Inshore insights: Keep a stocked dry bag onboard this winter

Be prepared in case you or someone else goes overboard

I was on the water one time during an 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.

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