Ever since I started fishing seriously, one big problem for me was staying dry and warm in cold weather.
You either got wet from some place leaking and it soaking in or sweating inside your clothes and it got cold. With the old snowmobile suits, insulated coveralls, and long underwear, big thick coats and multi pairs of socks, add a heavy rain suit and you might stay warm but moving around or bending over for eight hours or more was a chore.
I have seen some of the members in the old Texoma Bass Club, myself included, who looked like one of those multi-layer biscuits. I never liked it because you walked like a penguin, sort of a scooting waddle.
Today cold-weather gear is head and shoulders over what us older fishermen started with. There are some real bargains out there. Got $200? You can get a set of bibs and parka. That’s on the high end and there are more expensive ones available.
A top-line suit like the elite bass anglers wear today with gloves and head gear will set you back $500-800 or more. As we get older, being warm becomes a bigger concern, at least for me. I finally put together a package of cold-weather gear for a little over $400, not counting my rain suit.
It’s light so I can move around easily and bend and if Chubby Checker was playing on the radio I could do the Twist without feeling like I’m in a straight jacket.
My cold weather dress starts with a layer of Under Armor cold gear and a thin pair of tall, wool socks. My next layer is a set of guide rated polar insulated underwear. Not what you are likely to find locally.
I found a pair of heat keeper socks that go over the wool socks. Online I found a pair of wind and water proof insulated pants with reinforced knees; best buy I have made in a long time. They are worth ever penny. Susan gave me a set of insulated waterproof shoes and they weigh almost nothing.
I use a thin vest with two pockets sewed on the front and put 12-hour heat packs in them. Across the back I use one of those big back pain heat packs with the elastic bands on them to keep my body core warm. An insulated long sleeve shirt and a medium weight insulated wind and waterproof jacket means I’m ready for as cold a day fishing as mother nature can throw at me.
The key in this set-up is you want breathable, wind and waterproof gear, not water resistant. Add a good pair of insulated wind and waterproof driving gloves and a full-face shield motorcycle helmet that I rub down with Rain X eliminates fog inside and water outside.
A pair of thin, insulated wind and waterproof fishing gloves for when I’m fishing and I’m set. You can go higher in cost but this is a good stopping point.
Tuesday after watching the morning news and weather, I took Ginger for her morning ride to the boat ramp. While I was following her around with a sack for her donation, I could see the gulls working off our big sand point. I hurried Ginger up and went back to the house.
I fixed her breakfast, grabbed a donut and a cup of coffee for me, fixed Susan a quick meal and went out to hook my boat up. Off to the ramp I went. The gulls were nowhere to be seen.
Launching I headed for one of my winter spots — just past the lighthouse the gulls were working in the middle of the lake. I was pulled to stop and fish under them but went on. As I turned into a cove, I marked tons of bait fish and stripers, but as I was after bass, I passed them up.
Arriving at my spot I started casting to where I had caught those two good bass last week. After 30 minutes of casting and not catching, breaking my Golden Rule of stay, I moved to another spot. I tied up, and made a lot of casts without any results. Finally, I got the tic and set the hook. I didn’t know at the time what I had, but it was powerful on my eight-pound line, so I just let it do about what it wanted to.
I gently got it to the top and a monster of a smallmouth broke water. I kept pressure on but didn’t try to horse him in. He went about where he wanted to go. My guardian angel was on duty. The big fish went under a boathouse, my line got hung up behind a splinter on a piece of wood.
As I worked to get it loose the fish went around a pole holding the boathouse. I worked the line out of the board but then it was wrapped around the metal pole. I kept pressure on the fish, then gave it some slack and it swam right out.
Getting it in the boat, it was so big I decided to keep it until I found someone to take a picture of it and me. A little later I caught another one close to the same spot and gently worked it to the boat. It was even bigger than the one I had in the live well. It got off as I was trying to belly lift it in the boat. I caught one more smaller bass and that was it.
I started back in and the rain was picking up so I decided to drop into the Lighthouse and hit a spot I like and see if anyone was there to take a picture. I found three workers on a dock. I give one my camera and he took several shots of my big smallmouth. We weighed it and it lacked about a drop of water going six pounds.
All three of those Bass came on the new YUM 4- inch Pearl Pulse fishing deep water using a dead retrieve on a White 1/4 oz. Blakemore Road Runner Jig Head Doused in YUM Shad F2 attractant. I goofed last week as I said F4 attractant, it’s F2. Using this lightweight Blakemore Jig head and YUM Pulse rig in deep water really makes you slow down to fish it right.
The rain was getting heavier and the wind was picking up. I went in, loaded up, went to the house, put up my boat and had a cup of coffee and another donut. It was a good day to fish if you were dressed for it.
Winter fishing is probably my favorite time of the year for big bass. Plus, I like solitude and Tuesday I was the only boat on the lake as far as I could tell. Be careful, winter fishing isn’t for everyone but if you go expect to catch better than average fish if you know where to fish and when or just get lucky.
This is my style of winter fishing, Other people’s fishing methods may work for them but over the years with the onset of winter this is my go-to style of fishing.