Catch More Fish by Being Prepared for Adverse Conditions
By Phillip Gentry
For die-hard anglers, fishing is a way of life no matter what Mother Nature throws at you. Rarely are fishing tournaments cancelled simply because conditions are going to be uncomfortable for the angler. In cases of cold, wind, rain, or any combination of the above, being prepared for adverse conditions will help you be more comfortable on the water and that means catching more fish.
At B’n’M, our pro-staff teams, both catfish and crappie, understand what it’s like to fish in nearly every condition imaginable and still come out on top. While most anglers may not be competing to draw a check at the end of the day, here’s some tips that will help you catch more fish in less than ideal winter conditions.
Fishing guide Brad Whitehead said being comfortable starts with having a positive mental outlook on the upcoming day.
Crappie guide Brad Whitehead of Muscle Shoals, Alabama guides spends as many days on the water as he can, and his first piece of advice starts inside his own head.
“Having a positive mental focus, I think, is the most important,” said Whitehead. “It might be cold, it might be raining, it might be early in the morning and you have to get your head right first before you can be productive on the water.”
Catfish pro-staffer Joey Pounders of Columbus, MS doesn’t leave the dock, winter, spring, summer, or fall without a full rain suit in the boat. Even on days when there’s no rain in the forecast, windy days and long boat rides from spot to spot can create wet conditions while fishing.
Catfish tournament pro Joey Pounders keeps his rain suit stored in the boat year-round for both expected and unexpected rainy days.
“It’s miserable being wet when you’re fishing, especially in the colder months,” said Pounders. “I keep my rain suit packed in a bag and stored in the boat because you never know when you might need it,” he said. “Some days I might have it on when I leave the house and other days, I might have to put it on at the ramp or sometime during the day, but I never want to leave it behind.”
Veteran crappie tournament champion Ronnie Capps from Tiptonville, Tennessee provides a little tidbit that helps he and partner Steve Coleman when the weather is so cold, he has trouble keeping feeling in his hands. These conditions make it difficult to tie knots, unhook fish or other tasks that require dexterity.
“We carry a little cooler full of warm tap water on the boat with us,” he said. “Just fill it up in the morning and before you have to tie a knot or do some work that requires good feel, just stick your hand in that warm water for a minute. It’ll heat your hand up like no heater can.”
Being smart during his pre-fishing time is the way tournament angler Whitey Outlaw of St. Matthews, South Carolina prepares for one of the angler’s worst fishing scenarios – high winds.
“I do two things, I look at the weather forecast to see which direction the wind will be coming from on tournament day,” said Outlaw. “Then I use a topo map and find some places where there’s some higher ground that will block the wind and I go find the fish in those locations. It’s not going to do you any good if you have good fish out in the middle of the lake but you can’t get to them or can’t keep your baits in the water because of high wind on tournament day.”
Kent Driscoll suggests dressing in cotton-free layers to stay warm and dry during cold, wet, and windy conditions.
Finally, pro-staffer Kent Driscoll said there’s really not much excuse for being cold on the water with the quality and availability of cold weather gear that’s available to today’s anglers.
His advice is to dress in layers of clothes that will wick away moisture from your body while holding in heat. As the day wears on, he said you can always remove unnecessary layers to remain comfortable.
“There’s a ton of light-weight materials on the market that will keep you both warm and dry,” said Driscoll. “Stay away from cotton stuff and go with the synthetic because it doesn’t hold moisture. Then top that off with a good set of all-weather bibs and jacket. You can find good sets of those at Bass Pro Shops and Cabela’s and they are worth their weight in gold when it‘s bad outside.”
Helping our customers catch more fish all year long is what we’re about here at B’n’M. Visit our website at bnmpoles.com