problem, simply hang each garment on a hanger where air can surround the garment to dry when you get back from an outing.
• Stay dry the best you can if it starts to rain or snow. Once you feel the first sprinkle or see the first snowflake, put your protective gear on that will fight away moisture on the outside. Gortex material is the best for this and Columbia Sportswear has tons of the latest technologies on the market for you.
• Avoid cotton if at all possible. This used to be something everyone said do but not anymore. Cotton holds moisture and will keep you cool and uncomfortable while out in the cold.
• One that is very important is to dress in layers of clothing. It is usually better to dress in several thin layers of clothing rather than one heavy layer. Start with the lighter weight materials closest to you and dress outward with heavier type clothing.
• Make sure your hands and head are covered to some degree. Also, your feet, ears and nose are important as well and these are areas that once they get cold, your entire body will get cold.
There is 100 percent truth in the fact that keeping your head covered is the most important. It acts like a chimney on your house — the heat rises and out the top of your head it goes if not covered in some way.
• Know your limits. Don’t expect to go out and fish on a cold day when you never have. You have to prepare your body to do so. For example, as you may think it is cold to fish on a day when the temps are in the 40s, you might want to fish on a day that the temps are a little warmer but work your way down into those temps if this makes sense. A day you are in question of whether it is to cold or not, plan on a short trip to fish that day and, if the elements aren’t that bad and you can handle what Mother Nature has thrown at you, then your day might could be extended.
• Never fish alone on a cold or bad weather day. As the old saying goes, the things we think that are of the small nature become large during elements you’re not really used to. Having someone there to help load and unload your boat at the ramp or motoring your boat and moving about inside your boat takes more energy in cold weather versus warm weather most of the time, no matter how old you are.
• The last thing is safety, which is the actually the most important of all. You want to be safe so you can enjoy your trip and then make another.
Paying attention to where you are at all times and having a cell phone is very important. Most everyone has one nowadays. Also, pay attention to the weather prior to making plans for your trip. Always wear some type of survival jacket or device, like a life vest. Mustang Survival Company makes tons of good items for your safety and trip.
These are tips I hope you make use of and learn. They can save you time, money and troubles if planned ahead.
Finally, the duck hunting has picked up. There are many reports of good hunts all over the area with the recent cold spell locally. And, the more harsh type winter conditions up north, with very cold, snowy and windy conditions has helped push a fresh supply of new ducks to cover our entire area.
Many that I have spoken with over the last week or so have been able to limit out at a early or in a very short amount of time spent in the duck blind that particular day.
Recent rains have also allowed Reelfoot Lake to continue to be just a little above normal as in the water level. Water temps remain cold with temps in the upper 30s to lower 40s. But warmer days ahead, something that we have had plenty of recently mixed in with a few cold days and nights.
Long-range weather models continue to show a weather split across the country with the trouble-spot being just to our north. February could be different as long-term forecast models show more of a wintry type pattern possibly setting up over our area. We will have to wait and see on that one.
No doubt, the weather change has made a positive difference. The season for the duck hunters is growing ever so closer to the final day of Jan. 29.
There will be two youth duck hunts still left to enjoy, one of which will be on the weekend of Feb. 4-5 — the Tennessee State junior waterfowl hunt. Then it will be Reelfoot Lake’s turn as that junior waterfowl hunt will be the weekend of Feb. 11-12.
The youth must be between the ages of 6 and 15. An adult at least 21 years of age must accompany the youth hunter into the field and must remain in a position to take control of the hunting device. The adult accompanying the young hunter may not hunt ducks but may participate in other open seasons. Geese, coots, gallinules, moorhens, and ducks, including pintails, may be taken by youths during Youth Waterfowl Season. WMAs with special closing times are open all day, each day of the Youth Waterfowl Season.
This is a somewhat bittersweet day and week for our family.
First, a big congratulations to my brother-in-law, Vesa Ponkka as he was just voted this week by the United States Tennis Association as their coach of the year. Vesa is the senior director of Tennis at the Junior Tennis Champions Center in College Park, Md., near the Washington, D.C. area. He is a graduate of the University of Tennessee at Martin, where he was the NCAA National Champion in tennis doubles in 1990. He is married to my sister, Kim, and they have two children, Nicole and Victoria.
Then, my nephew, Andrew Horner of Union City and a sophomore at Obion County Central High School is turning the big “Sweet 16” today. I know his life will change now as well as his parents. Good luck Jim and Lisa and Happy Birthday Andrew from Uncle B.
And lastly, I want to say that this past early Monday morning, my wife’s grandmother, Elizabeth James of Monmouth, Ill., went home to be with the Lord. A lady who was 97 years young when her name was called and a lady I was so honored to have known the short time that I did, around 15 years. She lived a wonderful life all the way up to her final months on this earth. We visited her back this past summer in July and for my daughter, one of her many great-grandchildren, having the time to share between them both as well as with others including my wife, one of her many grandchildren and then her daughter, Barbara Horner. It was a trip filled with memories for sure and one we can all treasure. One thing she could do is cook and made the best angel food cake and icing I have ever put in my mouth. I know everyone in heaven is enjoying her special cake as we speak. May
God be with the entire James family during this difficult time. RIP Grandma James.
Until next week’s column,
Catch ya on the water folks.

Published in The Messenger 1.20.12


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