I was on the water during last week’s Arctic outbreak and saw something I don't think I've ever seen before: Ice on the shoreline.
Parts of the marsh were completely frozen over, and the deeper sections not frozen still had huge chunks of ice.
A definite risk
It was then I realized the odds of an angler experiencing hypothermia are pretty darned good during a freezing winter like this one.
All it takes is one slip on a slimy deck — and you're getting wet.
And think about it: What is surrounding your boat in the marsh?
A whole lotta water.
Now, consider what's between you and the nearest shelter.
Yep, even more water.
Stump Lagoon, a popular Hopedale trout spot in the winter, is a 12-mile run to the nearest marina.
Imagine being soaking wet, running 35 mph through near-freezing temperatures.
Could you endure that trip? Not without being miserable, or worse.
I'm pretty sure you've got the picture and, now that you do, let me show you what I keep in my boat to be prepared for such an event.
Dry bag contents
I always keep these items on-hand in a dry-bag so that I can get warm: A big comfy towel, spare clothes, thick wool socks, thermal underwear and a flight suit.
The flight suit is kind of an odd selection, but it'll fit others in case I don't need it.
As for shoes or boots, I don't keep a spare pair, but maybe I should.
Either way, it's important you put these things inside a dry bag.
Remember, even "dry" boat storage can still get wet — and the only thing I want to put on when I am freezing wet is dry, comfy clothes.
I use a dry bag that folds to seal and is no smaller than 20 liters, so there is plenty of room to pack a towel and clothes.
Look, we all love inshore fishing but — like anything — it has its dangers.
Wise anglers recognize these possibilities by preparing for them. One way to do that is by keeping a dry bag and spare clothes on standby. That way you can fish with peace of mind — and focus on having fun.
Tight lines, y'all.
Editor’s Note: Devin Denman is an avid inshore fisherman who writes the Louisiana Fishing Blog. To read more of his articles, visit lafishblog.com.