by Capt. Adam Jaynes
It seems like it has been a few years since we have had much of a winter at all in this area but that is not the case this year. I do not recall having to use any handwarmers while fishing in a good while but for this winter I have already gone through an entire can of Ronsonol lighter fuel. My dad turned me on to the Zippo handwarmers several years ago and I now prefer them much over the disposable ones. You just must be careful not to make a mess when refilling with fuel. They get very warm and really last a good while.
I love to fish during the "winter" but one thing I can not stand is being cold on the water. I will typically overdress, wearing several layers doing my best to avoid getting cold altogether. I opt for Simms base-layers followed by their cold-weather pants and a Simms Primaloft Gore-Tex jacket. It is exceptional at blocking the wind and rain and in turn keeping me warm from the elements. Their products cost a pretty penny but with the quality and their warranty they are worth it in my opinion.
If you are willing to brave the cold, fishing can be incredibly easy this time of year, especially the redfish bite. They gang up on predictable locations each winter making for very easy targets. At times you can anchor and catch them until you are physically tired of it. When they are biting that well lure selection is not as vital as jighead size. Many times, we are catching these fish in a little deeper water than we usually fish, so we will use 3/8oz up to 3/4oz jigheads.
One of many!
This was just the case this past Saturday. Johnny helped me with a two-boat trip for a group of both veterans and active duty military members. It was literally freezing when we met at the ramp that morning as they donned their waders. In discussion prior to leaving the ramp Johnny and I both believed that they would have a much better chance of catching fish if we stayed in the boat and fished deeper water due to the recent cold front. The group agreed, and we did just that. Between the two boat we only saw one trout but both boats caught redfish until they were physically tired of it and Johnny and I were physically tired of netting and unhooking fish! It was very gratifying listening to both Joseph (Marine veteran) and Chris (active Coast Guard) talk and laugh, both agreeing that they had never caught fish like that before. We stayed on anchor with the MinnKota iPilot and just flat out wore them out. We caught all our fish on Down South Lures and Egret Wedgetails, color did not seem to matter whatsoever.
Joey with a solid red
The hot and heavy redfish bite should continue at least through February. Trout fishing will continue to be up and down with the weather however if you are in the right place at the right time it can be very rewarding. Be safe out there this time of year as there are not a lot of boaters on the water if you are in need of help and it does not take long at all for hypothermia to set in! Thank you to all who have served and are currently serving to keep us safe!
The ending of a very enjoyable trip