Get ready for the cold now

November 10, 2012

I know it’s hard to think cold when our weather is not. If you don’t, you might be unprepared on the water.

It is definitely colder on the water as you run down the lake with no wind protection. Remember to dress appropriately for the conditions, as your day will become miserable the longer you are in the elements.

Many folks I take out are not prepared. When you get on the water, even temperatures in the 50s and 60s will be cold. When you are in the elements for several hours, the conditions will wear on you. Be prepared as you can always take off layers if you don’t need them.

Though many folks do not venture out in the cold, winter is one of my favorite times to fish. The cold weather striper/hybrid bite on artificials is some of the best action of the year. This cold weather artificial bite typically starts when the water temperatures fall to below 60 degrees, and that typically occurs around Dec. 1.

Insulated coveralls with insulated boots and gloves are a necessity on those cold days. Your extremities are usually the first to get cold. Protection against the cold wind for your body and your face is necessary. The cold air rushing in your sinuses can bring on pain and headaches.

Some fishermen will wear a shielded helmet to protect their head and face from the wind. Some type of headgear or hood should be used, as this is where you can lose a large percentage of the heat from your body.

Cold weather will also stress your equipment and boat. It is a good time now to service your lower unit before the first freeze. As you well know, water freezing in the lower unit is not good for the seals. Remember, also, to lower your motor so that any trapped water in the prop/exhaust area runs out. This is a good idea year-round.

Transom savers keep the motor high, so it may be prudent to drain all the water before putting the transom saver on. Plastic parts and hoses become more brittle when real cold. If you have an inboard or inboard/outboard you must not forget to drain those areas that hold cooling water as damage could occur when it freezes.

Extreme cold can put ice on the boat on the fishing decks just from spray of water on the lake. Special precautions should be taken because of the slip hazard. You definitely do not want to fall into the cold water with your entire heavy winter gear and boots on. This could potentially take someone’s life. Make every move a slow thought-out process, which is good safe common sense on any slippery surface.

Your hands will get real cold real quick if you get them wet when landing a fish or baiting a hook. This can be avoided with a good set of gloves but handling the equipment with gloves can be difficult. A good set of neoprene gloves may make your life a little easier. Insulated waterproof hunting gloves are my favorite. Neoprene does not hold the heat in as good hunting gloves in my opinion. You may have to take them off to tie your knots but you should be able to fish with them on.

Your fishing gear can be impacted as well on real cold days. Ice can build up on the guides and reels due to the lake water on the fishing line. Casting and retrieving can be impaired. You just have to take the extra time to remove the ice.

If you are planning on doing some fishing this winter, be prepared. We are not sure what kind of winter we will have, but we are sure to have some cold days.Stay off the big water with those high north winds and bring a thermos with a warm beverage.

Don’t forget hand warmers as they are fairly inexpensive. Your fishing trip will definitely be more enjoyable.

Hood County Fishing Report

Granbury is about 5 feet low and clear. Water temperatures are in the upper 60s to low 70s. Fishing has been good for sand bass and black bass under the birds on the main lake. Best action is reported on the lower ends. However, fish are being caught at Indian Harbor and in front of City Beach.

Slabs and live shad will put fish in boat.If the birds are not working, work flats near dropoffs. I found the best depth this past Tuesday was 10 to 15 feet of water.

Squaw Creek black bass numbers continue to be good to excellent on soft plastics. Top water action is reported to be good as well. Some good fish to 6 pounds are being caught.

Possum Kingdom sand bass and small stripers continue to be good. The sand bass action near Costello island is unbelievable.

Look for the birds. Lewisville, Bridgeport and Benbrook have the same report – “look for the birds” to find hybrids and sand bass. Swimbaits and slabs are the best choice. Live bait is always good.

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