Fishing in foul weather is a bother only to those who have subpar rain gear. Today's Gore-Tex and other spaceage fabrics offer anglers better protection than ever before. The same can be said about extreme heat, cold and high winds; along with outerwear that'll protect you from the elements, there are a few things you can do to stay cozy regardless of what Mother Nature throws at you. Here we pick the brains of five top Elite Series pros for advice.
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Shaw Grigsby: You’ve got to have the right stuff when it comes to fishing in the cold. A quality cold weather suit with a good hood is indispensible! You have to keep your head and core warm before you can even think about fishing.
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Tim Horton: Keeping my hands warm is critical to my being able to concentrate and effectively work my baits. I like to keep those air-activated warming pouches in my pockets so I can warm up quickly when my hands get cold.
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Brian Snowden: A few years back I bought one of those vacuum bagging machines, and I use it to pack extra clothes — socks, pants, sweatshirts. Now I carry plenty of emergency cold weather clothes without taking up a lot of space.
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Kevin VanDam: Growing up and living in Michigan, I’m used to fishing in cold weather. For me, the biggest challenge is keeping my extremities warm, and I do that with good boots and full-fingered gloves.
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Jason Williamson: You’ve got to keep your hands and feet warm or you just can’t fish. I like weatherproof gloves and socks like snowboarders wear. If you get too cold, there’s no turning back.
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Shaw Grigsby: When it’s raining, bass usually start feeding. That’s when I pick up the pace and start covering water with a spinnerbait, crankbait or swim jig. As long as it’s not lightning, I love fishing in the rain.
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Tim Horton: Nothing’s more frustrating than wet feet. That’s why I always keep spare socks and shoes in a dry storage compartment. Find a pair that will dry quickly and wear waterproof boots when it’s cold.
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Jason Williamson: Running across the water at high speeds in the rain can be a big problem. The rain hits you in the face, and it can feel like a thousand needles sticking you. I carry a helmet for that reason. It makes the run easier and safer.
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Brian Snowden: When it’s cold and wet, it can be tough to keep your hands warm. I wear rubber surgical gloves underneath neoprene gloves to keep my hands warm and dry.
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Kevin VanDam: When it’s raining, you have low light conditions, and that means the bass are going to be active. It’s a good time to be fishing — as long as it’s not lightning. The fish don’t mind a little rain; they’re already wet!
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Shaw Grigsby: Except when I’m sight fishing, I like the wind and look for it. The surface ripple and current it creates make bass more comfortable and aggressive. It’s a good time to pick up the pace and fish faster, especially in wind-blown areas.
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Tim Horton: Wind stirs up plankton and baitfish, and that activates the bass and brings everything to life. When the fishing’s slow, I’ll pick up and go looking for wind as long as it’s not blowing too hard.
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Brian Snowden: The wind is your friend if you’re a bass fisherman. Choose moving baits like crankbaits and spinnerbaits and make long casts to cover lots of water. Don’t fight the wind; use it and work with it whenever you can.
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Kevin VanDam: As long as it’s not blowing so hard that it’s dangerous to be on the water, I love the wind. Make sure you have plenty of trolling motor and wear something with a good windproof liner or shell so you can stay warm.
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Jason Williamson: When the wind’s blowing, I like to wear a toboggan-style knit cap to reduce wind noise and distraction. I also wear sunglasses that wrap around my face to protect my eyes from dust and other things that are blowing around.
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Shaw Grigsby: When it’s hot, Florida bass bury up in the heaviest cover they can find, so that’s when I go flippin’ with a heavy tungsten weight. Summer is when the thermocline sets up and there’s little oxygen in the depths. Don’t hesitate to fish really shallow if there’s no current to mix the water layers.
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Jason Williamson: I like to wear fabrics that wick the sweat away from my skin and don’t stick to it, like cotton. I’ll usually wear a mesh-backed cap that lets some air circulate around my head and sandals so my feet stay cool.
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Kevin VanDam: When it’s really hot, bass move to shade and current. It’s a great time to fish moving water and boat docks. And when it gets uncomfortable, I’ll jump in the water to cool off or go for a fast boat ride!
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Tim Horton: In the summertime, you absolutely have to carry plenty of water and stay hydrated. If you don’t, you can get in real trouble in a big hurry.
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Brian Snowden: In the summer, I try to avoid alcohol and sodas in the evening before a fishing trip. I’ll also wear a large-brimmed hat and use a lot of sunscreen. Long sleeves with shirts made of breathable material that offers UV protection are critical, too.
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Whether it's sun, snow, wind or rain, the bass are still in the lake and they still have to eat. Just be smart about the weather and you'll not be uncomfortable on the lake.