Never too early to prepare
October is here and it may be that time of the year to start thinking about getting your boat and your gear ready for the winter months.
If you don’t fish in the winter, you don’t want to wait for that first freeze before winterizing your boat. And if you’re a winter angler like myself, you’ll be getting your boat and equipment serviced for winter use.
You should also start thinking about bringing those cold weather clothes out of storage. Even if it doesn’t feel cold outside, it may be relatively cool on the water after being out there for a while.
The wind chill can be tough at high speeds on those cool days and even worse on the real cold days. Remember to dress appropriately for the conditions, as your day will become miserable the longer you are in the elements without sufficient protection.
Unless you have a boat with an enclosed area, insulated coveralls with insulated boots and gloves are more than likely a necessity on those real cold days. Dress in layers so you can peel off a layer or two if it starts to warm up.
Normally your extremities will be the first to get cold. Protection against the cold wind for your entire body especially your face and extremities is important. The cold air rushing in your sinuses as you run down the lake can bring on pain and headaches.
Some fishermen will wear a shielded helmet to protect their head and face from the wind. Some type of headgear or hood should be used, as this is where you lose a large percentage of your body heat.
Your equipment will be stressed by the cold as well. It is a good idea to service your lower unit before the first freeze arrives. If you have any water in the oil it potentially could freeze and expand and damage oil seals.
Also, it is a good idea to lower your motor when it is parked so that any trapped water in the prop/exhaust area runs out.
Fill your gas tank to displace any area where moisture could condense. There are additives available to control water in fuel if you should run into this problem.
Plastic parts and hoses become more brittle in severe cold. If you have an inboard or inboard/outboard motor you must not forget to drain those areas that hold cooling water in the engine block, as damage could occur to the engine if the water freezes.
Extreme cold can put ice on the boat on the fishing decks just from the spray of water on the lake or the dew from the previous night. Special precautions should be taken because of the slip hazard.
You definitely do not want to fall into the cold water, especially if you have your entire heavy winter gear and boots on. This could potentially take your life.
Your hands can get real cold real quick if you get them wet on those cold days, especially when landing or releasing fish. This may not be avoidable in some cases but drying your hands and putting those gloves back on quickly will help. Use a net if at all possible.
Handling the equipment with gloves on can be difficult. A good set of neoprene or fishing gloves may make your life a little easier.
You may have to take them off to tie your knots but you should be able to fish with them on. Knot tying can be difficult even with bare cold hands.
If you are planning on doing some fishing this fall and winter, be prepared. Whatever kind of winter we may have should not stop the serious, prepared fisherman and fisherwoman.
Your fishing trip will definitely be more enjoyable if you are comfortable. Please be safe on the water.
Remember that some of the best striped bass fishing is in the fall and winter.
HOOD COUNTY FISHING REPORT
Granbury water temperatures will be falling with the passing cool fronts. Small sand bass and small stripers are abundant and can be caught on slabs from Striper Alley to Indian Harbor.
Keeper length for sand bass is 10 inches and striped bass is 18 inches. Consult the TPWD handbook to distinguish the two species.
Largemouth bass are good to excellent and many are feeding in the same locations as the white bass. Channel catfish are good on cut shad near creek entrances. Crappies are good near structure mid-lake.
Squaw Creek largemouth bass action continues to be good for numbers of fish near the island and on points on the upper ends. Tilapia are fair on worms fished in the back of creeks.
On other lakes, the small sand bass and small stripers are being caught in numbers at both Lake Whitney and Possum Kingdom similar to Granbury. Look for birds and work feeding flats early and late. Hybrid stripers continue to be good on Lake Graham. Possum Kingdom largemouth bass can be caught in numbers on feeding flats near Bee Creek.
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