Last season we covered a lot of tips for dressing for spring fishing in fresh water. Often spring fishing in fresh water comes slightly earlier than does salt water fishing on both coasts. Check your March 2012 issue of Coastal Angler Magazine and The Angler Magazine (you do save issues don’t you?) to review these tips.
One of these tips involved buying cheap gardening gloves, which I first saw in WalMart but which are also available in other stores. At $4.00 for twelve pair, they are almost disposable. I usually carry two or three pair with me for spring fishing, with at least one pair with the thumb and forefinger cut back to be able to tie knots and handle gear. This makes it possible to tie knots and also to handle both spinning and casting tackle. You can accurately cast and feather spinning with the forefinger cut back and cast using thumb control on casting tackle.
Marine and boating stores carry rubber gauntlets that will protect your wrists and forearms from cold water and keep sleeves from getting wet and making you miserable. These come in various sizes, and are well worth it when landing fish.
Similarly, I like a waterproof parka for wear over any layers of clothing. If the parka is long, it works to protect your bottom when sitting. If not, be sure to wear the rain pants also, even over hip boots that will not protect your butt from wet and cold.
For emergencies or buddies with less forethought, carry fold-up disposable parkas. For about $1.00 each in sport and variety stores, they are well worth it. Each is about the size of a pack of cigarettes to fit in a pocket or tackle box.
Hip boots or chest high waders are also good and add more warmth and protection from early inclement spring weather. If the weather is really cold, it helps to wear long johns or flannel pajamas under your pants for all day warmth. In addition, roomy loose fitting wool socks are good. Be sure to carry an extra dry pair should your boots leak or you ship some water.
For fishing when hippers or chest highs are not needed I like slip-on rubber boots such as are often worn by commercial fishermen. You can find these at discount stores at a reasonable price and I always keep a pair in my fishing van.
From discount stores or from the sport shows at this time of year, you can also find balaclavas or similar ski masks. They are available different colors and styles, with some open, others covering the whole face except mouth and eyeholes.
The advantage of these is that they can be worn as a hat/head warmer or scrunched down around the neck for warmth. Just make sure that you take this off when going to the bank or 7-11. Failure to do this could get you mistaken for someone with less than honest motives and be a little dangerous to your health.