Winter is almost upon us and with it, the likelihood of a cold snap.
If you like nothing better than bright, crisp mornings or chilly moonlit nights on the riverbank or beach, it’s important to make sure you’re adequately prepared for whatever the weather may throw at you. Here’s our guide to keeping warm so you can keep your line wet this winter.
Stay warm by staying cool
As every arctic explorer knows, the best way to stay warm is never to get hot. On cold days, sweat won’t evaporate. Instead, it’ll make your base layer damp. As soon as you stop moving around so much, that cold wet layer will chill you to the bone.
Wear a thermal material next to your skin, preferably one that wicks water away from your body. And rather than thick, bulky clothes, wear thin layers of fishing clothing you can take off if you get too warm. Fleeces come in a wide variety of thicknesses, making them the ideal layering garment.
Keep your head covered
While it’s not actually true that we lose more heat from our head than any other part of the body, it is true that we will if it’s the only part of us that’s not covered! The simple message is – don’t forget to take your hat. Bobble hat, beanie, thinsulate hat – whatever your choice, make sure it’s on your head.
Even the Romans wore socks – with a separate big toe so their sandals wouldn’t fall off. Luckily you’ll be wearing boots, but you still need to make sure your socks are up to the job. Wool rich socks, thermal socks, fleece welly liners – all will do their bit to keep your toes warm. Waterproof breathable wading boots with decent traction are a must for wet or icy winter conditions – and if you’re choice is wellies, go for the neoprene or fleece lined variety.
Half gloves, or fingerless gloves will keep your hands warm while allowing you to work with your fingers. For cold wet conditions, it’s always best to go for a design that combines a warm neoprene or velvet lining with a windproof outer. That way if your gloves get wet, your hands will stay warm.
It goes without saying that you’ll need a waterproof shell for winter fishing excursions. Go for the best breathable fishing waterproofs you can afford. A decent coat with lined pockets and a decent storm hood, matched with over trousers or bibs will offer great protection from inclement weather.
One of the best ways to keep warm is to keep your internal boiler stoked. Hot soup, tea and coffee served from a good quality stainless steel or unbreakable thermos can be a lifesaver on cold wet days. Those who prefer to travel light or who anticipate being away for more than one day might consider a field kettle cook set. Originally designed in the early 20th century and used extensively by kiwi soldiers in world war two, this superb bit of field kit enables you to heat water and cook using small quantities of twigs as fuel.
Hardened winter carpers will know the value of a decent bivvy. A tough, lightweight shelter is essential kit for when the weather turns nasty. Not only does a bivvy offer somewhere to sit while you wait for the fish to bite, it offers vital and potentially life saving protection from the elements.