Learn to protect yourself in cold weather

Don't let those cold temperatures keep you off the water. Follow these tips to stay toasty and safe.

If it isn't flat out frigid in your region, then no doubt you've had a few cold fronts move through. Ideally, you'd wait until the front passed before getting back on the water, but sometimes cold days are the only ones you can get out. Here are a few ways to protect the most important parts of your body on the water on a less-than-ideal day.

Hands

Arguably the most important parts of your body to cover while fishing are your hands. Without them functioning properly, you can't cast, feel subtle bites or enjoy yourself.

Living in central Alabama, Greg Vinson sees his share of cold days. When he's not sitting in a tree in the fall or winter, he's on the water.

"I have found this new pair of gloves that make a huge difference for me. They're called the SUG, or Sport Utility Glove, and they're made by Wells Lamont," he explains. "The tips of the fingers are cut out, and they're really tightly formed to my hand. They're a stretchy nylon fabric, which doesn't affect you casting ability, and that's an important thing to think about when you're getting fishing gloves."

There are many effective options, however. Vinson goes on to say Mark Menendez uses a pair of baseball batting gloves.

"The principles of gripping a bat and a rod are similar, so there's no reason they wouldn't work, too," Vinson adds. "The most important thing is just keeping the wind off your hands. That makes a huge difference."

When he's driving the boat, he simply pulls thicker ski gloves over top the top of his fishing gloves. And when they get wet, he says take them off and dry your hands or have another pair handy. Cold hands lose feeling quickly.

Layer up, just like your mom told you

Vinson says layering is the way to go, but he has found a more efficient way to stack clothes.

"I like to put rain gear underneath most of it because the knitting on it is so tight," he says. "When it's really cold, I'll wear a down jacket underneath then the rain gear over top of that. I've been in temperatures that were near zero and darn near sweated it's so warm."

Getting cold is an easy excuse to call it quits for the day, but Vinson believes if you're toasty, you'll be able to get the most out of your day.

Head

Effectively keeping your head warm on a bass boat going 65 mph can be tricky, but it's nothing a helmet won't solve. Vinson prefers a motorcycle helmet as it keeps the wind off your face as well.

"A lot of body heat escapes from the top of your head, so a helmet with a toboggan underneath works well," he says. "If you don't have a helmet, make sure to use your rain suit's hood to keep the wind out of your coat."

Vinson also says glasses are a must if you don't have a helmet. He opts for a pair of Costa Del Mar sunglasses with amber lenses. Amber lenses are good for low light vision, such as at a morning launch.

"With the sunglasses, you're ready to go, everything's all sealed up," he says. "Without them, you'll feel like you eyeballs are freezing."

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