Lakecaster Online

OF BASS & GALS
By: Sue Crochet

As I was thinking back on my many bass angling years, I'd have to say that my most productive trips were during the cooler weather months. I've done quite well on cold, windy, wet days (or any combination of those three conditions), when your average weekend fisherman will decide to stay inside in front of the fireplace. I must tell you, though, that early in my fishing career, these wouldn't have been my favorite days to fish. However, as I became more experienced, I realized that I actually caught more fish on some of the nastiest days in fall and winter.

To fish in these types of inclement weather conditions, you must have the proper clothing. I'd like to share with you what my cold-weather fishing gear looks like today, as compared to my early days of bass fishing. My first bass-fishing trip to Toledo Bend with my husband (boyfriend at that time) was in the early spring. I don't remember us listening to weather conditions or planning ahead very well. Consequently, as a novice, I was depending upon him to tell me what I should bring.

We were having relatively mild winter weather at home … sweatshirt and sweatpants should suffice, so I thought. I didn't even own insulated underwear, a face mask, rain gear, gloves, insulated socks and/or something to keep my head warm. Little did we know that one of the coldest (and nastiest) fronts of the entire winter was to occur the very night we arrived. I was in for a big surprise the next day!

It was cold and windy at first, then became more overcast and drizzly as the day went on. I found out we had only one pair of rain gear and a poncho … I got the poncho. Neither of them were very thick or insulated, so I'm sure I don't need to describe to you how much they didn't help us in all that wind. However, my soon-to-be partner for life was catching fish and seemed to be more comfortable that I was. As for me, I'd cast, reel and shiver … cast, reel and shiver … cast, reel and shiver. I was absolutely miserable, but would never have let him know how cold I was at this point in our courtship!

Fortunately, the worst of the front was through by the next day and fishing became a little more pleasurable, although it was still cold. By the end of that weekend, my skin was so wind and cold-burned it looked like fish scales within a few days. This meant that I needed to stock up on a few other things, as well. These days, I never leave for a fishing trip (hot or cold weather) without moisturizer, sun block, lip balm and body lotion. Years of fishing in all types of weather conditions have taken it's toll on my skin, so I need all the help I can these days.

Today, I have a snow suit for cold days with no rain, which is most comfortable when the wind is blowing. I also have insulated rain gear for the winter, which I like to use on semi-cold and/or rainy days. It's not quite as bulky as a snow suit and if I have insulated underwear on, will usually keep me pretty warm on windy/colder days, as well. I have a stocking cap and/or facemask, which helps to keep my ears warm. Believe it or not, I've only recently invested in a neoprene facemask, because this keeps absolutely all of the cold wind off my face and prevents chafing.

I have goggles for running the boat in the rain and quality sunglasses to protect my eyes from the sun. In the winter, insulated gloves are a must for running the boat. I also have fishing gloves, but prefer not to use them unless my hands are just too cold to function. Personally, I find that they don't allow the sense of feel I need for detecting a bite, but are extremely useful on those cold, rainy days when I can't seem to get my hands warm for anything. Finally, I have insulated rubber boots to keep my feet warm and dry on rainy days.

Smaller items, such as gloves, face masks, goggles, glasses, sun screen and lip balm, can be kept in the boat at all times to prevent leaving them behind. At least they'll be there, whether you need them or not.

Listen, gals … I've said this before and I'll say it again. Guys just don't get as cold as we do, so don't depend on them to tell you what to pack. You can never pack too much clothing. It's better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. This applies to both warm and cold weather fishing. Most fishing lakes are not close enough to malls to just run out and pick up what you need, and I don't know about you, but it hurts me to buy something I already have plenty of.

And guys … If you really want your significant other to fish with you more often, please take the time to make sure she's comfortable. Many women have told me that if you had taken the time to consider these types of things, as well as been more patient with them, they may have enjoyed previous fishing excursions a lot more. Oftentimes, if you spend just that little extra time with them, they'll begin to love the sport so much that they'll take care of the rest without you. I wonder just how many "closet" female professional anglers are hiding out there!

Until next month, God bless and good fishing!

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