Winter fishing can have its ups and downs wherever you live. Fishing can be great for specific species and horrible for others. It could be pouring rain or the sun high in the sky, wind calm or blowing 30 plus…weather conditions can change on you in an instant and situations can happen in an instant.
So, you’re sitting in your garage the night before your trip getting everything in order for your next trip. Checking oil and gas levels, tires, getting your favorite winter time lures and rods paired up and maybe even taking a peek at your GPS or a map to get an early jump on where you are going to fish for the day. But, do you make sure you have an extra set of clothes on board?
This is something that I think many anglers don’t even take into consideration, which is a huge mistake in my opinion, especially during the cold winter months. There are many things that can ruin a day of fishing, and falling out of the boat into cold water and then dealing with even colder air temps is one of them. After having a buddy of mine fall out of my boat one cold January morning I always have an extra set of clothes on board. Getting dry clothes on your body as soon as possible is not only more comfortable for the unlucky person that takes a winter dip, but it can also be a huge assistance to the health of that person and begin the body/blood warming process. This is something that is so easy to do…grab an extra pair of sweats, a shirt and/or sweater/jacket, socks, and shoes and throw them in a plastic bag. Doing something this simple can make a world of difference for you or your partner if the situation occurs.
There’s even a “chance” of hypothermia…Usually, everyone thinks about hypothermia occurring in extremely cold temps, but that doesn’t have to be the case. It can happen anytime that you are exposed to cool and damp conditions and older people are more susceptible to it. The key hypothermia symptom is an internal body temp below 95 degrees (normal body temp is 98.6), now since it is not a normal thing to carry a thermometer on the boat, there are other symptoms that you can actually see or notice:
• Uncontrollable shivering (although, at extremely low body temperatures, shivering may stop)
• Weakness and loss of coordination
• Pale and cold skin
• Drowsiness – especially in more severe stages
• Slowed breathing or heart rate
• Slowing of pace, drowsiness, fatigue
• Thickness of Speech
• Irrationality, poor judgment
• Loss of perceptual contact with environment
• Blueness of skin
• Dilation of pupils
• Decreased heart and respiration
Although you may never have a situation get this far because you would most likely leave the water and head back to the warm truck before many of these ever occur, but why not take the extra precaution and pack for the risk.
Be safe and stay dry!