Unlike much of the country, in which cold weather can significantly curtail fishing, winter in the Southeast is both mild and rewards anglers with a wealth of opportunity. However, even on the fisheries of Florida, the Gulf Coast, and surrounding areas, the weather can take a turn. An influx of snowbirds and winter tourists present an additional concern that can require a greater level of preparedness and caution. So get geared up in a fishing long sleeve shirt, grab that thermos of coffee and a friend, and drop your line in some winter water. Here are some tips for finding great fishing during the busy Southeast tourist season.
Freshwater Fishing From the Bank
Anglers are most likely to encounter colder weather earlier in the morning, so be prepared and layer your clothing. The primary weather concerns are going to be rain and wind, so a waterproof outer shell of rain gear is a must. Under wind-breaking rain gear, a long sleeve fishing shirt is a fishing essential anytime of year. The best will be moisture-wicking while remaining breathable to keep you comfortable from morning till night.
Of course, waterproof shoes or boots with solid traction are a must for any fishing trip. It’s likewise imperative to bring polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare in the sky and reflection off the water. A comfortable, adjustable fishing hat can help you rep your favorite fishing gear brand while adding further protection from the sun.
Pack food and drink including protein bars, beef jerky, trail mix, or something else to keep your body supplied with energy. A thermos of hot coffee or hot chocolate will likely prove welcome.
Saltwater Fishing From the Beach
Most of the above applies to fishing on the beach as much as it does the bank. Again, for any winter angling in the Southeast, make reliable, long sleeve fishing shirts under rain gear the focus of your comfort strategy. The more high-performance polyester fishing shirts can function as a great upper-body sweat-wicking base layer, because it might get hot and humid later in the day.
Additionally, any water that’s lower than your body temperature is going to make you colder, so if you’re going to be standing in the surf, wear waders. If the temperatures get low enough in your area, consider a wetsuit as an under-layer. Bring a camp chair or something else to sit on as cold, wet sand is not comfortable and will also draw the heat out of you. A pair of latex or nitrile gloves can prove surprisingly effective at keeping your hands warm without sacrificing dexterity, as even in warm weather, harsh wind and spray can make your extremities uncomfortable.
Fishing From the Boat
At the risk of becoming predictable, most the above advice is also applicable to remaining comfortable on a boat, especially in the unpredictable weather of a Southeast winter. In addition to the above gear, consider bringing an extra set of clothes along, sealed in something watertight like a dry bag. You’ll be glad you did if you find yourself in a wind-whipping cloudburst. Facing a long, windy trip back to the ramp or slip while cold and soaked is no fun.
Some boats have the added benefit of being able to accommodate a heater or heaters, just be sure the wiring can handle it. If not, disposable hand warmers in pockets or even shoes can help ward off the cold.
Finally, be extra vigilant when navigating the Southeast’s famous fisheries in the winter as you’re likely going to be sharing them with far more tourists than at other times of the year. Those tourists may not be familiar with those waterways, and sometimes, not all that familiar with controlling a boat.
About Reel Life™
Were you #RaisedOnTheWater? For the folks at Reel Life™, being raised on the water is a state of mind shared by everyone who feels the pull of the world’s oceans, beaches, rivers, and lakes. The essence of living the Reel Life™ means seeking and appreciating adventures both on and near the water. Whether your adventures are fishing, whitewater rafting, boating, kayaking, or kicking back on the beach with friends and a cold drink, Reel Life™ has the clothes and accessories to keep you cool and comfortable. Originally raised on the water in Florida, the Reel Life™ team is committed to ensuring you look great and stay protected from the elements with a terrific selection of gear including women and men fishing shirts.
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