Winter fishing is usually extremely enjoyable. Most of the time, you have the water all to yourself, and if you choose the right day, it can be highly productive and even more rewarding.
Preparing for an arctic adventure on the water is the most critical element of winter fishing. If you fail to layer your clothes and dress appropriately, fly fishing during winter months can be dangerous.
To accomplish success and comfort when winter fishing, it’s vital to layer your fly-fishing clothes with just the right tools to keep you warm and dry when the circumstances could send you back to your truck for a warm-up.
Cotton is highly hydrophilic, meaning it adores water and soaks it up quickly. Once moisture is absorbed, cotton loses nearly all its insulating worth. This is terrible news when winter fishing, as it means once a cotton layer becomes wet from sweat or a leaky wader, your body will need to work harder to keep you warm.
Never wear cotton socks, sweatpants, or even cotton undershirts. You need your body to breathe from your head to your feet. Breathable waders allow you to eject excess body temperature and perspiration out of them, but a reasonable amount of moisture sticks around. Breathable layers help distribute this condensation. Cotton layers will pool and collect it, making you feel cold and damp.
The double-sock system is perfect for winter fishing. All stocking foot waders include neoprene booties. Unfortunately, neoprene is not breathable, and your feet will sweat if you do any hiking in winter’s cold temperatures. While waders keep out water, they don’t remove all the sweat your body produces while moving.
Begin with a small, light, 100% synthetic liner sock. These are generally made with a blend of poly, nylon, or spandex material. This liner doesn’t insulate but helps wick away sweat. Over the liner, add heavyweight wool or nylon-blended socks to help keep your feet cozy and warm. Avoid layers that cause your wading boots to feel too tight at all costs. If your feet barely fit in your boots, they’ll cut off your circulation and make your feet as cold as if you weren’t wearing socks at all.
Your best alternative for 100% waterproof protection is neoprene dive-style gloves for extreme winter fishermen. Unfortunately, neoprene gloves restrict movement and can be unwieldy to cast with. In addition, they make it downright impossible to tie a fly on while wearing, so you’ll need to take them off when re-rigging.
Fingerless, fold-over mittens are the best choice for practical fishing use and constant warmth. Fold over your mitten when you tie on a fly, then fold it back when you’re finished. Look for fold-over mittens with Velcro or latch-holding designs so the mitten portion does not hang freely. Otherwise, you’ll untangle your fly line from the mitten all day.
Always bring a spare pair of gloves in your backpack. If your hands are cold, it’s just a matter of time until you quit.
If you follow basic guidelines like bypassing cotton, not squeezing too tightly into your waders, and continuing to let your body breathe, winter fishing is a cinch to remain prepared and warm for. So get out there and relish a cold day on the water, and you’ll notice that solitude is sometimes worth the trip.
These are a few winter fly fishing clothing tips. Visit our homepage to plan your fishing excursion in Florida today.