Comfort on the Waterby Capt. Terry Rand
So, being outdoors is about roughing it; getting your hands dirty, taking one on the chin, dealing with whatever cards Mother Nature deals you….Right? Well, not necessarily in my book! Let’s face it. You can go out there for an 8 hour adventure, ill prepared, and get the job done. But how much fun are you really having if you’re cold, wet and miserable? How well can you concentrate on your fishing when that cold trickle of water is seeping in under your collar and slowly running down your back? Well, if you’re prepared for changing weather conditions then you’re dressed to succeed and dressed for comfort.
Here in the Northeast, we get a variety of extreme weather conditions to contend with. The summers can be brutally hot and the winters can be downright numbing. So, the layering system is the best all around approach.
Experiencing a 20-30 degree temperature change in an eight hour period is not uncommon so it is extremely helpful to be able to adjust to those kinds of changing conditions. Being able to add layers or subtract layers is the key to staying dry and comfortable in the outdoors.
Many early summer mornings start out as cool and crisp. The weatherman may call for a 90 degree high but when departing the boat launch at 5am, the air temperature will probably be more like 62 degrees. Perfectly comfortable for a t-shirt and a flannel, right? Maybe. Until the boat starts accelerating to around 30mph! Ideal for these early mornings are windbreakers and light rain jackets. Conversely, night time fishing is much the same. Boaters will often leave the dock while the sun is still on the horizon. But, once the sun goes down, temps will begin to drop.
The great thing about windbreakers and light rain jackets are that they are featherweight. They take up very little room and can be packed away when not in use. Yet, when the temps drop, they provide body heat retention as well as sealing out the wind which chills any moisture on your skin. Most light rain jackets are dual purpose in that they provide protection against rain and boat spray as well as serving as a windbreaker. For the best results, purchase a jacket with a water proof zipper system or the combination of a zipper and snaps or buttons. Zippers can leak once they get wet so having a snap system over the zipper will help keep the zipper dry, in turn, keeping you dry and comfortable.
In colder months, you have to make sure you are going to stay warm during your outings. But, often times, after bundling up for the cold, you find yourself exerting a lot of energy. For instance, take snow shoveling. It’s 30 degrees out and you have to shovel the driveway. You bundle up for warmth, begin to shovel and after about 5 minutes you realize you are sweating. You start stripping off layers just to stay comfortable and finish the job. Well, fishing can be much the same way. And, if you continue to perspire, soaking your layers in moisture, you will wind up bundled in cold, wet clothes. Sweating in the winter time can be detrimental so you want to keep your perspiration down to a minimum by slowing down and removing enough layers so that sweat is not becoming trapped in your clothing layers. Once you cool off, add your layers back on and relax in comfort.
As you can see, layering is key to staying comfortable. Put together a layering system that works well for you in the conditions that you fish. You will find that if you are comfortable while fishing, you will be able to put in the hours that it takes to be a successful fisherman. You will also be able to better maintain your focus and you will make sounder decisions. Anything that you can use to your advantage in the pursuit of becoming a better fisherman you should make use of. And, let’s face it. Who wants to be cold and wet when you can be warm and dry?