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Unless you have the ability to pay hundreds of dollars for state of the art gear, staying warm while fishing can seem difficult. Not only is it simply uncomfortable to have a permanent chill in your spine during your time on the water, but it also makes simple tasks, such as knot tying, a pain. If the cold keeps you from chasing big winter bass, there are 2 simple and inexpensive things you can do to maintain a warm core temperature.

Hand warmers in your wrist bands

Many anglers use hand warmers to keep their hands warm on the water. More often than not, however, I’ve found hand warmers to be a very temporary relief. Sure—they feel good when you’ve got them in your gloves, but they get annoying eventually and end up stuffed in my jacket, never to be used again.

To combat this problem, I like to put these hand warmers under the wrist band of my sweatshirt, directly on the underside of my wrist. The veins in your wrist are a major highway for blood, and when you warm those veins, your blood also warms up and pumps into the rest of your body.

Keeping these hand warmers out of your gloves allows you to firmly hold your rod, therefore increasing sensitivity, while also freeing your hands for knot tying, fish handling and lure modifications.

If you’re having problems keeping the hand warmers in place, simply wrap them loosely with athletic tape. Be careful not to wrap them too tightly, and if it feels too hot on your skin, remove them immediately.

HeatWraps on your back

Nothing is more uncomfortable than leaning over in cold weather, exposing your bare back to the elements. If you thought you were cold before, you’ll be miserable in a hurry if this happens. Once that chill gets to you, it’s hard to get rid of. To avoid this situation, here’s a little secret a duck-hunting buddy gave me.

Get some HeatWraps at your local drug store and wear them on your lower back while you’re on the water. Depending on what’s comfortable, you can either put them directly on your skin or over a thin first layer. They don’t get too hot, but provide the perfect amount of warmth to keep your core temperature at a reasonable level.

HeatWraps come with an adjustable and reusable fabric wrap that doesn’t itch or dig into your skin. When worn correctly, they won’t ride up when you cast or move around the boat—you’ll forget you’re wearing them. If you’re the thrifty type, most major drug stores carry generic brands that are available for nearly half the price.

Don’t let the cold weather scare you away from bass fishing this winter. Whether you’re on the ice or the open water this winter, these quick and inexpensive tips can make your fishing days much more enjoyable. Stay tuned for more tips on keeping warm!


9 thoughts on “2 Tricks to Keep Warm on the Water

  1. Buy good outerwear. It will last 20 years and be worth every penny. Don’t wash your outerwear and it will last a lot longer, and stay warmer and drier too.

  2. Anyone got any tips on keeping your feet warm? Keeping my feet and hands warm are my too biggest issues. But the handwarmers against the wrist may solve the cold hands, Im gonna try that.

    • Before you even think about venturing out on real cold days……wash and dry your feet, then spray your toes and feet with a unscented deodorent then use a good wool combination sock such as Fox River’s boot socks.

    • I never thought about that but it makes sense. My hands are usually fine until they get wet from landing fish or casting a bunch.

      When the temps drop, dress in layers.
      The first layer should be your thermals. I wear the Rocky brand of thermals you can buy at Walmart for $15-20 per top and bottom. Merino wool is also really good stuff, but costs a bit more.
      The second layer should be fleece or sweats.
      The third layer is either insulated bibs and jacket or my uninsulated Cabela’s Guidewear rain suit. You can get insulated Guidewear as well but I have worn my uninsulated suit down in the 20’s and been fine. The biggest thing is blocking the darn wind!
      For my feet, I wear a thin liner sock, a thick wool sock and then either insulated lace up boots or my Muck rubber boots.

  3. we fish in the cold quite a bit in michigan. staying warm isn’t that hard. no need for hand warmers. wear a good pair of moisture wicking base layer long johns (like under armor or any of the cheaper knock offs) – top and bottoms. On top of that, i wear a fleece set of long johns (top and bottom) to complete the base layer. On top of that a pair of jeans and a fleece pull-over. if its below freezing, i will add a hooded sweatshirt. Add your goretex or other bibs/jacket over that to block the wind.

    For your feet – buy a set of moisture-wicking liner socks. They will make a world of difference. Top those with a good pair of wool or synthetic heavy socks and wear an insulated boot or shoe/hightop that is not tight around your foot.

    Don’t wear latex gloves or plastic bags on your feet. Plastic/Rubber will just trap moisture and cause you to get colder faster. I don’t have a problem with cold hands, but i typically wear mechanix gloves when its very cold.

    Unless you can walk on the water, all of this should keep you warm.

    • The most dangerous thing about cold weather survival/enjoyment is to keep your core temp warm, but overheating, & sweating can be a lot deadlier, once you slow your activity, & freezing your extremities even fastr, layering does help, but only wear as much as keeps you comfortable, & hydrate yourself on a regulated schedule to ensure that you can maintain your core temp. Also you can use your own body heat to warm a small area that is protected from the outside weather conditions, by taking the layering effect to another level, …an artificial igloo of sorts, will provide temporary protection, even in the worst of weather, …. Small heater units can also be utilized for temporary protection, as well, …

  4. The most important thing I’ve found, specifically ice fishing, is layers! Multiple light layers under good outerwear will go far in freezing temps!

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