The weather is warming up all over the U.S., but I want to return to a topic near to every Northern fisherman’s heart: ice fishing. Now, I live in East Texas, where the closest we get to an actual Winter is a prediction of “possible freezing rain…maybe…kind of.”
But I was born and raised in Northern Kentucky, where it gets a bit nippier. And I can tell you that the outdoor clothing you wear absolutely makes or breaks you in ice fishing. Skimp on your Winter outdoor clothing, and you’re guaranteed to have a horrible time, even if you catch a stringer full of pan fish.
So take notes…
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What every ice fishing “pro” has in his outdoor clothing wardrobe
You simply cannot engage in effective ice fishing without the proper head covering. It’s a fact of nature. In the world of outdoor clothing, you have many hat choices, but you only need one: the funky one with the ear flaps that tie down under your chin.
Yes, that one.
Ignore that voice telling you that you look foolish and put it on.
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Fish don’t care what you’re wearing, but you will after a couple of hours when it’s 5 degrees and the wind is whipping.
Once your head is properly attired, your next ice fishing outdoor clothing essential is at the other end of your body: heavy duty boots. You’re on ice, hello! Risking frostbite with tennis shoes or cheap boots is a sure sign of a fishing amateur. Invest in a sturdy pair with good insulation.
Next up when putting together your ice fishing ensemble is keeping your hands warm. Now, this is very tricky and definitely can be the fastest way to ruin a trip out on the frozen lake. Gloves are necessary outdoor clothing for ice fishing, of course, but be very careful. You have to marry a need to stay warm with the obvious need to actually use your fingers. It’s angling, not horseshoes. I recommend a snug wool-lined pair with the ends snipped off at the second knuckle. Important: keep an extra pair of over-sized gloves in a pocket at all times. Trust me!
I’m going to assume that you would know better than to go ice fishing without a pair of pants, shirt, and jacket. You’re on your own there. But remember – it’s the outdoor clothing you DON’T remember that ruins your ice fishing trip, so it’s better to overdoing than underdoing it.
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