BassWestUSA - January/February, 2010, Page 68

guide perspective

have all heard the old saying “Dress for Suc- cess”. I know growing up that phrase was always pounded into my head. In this article, we are not going to talk about a shirt and tie though. We are going to talk about cold weather gear for a successful winter day of fishing with a guide. The first part of dressing for success is fully understand- ing the elements that you are trying to defeat: wind, rain, low temperatures and in some cases, frost or even snow. We all take out the rain gear when it is wet or the forecast calls for rain during your trip. But what about wind chill? Wind chill is probably the most underestimated element of them all. Wind chill is the apparent temperature felt on the exposed skin due to wind. Here is where it is most deceiving. You wake up in the morning and the weatherman says it going to be a nice afternoon with highs in the low fifties. The morning will be a little cooler to start, with temps in the low forties with a slight wind at five mph. “That is not too bad” you think to yourself. Now let’s flash forward to the lake. You arrive after a nice warm drive in a heated car. You get out and feel comfortable with your ther- mals and a topcoat for protection from the cold. You climb into the boat and be- gin your start to your first location. Now for the deceiving part that all clients forget: boat movement creates wind chill. If you look at the chart it shows that at forty degree air tem- perature, with a boat go- ing sixty miles per hour, (so let us say a sixty mph wind), the temperature with a wind chill factor is now twenty-five degrees. That is seven degrees below freez- ing. Now your exciting day on the water, that you have


DreSS for Success

planned for months, or maybe even years, has become the most miserable day of your life. Being unprepared by not wearing the proper clothing can rob you of a fun and thrilling day on the water, and in an ex- treme case, send you to the hospital with hypothermia. I am going to try and cover the proper gear for you to bring so that this does not happen to you. Guiding on the California Delta is a year round venture. When the bass bite starts slowing down in the months of No- vember through January, we change our focus to the best strip- er fishing this side of the Mississippi. I get a lot of clients that are from out-of-state and some even international. They almost all have the same mind set “Sunny California Here I Come”. My clients’ voices change when I tell them, “Well, the temp is going to be in the low forties but once the ice clears off the boat we should have a good day of fishing.” It is like they got a frog in their throat, or they ask me questions as if though I have lost my mind. I have a list that I e-mail to my clients or go over on the phone about what gear they should bring, and what I have to provide. The list may seem long, but most of the items can fit in a medium size duffel bag. The first and foremost thing we cover is dressing in layers. If you think you have one too many then put on one more. Dressing in layers is the best way to stay warm. It all starts with the long johns. I tell my cli- ents to wear an undergarment such as Under Armour ‘Cold Gear’ rather than thermals. Most thermal underwear is made of cotton. Cotton re- tains water and moisture, which quickly conducts heat away from the body. The next layer is not as important. It should be whatever you feel most comfort- able in whether it be jeans or sweat pants for the lower body and a hoodie or flannel for the upper body. The outer layer should consist of a heavy fleece lined jacket, preferably Gortex or some other kind of synthetic fabric that is wind and water- proof, yet still breathable. The bottoms or pants should also have the same materials, again, preferably Gortex. Now let’s talk about the feet . The most miser-



January/February 2010

by Vince Borges