UPCOMING EVENT: Bass Fishing League - 2016 - Lake Okeechobee

Six tips for managing cold, wet weather

2011 Lake Hartwell champion Jason Christie makes his way to the takeoff boat.

Numb fingers or the glazed look of a mental checkout - hard to say which is worse, but both can doom a fishing trip.

Thus far, the 2014 fishing season has tested anglers' cold-weather tolerance more than any season of recent memory. It has included snow days in Texas (day two of the Rayovac FLW Series Texas Division season-opener at Sam Rayburn Reservoir), tournament cancellations throughout the Walmart Bass Fishing League circuit and a two-day opening round at the Walmart FLW Tour event at Lake Hartwell in which pros dealt with temperatures in the 30s, rain (and possibly sleet), winds in excess of 20 mph and even fog.

If you're fishing for fun, you always have the option of staying home during bad-weather days. Tournament anglers don't have that luxury. They must deal with the elements or risk missing a payday or dropping in the angler-of-the-year standings.

"Everybody has to deal with the same conditions, so you just prepare for it and do the best you can," adds 2012 Tour Rookie of the Year Clent Davis.

We asked Davis and other Walmart FLW Tour pros for advice on how they maintain their performance during inclement conditions.

Andy Morgan - Stay ahead of the elements

Andy Morgan spent time casting and winding on day one.Morgan's best advice is to cut off the cold and rain before it hits, rather than trying to fight it off once the shivers have set in. He keeps his rain hood up even between showers for warmth. He also wears a stocking cap and keeps several dry, warm backups handy. For gloves, Morgan likes Under Armour ColdGear gloves because they fit tight and lock in heat. They're not waterproof, so an occasional change-out is needed. Morgan packs multiple pairs of gloves, along with a dry towel for wet trips.

"Once you get cold, you start to lose your desire to do well," adds Morgan. "You have to keep yourself in the game because once you get cold, you just go down the tube."

Clent Davis - Helmet up

Clent Davis used a mix of largemouths and spotted bass to finish day one seventh with 16-14.To facilitate vision, while also preventing the heat-sapping vexation of a wet head, Davis wears a high-quality motorcycle helmet when driving the boat. He also keeps a full change of clothes packed in a dry bag. In case of an accidental dunking or complete submersion, dry clothes can offer much more than comfort - they can literally spell the difference between recovery and tragedy.

"When I'm home during the off-season, I make sure I go out fishing on some cold, wet days to stay conditioned to it," Davis says. "During a tournament, it really doesn't bother me. I'm there to pay my bills, and I just worry about catching fish. If you start worrying about the cold, you're done. Just keep your eyes on the prize - that next fish."

Cody Meyer - Add latex gloves

Repel pro Cody Meyer drop-shots his way to 8th place on day two.Meyer's focal point for warmth is his hands. Under his all-weather gloves, he'll use latex medical gloves, which adhere to his hands like a wet suit to lock in heat. Beyond that, he says a little perspective helps him keep his head in the game.

"I just fish hard and envision myself catching five fish," says Meyer, who recently caught his 50th consecutive Walmart FLW Tour limit, a record. "You just have to remember that, despite the miserable weather, you're still doing something you love."

Rich Dalbey - Add layers

Rich Dalbey rounds out the top 10 after day one with 15 pounds, 15 ounces.The Texas pro Dalbey grew up in Northern latitudes and is accustomed to the cold so much so that he doesn't wear gloves unless temperatures fall below freezing, because even thin gloves limit his ability to detect subtle strikes and increase the chances that he'll snag the gloves on a treble hook.
He protects his core with Under Armour base layer garments, which lock in heat and keep him warm without needing to pile on so many layers that he can't move. His feet stay toasty inside waterproof insulated boots. Keeping feet dry is just as important as keeping them warm, because once they're wet, they're bound to get cold.

Randall Tharp - Invest in outer layers

Randall Tharp wrestles fish number five into the boat on day one of the Walmart FLW Tour on Lake Hartwell.For the defending Forrest Wood Cup champ, nothing beats a well-made rain suit for repelling what Mother Nature throws at anglers on tournament day. High-end performance gear can be pricy, Tharp notes, but when you're running wide-open through damp, biting cold, you'll be thankful you invested in durable rainwear with elastic cuffs to block those bone-chilling drips.

Tharp says the inexpensive brown cotton "jersey" style gloves (usually sold in bundles) offer the optimal blend of hand protection and strike sensitivity. For running, though, he'll pull on a pair of Gore-Tex waterproof gloves to protect his hands from wind chills.

Dave Lefebre - Choose rods, reels, line carefully

Second-place pro Dave Lefebre diligently watches his graph. The Kellogg's Frosted Flakes pro values proper apparel, but he also notes important tackle concerns. First, to minimize icing in line guides, Lefebre avoids micro guides. The Pennsylvania pro further avoids icing by applying Blakemore Real Magic to his baitcaster's line level-wind feature so the lubricant can coat exiting line. Dunking rods, he says, might temporarily clear ice, but it actually compounds the long-term frustration by leaving more water on the rod.

Lastly, Lefebre suggests downsizing fluorocarbon line to decrease memory coiling. Limpness increases as size decreases, so when fish are biting light, smaller fluoro might help you feel another opportunity.

Tags: david-a-brown  article 

/tips/2016-07-28-flw-podcast-128-mark-rose

FLW Podcast 128 - Mark Rose

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-23-1000-islands-day-3-midday-update

1000 Islands Day 3 Midday Update

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-22-1000-islands-midday-update-day-2

1000 Islands Midday Update Day 2

Day two of the Costa FLW Series Northern Division event presented by Mercury at 1000 Islands got started on a slightly different note this morning when FLW’s tournament directors declared Lake Ontario off limits due to hazardous conditions. The change threw a few of the top pros off their primary plans, but regardless the 137-boat field will be cut down to the top 10 after today, so adjustments need to be made in order to qualify to fish the weekend. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-19-flw-podcast-126-icast

FLW Podcast 126 - ICAST

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-14-2017-walmart-flw-tour-schedule

2017 Walmart FLW Tour Schedule

In what has become an annual tradition at FLW, the 2017 Walmart FLW Tour schedule was announced at a press conference and industry gathering held Thursday on the show floor at ICAST in Orlando, Fla. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-12-si-se-puede-yes-we-can

Si Se Puede ... Yes We Can

Mexico’s Lake Zimapan is different in many ways from the lakes to the north such as Florida’s Lake Okeechobee and California’s Clear Lake, but one element it has in common with those famous fisheries is big bass. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-5-rookie-lessons-learned

5 Rookie Lessons Learned

People have asked me what my first year on the Walmart FLW Tour was like. Well, it was like running headfirst into a hurricane for a few months. I came out the other side a little battered, bruised and smelling like fish. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-11-flw-podcast-125-scott-martin

FLW Podcast 125 - Scott Martin

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-review-lew-s-custom-speed-stick-lite

Review: Lew’s Custom Speed Stick Lite

Recently I had the opportunity to try one model in particular – the 7-foot, 4-inch Magnum Pitchin’ rod. After fishing with it several times, I’ve concluded that it performs as advertised, is sensitive and lightweight, and is well worth the money. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-reunited-and-it-feels-so-good

Reunited, and it Feels so Good

This year I really had a reunion with finesse fishing. Most of my better tournaments came from fishing some type of finesse presentation. Finesse tactics seemed to always give me a certain confidence about the day. While finesse tactics are nothing new to the game of bass fishing, this year I regained the confidence and joy of catching bass on smaller offerings. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-08-2016-icast-preview

2016 ICAST Preview

The doors to ICAST don’t open until next week, when everyone gets out on the showroom floor in Orlando, Fla., but there are already plenty of snippets of information available. FLW’s media crew will be there in full force to bring you coverage of the hottest new products, as well as the annual New Product Showcase awards. For now, take a gander at some of the early birds. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-07-07-flw-canada-kicks-off-at-tri-lakes

FLW Canada Kicks Off at Tri-Lakes

Among these Canadian all-stars was the eventual winning team of Chris Vandermeer of Peterborough and Jeff Slute of Millbrook. Capitalizing on a strong day one shallow-water smallmouth pattern, the duo took advantage of the slick-calm conditions using a silver-hued topwater popping plug to agitate the lake’s bronzebacks into attack. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-tour-pro-cooksey-recovering-after-accident

FLW Tour Pro Cooksey Recovering After Accident

Walmart FLW Tour sophomore Dalton Cooksey of New Concord, Ky., is recovering at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Tennessee following a single-car accident that took place Wednesday afternoon. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-30-flw-podcast-124-jeremy-lawyer

FLW Podcast 124 - Jeremy Lawyer

READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-29-stetson-blaylock-s-recipe-for-a-wacky-rig

Stetson Blaylock’s Recipe for a Wacky Rig

From March until the end of the fishing season I’m going to have a wacky rig on deck. It’s a really effective way to fish anytime the fishing is tough, or if the fish are up cruising banks. Anytime fish are about 5 feet deep or less, I can catch them on the wacky rig. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-28-morgan-claims-third-flw-tour-angler-of-the-year-title

Morgan Claims third FLW Tour Angler of the Year Title

MINNEAPOLIS – Livingston Lures pro Andy Morgan of Dayton, Tennessee, added to his incredible fishing resume by winning his third Walmart FLW Tour Angler of the Year title Saturday at the FLW Tour's final 2016 regular-season event on Lake Champlain.... READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-24-three-things-by-dd-kentucky-lake

Three Things by DD: Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake did not go the way I intended. I was pumped and ready to rock out a top-20 finish. I had great expectations of myself, but nothing seemed to come together. Practice was dicey, but I thought for sure I could put something together to make the cut. That was until day one came, and the whole vibe of my day instantly went from eager to agitated. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-23-how-to-catch-smallmouths-with-hair-jigs

How to Catch Smallmouths with Hair Jigs

The “right” hair jig for smallmouths is a small 1/16- to 1/8-ounce marabou jig with a round or mushroom-shaped head. The jig is similar to marabou jigs used by crappie fishermen, but bass models will often have a larger, stronger hook and possibly a longer or thicker skirt. Naturally, anglers have their favorites, and there are subtle differences in jigs that make some better than others. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-22-two-exciting-events-to-look-forward-to

Two Exciting Events to Look Forward To

We are in the last stretch of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour. Awaiting us is the Lake Champlain tournament in just a few days. A couple of things will be settled there: the pro field for the Forrest Wood Cup and the Angler of the Year. READ MORE »

/tips/2016-06-21-tagging-along-with-sprague-in-kentucky

Tagging Along with Sprague in Kentucky

Through the first four events of the 2016 Walmart FLW Tour season, Jeff Sprague finished inside the top 20 every time and challenged for the win at Beaver Lake. After stop No. 4 on Pickwick, Sprague took over the lead in the Angler of the Year race. This is the story of his first tournament as the AOY leader – stop No. 5 on Kentucky Lake. Currently, Sprague is preparing for the finale on Lake Champlain. He’s in second place in the AOY standings. READ MORE »