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Ice Fishing Equipment - Clothing

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Ice Fishing Basic Clothing Advice with Daryl Bauer

Ice Fishing Creepers with Daryl Bauer

The only equipment about which most anglers agree is clothing and boots, and anyone out on the ice in the wrong attire pays dearly in discomfort or frostbite. Perhaps the single most important item in ice fishing wardrobe is footwear. Poorly shod feet pressed onto the ice will soon chill, and insulated rubber boots, or pac boots with separate, thick felt liners, are the best insurance against cold feet.

Daintiness is not required in good ice-fishing boots, and they should fit loose enough to accommodate extra socks and to allow maximum blood circulation. Most insulated hiking, hunting or work boots will not do the job for most people. Neither will inexpensive nylon or plastic boots lined with synthetic fur. Gimmicks, such as battery-powered electric socks, can be a big disappointment in cold weather.

For most anglers, rubber or rubber and leather boots with heavy felt liners, good quality insulated rubber boots designed for extreme cold or government surplus arctic boots with air chambers for insulation are best. Snowmobile boots with felt liners are often adequate, as are lightweight, inexpensive "moon boots." Above the boots, several layers of comparatively light clothing are warmer than just one or two bulky garments. The layers trap air for maximum warmth and also allow the angler to add or remove layers to match changes in temperature or level of activity.

At moments of heavy exertion-dragging equipment across the ice or auguring holes-an angler can shed some clothing and avoid breaking into a sweat. Perspiring should be avoided since the body will later use considerable heat to dry out damp inner clothing. Good headgear is particularly important. Up to 75 percent of the heat lost on a cold day leaves the body from the head and neck. A wool cap or parka hood can provide comfort when you feel a chill, and if you are on the verge of breaking into a sweat you can cool off merely by exposing your head. Comfortable long underwear worn next to the skin topped by insulated coveralls or a wool, down or fiberfill insulated snowmobile suit for a middle layer and a windproof, moisture repellent outer layer make a good combination.

Many anglers also wear a heavy parka for added warmth and as a barrier against the wind. Gloves are also needed, although the importance placed on them varies among anglers. Some wear light gloves inside mittens and do all but the most delicate knot tying and hook baiting with the gloves on. Others wear bulky, loose-fitting mittens and put them aside to do most tasks. Some anglers use gloves only when lugging gear long distances, keeping their hands stuffed deep inside warm pockets the rest of the time. If you need gloves on the ice, take two pairs in case the first pair gets lost or wet.


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