In my home waters of Southwest Florida we are fortunate enough to be able to kayak fish most of the year in tech shirts and board shorts. March being a transition month weather wise puts us in the same situation that most of the rest of the country faces during their fishable months. It is all about the layering. It is not uncommon to start the morning in the 50s only to see 80 degree temperatures by the afternoon.
My bottom layer begins with a tech shirt from RedZone Apparel (redzoneapparel.com) and a pair of board shorts. On top of that, I go back to RedZone for their hoodie that is made of a performance microfiber that wicks moisture and does not absorb it like the traditional cotton ones. If I don’t plan on wading, I throw on a pair of Columbia (columbia.com) Blood and Guts long pants over my shorts. I like to keep my clothing fairly loose, so I am comfortable and can pop up and down on my Hobie (hobie.com) Pro Angler 14 with ease to spot redfish and sea trout holding in shallow water potholes.
Believe it or not, we do get cold fronts in Florida that will drive temperatures down for days at a time. During these periods, I top off with a Columbia (columbia.com) Omni Dry foul weather jacket that is both water proof, but breathable. I add a Buff not only as a sunscreen, but to keep the cold air from whistling though my ears and to help keep my face from chapping. Most days, I wear a visor to help shade my eyes, but on those unseasonably cold days I will don my lined Temple University beanie (temple.edu). Heat escapes through your head, so covering your head is a lot more important that you may think.
During the winter months we experience a lot of extremely low tides and some pretty stiff winds. Through trial and error, as well as exchanging information with fellow kayak anglers, I have found that by hopping out of our kayaks and wading provides us the stealthiest approach to stalk our quarry that has taken up residence in those potholes I mentioned. They sit in ambush mode waiting for a crustacean or bait fish to make the mistake of crossing the open expanse of the hole. Once the water temperatures dip into the 60s it is best to don a pair of waders. The ones I wear are Hodgman’s (hodgeman.com) Sawbill Creek waders. They are both breathable and insulated. This combination allows me to be comfortable all day without having to wear extra layering like sweat pants or long johns underneath them.
The most important item that I put on is my sunglasses. My glasses come from Hobie Polarized (hobiepolarized.com), who cover the full gamut of the lenses for every situation from the Sightmaster for low light to the Sunset Mirror for high in the sky sun. I can pretty much work around not having almost any other piece of apparel and that is why I keep a spare pair in my dry box and another in my truck. It is imperative that I am able to see through the water to sight fish as I pole a flat and without my polarized glasses that would be impossible.