Dominic Cavitt posted a question last week. He wanted information about keeping his hands and feet warm.
Let me start off by saying that the new clothing is amazing. You can stay warm these days with half the clothing it took just five years ago. So, if you have old stuff I suggest you think about buying some new. You’ll be the better for it.
With that in mind, here’s how I dress to fish when it’s really cold:
The most important thing is to not get cold in the first place. Once that happens things start going downhill fast. Towards that end you need to layer and seal.
If it’s cold I start with my long underwear. I put them on before I put my socks on. That way the socks create a seal that keeps cold air from creeping into my boots from around my ankles.
Wool socks are the only way to go in my opinion.
Once I have my undergarments in place I put on a heavy pair of pants and a heavy shirt or sweatshirt, but not before I add heating pads. I put them on my long underwear, not against my skin and not on my outer clothing. They get too hot if they’re stuck to your skin and can cause you to sweat. If they’re on your outer clothing, you’ll lose most of the effect.
You can buy good heating pads at any major drug store. Get the good ones that last eight or 10 hours.
I always put a big one on my back. It’ll keep your core warm which will help your entire body. I also buy specialty pads that are shaped like insoles for your shoes. The heat works its way up and really helps avoid numb toes. You can also use small pads that will go over the top of your feet. That’s near your blood supply so they help a lot, too.
Some guys put one on the inside of their thigh. I haven’t tried that yet but it makes sense. That’s close to your blood supply.
I use glove liners under my heavy gloves. They help keep my fingers warm, and when I take off my heavy gloves they still give me some protection from the cold. The good ones are thin enough that you can fish in them. I’ve done it.
Battery operated hand warmers help as well. I put a couple in my pockets. When I run I switch hands from the steering wheel to my pocket with the warmer in it. You can also use heat patches. Put them on the backs of your hands. That’ll warm the blood flow.
My head is protected with a wool stocking cap, and I cover my face with a shield that breaks the wind. They also make super good facemasks that’ll keep you warm in almost any weather.
My boots are heavily insulated.
One other thing that I want to mention is moisture. It’s a killer. If you get damp or wet, go in and dry off. Then change clothes. Nothing else will work. Everything I own for cold weather fishing is waterproof.
Along that same line, some guys go so far as to change their tee shirts and shorts before they get dressed. They believe that the cotton picks up moisture during the night. I can’t say one way or the other from personal experience, but I can tell you that the guys who do that are pretty darn good outdoorsmen.
I use Under Armour for everything I’ve mentioned except for the battery operated hand warmers. I get those from Flambeau.
That’s the best advice I can give you, Dominic. I hope it helps.
Next time we’ll start a two or three part series on hair jigs. Ethan Vivian asked about them.