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Let's fish warmer this winter

December 8, 2006 - Here are some tips for keeping warmer while you're doing that winter fishing courtesy of the Beaver Dam Store crew!

WHILE fly fishing in many of the USA's finest trout waters are now shut down and/or covered in a whole bunch of snow and ice, here on the White we are lucky enough to continue fishing year round _ and some great fishing is to be had, if your properly prepared. We spend plenty of time yakking about rods, reels and flies but for winter fishing there is nothing more important that what is under your waders. If your warm, dry and comfy there isn't any problem about fishing in the winter months. If your not then your day on the water can be pretty unpleasant.

The trick to keeping warm, is staying dry, whether its from the river, or the perspiration from hiking into your fishing spot in all those warm clothes. Good breathable waders and a breathable wading jacket cover both elements. We still have a lot of faithful neoprene wearers, but to our mind breathables, with the proper underlayering are actually warmer than neoprenes, offer a lot more comfort and are significantly lighter.

TIP: If you have been wearing your breathables all year, you probably have some pinhole leaks, from thorns, flies and other misadventures on the river. Now is the time to use that wader repair kit to patch those holes, or we have several styles available. If your leaks are too bad, check out our range of Simms waders and bargain priced Hodgman closeouts.

There is one simple rule for under your waders. NO Cotton. Jeans or cotton t-shirts are worse than useless. We use the modern wicking synthetic fibres which actually transfer moisture from the inner surface to the outer surface _ always away from your body. Plus they feel so nice. In winter we will start with a thin next to the skin layer, more for wicking than warmth, like the Simms Rivertek Tops.

TIP: Don't wear your fishing socks on the drive to the store. You car heater may make your feet perspire a little, enough so your feet will be affected when you start standing in cold water. Instead change into a fresh pair for wading, and then you have another pair to come home in.

Next goes our warm layer, usually our Pacific Fly fleece tops and pants. If its really cold we may add a third fleece layer, like a windstopper fleece, which can also be your outer layer on clear days. Very windy or wet days we add a breathable waterproof outer layer Simms Freestone or G3 Jacket. Warm headgear is also essential, as one of the highest areas of heat loss on the human body is via the head. On moderate days it might be a ball cap, or you might need a fleece or wool stocking cap, toasty Simms wool tanker hat.

TIP: If you feel these cold days more than most one easy way to keep warm is the addition of a neck gaiter, and they are pretty simple to make at home, just a simple open ended tube of fleece to insulate the neck and throat. This can make a BIG difference.

Finally, the one other essential for your winter fishing kit is a bag full of dry clothing kept in your vehicle or even boat. It doesn't need to be pretty but if you take a spill and end up with waders full of water, you need to get dry and warm fast. Hypothermia can set in pretty quickly. Have a dry towel, some fleece pants and top, gloves and socks. Some chemical hand/foot warmer packs can really help.

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