Staying warm equals more catching!

Captain Dickie Colburn – For The Record

After carefully shuffling their way across the frost covered dock, my clients hunkered down behind the leaning post in an effort to avoid the dreaded chill of the upcoming frigid boat ride.When I eased under the Adams Bayou Bridge the surface temperature in the bayou was a balmy fifty-one degrees, but we were about to deal with the chill factor of a 15 mile per hour northwest wind in 35 degree weather!

We never exceeded 25 miles per hour, but we had no sooner reached the Intracoastal than one of my clients was already tugging on the back of my rain jacket.“Let’s fish right here,” he suggested with shivering conviction. “We can run to the lake when it warms up.”

“What if it doesn’t warm up and the wind blows even harder,” asked one of his pals.As it would turn out, his friend was right on both accounts and only because I had an additional set of Frogg Toggs in dry storage were we able to enjoy a better than expected day of catching.

Unlike his two friends, Todd was wearing a high dollar thermal jacket, gloves, and a wool ski mask, but because there was no rain in the forecast he overlooked the one piece of gear no experience fisherman ever leaves at home….his rain suit.If your final layer of protection against the cold won’t block the wind, the warmth factor of the rest of your clothing is compromised.

I cannot count the number of days each year that I make at least that first boat ride of the day in my rain suit only to store it away a few hours later and spend the remainder of the day in shorts.And while the slip on pants may be more convenient at a sporting event, bibs are a much better option for anglers.

Because they are chest high you don’t have to worry about cold rain water finding that exposed skin between your jacket and pants when bending over to net a fish or dig through a storage box.And best of all, bibs have easily accessed outer waterproof pockets for everything from your cell phone to your truck keys.

For years I carried extra Frogg Togg Classic suits for clients that showed up without theirs because they were inexpensive and worked.When I figured out that the slightly more expensive Toad Skinz model not only looked really good, but was warmer as well, that was all I personally wore.

That all changed once again when Frogg Toggs introduced their new Pilot model.The same good looks, but without compromising any of the flexibility and comfort, this suit is not only even warmer, but unbelievably dry.If you can turn your back to the rain with your hood on, someone else will have to tell you when it quits raining!

I am on this rain gear rant only because staying warm has been an issue of late due to some very cold mornings and you cannot consistently catch fish when you are shaking and have lost all focus.Put your rainsuit in the boat before you put the first rod in and you will never regret it regardless of the time of year.

One other note for the more persistent winter fishermen.I used to include extra pants and a sweater should someone fall in the water or slip while wading, but we have since discovered, not by choice, that simply putting on rain gear over the wet clothing provided the necessary warmth to ward off hypothermia.A Ziploc bag full of energy snacks and a thermos of coffee helps as well!

Now that you are warm and can at least get to the fish, we have had a pretty good week when the wind wasn’t blowing 25 miles per hour.Shutting the gates on T-Bend has already started making a difference in the water clarity and the north wind has blown out a lot of the dirtier water.

I don’t recall ever hearing as many fishermen as well as Game Wardens talking about the sheepshead bite at the jetties, but I haven’t given that bite a shot.We are still splitting our time between wading and drift fishing the flats and while we are yet to catch any really big trout, we are catching decent numbers.

We did much better this week with mullet imitations like the Corky and Maniac Mullet than tails or Swim Baits. We had been locked into five inch tails in plum or purple/chartreuse, but glow or pearl/chartreuse were much more productive in both the plastics and suspended baits this past week.

You don’t know if you don’t go.