Clothing for Winter Carping: What You Need
To some, winter can seem like a rough time to be out on the bank, I’ve had countless people (usually not anglers) express confusion on my love of being out by the water in the cold. Preparation is the key to good angling and this is even truer in the winter months. Through careful selection of your winter clothing, it really is possible to have very comfortable winter sessions.
When you are out fishing, you want to be relaxed and calm. In the colder months being warm and dry is a major part of that, not only will you enjoy your fishing more, but you will be able to stay at the top of your game looking for the vital signs of fish to put you on the right track. It may seem basic, but having multiple layers of clothing is the best way to get warm and dry and stay warm and dry.
I’ll be splitting my winter gear up into five sections:
It is a common misconception that throwing on your biggest coat will keep you warm through the winter, but this really isn’t the case. Building up layers of clothing will act to trap warmth in and keep that cold air out. Many well-known fishing brands now sell base layers dedicated for fishing and being on the bank throughout the winter.
These items possess thermal properties that help your body regulate temperature and keep it at comfortable levels. Such clothing generally come in a top and bottoms and in my opinion are absolutely necessary for the winter months. Most models are breathable, which is great if you’re sweating after actively walking around and searching for the fish. Nevertheless, they’re equally as effective at retaining the warmth as the temperature outside drops as well as your body temperature.
Picture this, you’ve been active during your session and have yourself set up in a swim on fish and are now relatively immobile. The sweat that resulted from being active will create a cold, wet barrier on your skin and your first layer of clothing, without a proper base layer you’ll be freezing in no time.
Getting your base layer right is crucial
My favourite base layer is the Fortis Elements top and bottom set. This set is a perfect example of what I described earlier in terms of breathable cotton that doesn’t cause you to sweat buckets when you’re out searching for carp but holds in heat and keeps you warm and comfortable when you need it to.
Next has to be a good old pair of socks! There is nothing worse than not being able to feel your toes. Again, you want to look for a pair with thermal properties to ensure that your feet stay warm, but you’re also looking for a pair that are waterproof too.
There are plenty of waterproof socks on the market and I can personally testify to their effectiveness, having warn them throughout previous winters and escaping the pain of cold feet for the entire season.
The socks I’m referring to are made up of three layers of insulated cotton which partly explains why they’re so effective. The feature I think that really prevents having to experience any cold feet is the fact they’re waterproof. This stops your feet from ever getting damp or wet, even when you’re removing a fish from the water or if you make the mistake of stepping in a puddle.
With your prize on the mat, at the time you don’t care, but once you have returned the fish that wet foot could make for a long and uncomfortable session. By having socks that have the waterproof qualities, you don’t need to worry and can keep enjoying your fishing.
Totally waterproof and in action!
The Korda waterproof camouflage socks really do what they’re supposed to. I’ve had the same pair now for a couple of seasons and they’ve held up perfectly, doing just what they’re designed to do – prevent cold feet.
When it comes to mid-layer clothing and the top half of your body, personally I prefer something like a fleece or fleece lined jacket for the additional warmth and comfort it provides. Whatever you decide to go for, I still maintain that it needs to have good thermal properties. Personally, I avoid wearing big and bulking clothing as it makes staying mobile easier and I stops me from feeling weighed down. It does all come down to personal preference however leading on you may see why this is my preferred choice.
Regarding trousers at your mid layer, preference again may take over here. Personally, I prefer something lightweight trousers like joggers as they provide warmth but they are also extremely comfortable. Combats are a common choice amongst anglers, during winter this usually means thermal combats. These do provide fantastic warmth if you prefer a combat style trouser. With that said, depending on the quality of your top layer and the conditions, you may be fine going with just your base layer and your top layer trousers or salopettes, and cutting out the mid layer all together.
A fleece top really does make staying active feel much easier
The core joggers from Navitas Apparel work great for me. Designed for carp fishing these guys know what you need as a winter angler – comfort and warmth in one. Highly recommended.
Getting your top layer right is crucial, after all this is going to be asked to withstand the brunt of the weather whilst you are on the bank. Whether that be rain, wind or snow, a waterproof and wind resistant top layer is an absolute must.
I would definitely recommend either a bib & brace or salopettes on your bottom half with a winter jacket on the top half. This in effect creates a winter suit, which are actually available as sets from most recognisable brands within the industry.
The benefit to having a bib & brace or salopette set up is that on those days where the sun does poke its head out, you can remove the winter jacket and still have that extra protection around your body and back. This helps to retain the extra heat and help keep the wind and cold air out, unlike a standard pair of trousers. Again, it is all down to comfort in this department and for me this set up is an absolute winner and has been for many winters in the bank.
That outer layer is key to staying warm
Hats & Gloves
On very cold days it’s possible to lose up to 10 percent of your body heat through your head, so wearing a hat is essential here if you don’t want to freeze. Wearing any winter hat will no doubt help your stay warmer and in doing so, make you more comfortable for your time on the bank. Personally, I like to wear a fleece-lined hat as I find they are not only much warmer but also much more comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
There are conflicting opinions when it comes to gloves in the carp fishing world, but there is definitely a time and a place for them during the winter months. Some anglers view them as more hassle than they’re worth, as they can be a hindrance when setting up, tying knots and rigs.
Conversely, keeping your hands warm makes doing all that fiddly work far easier, so either way you can’t win. With that said, during the winter months the fishing is generally slower (but no less rewarding!) which means you don’t have to spend as much time tying up.
When you are fishing during the winter, enjoying your time on the bank is the aim just as it is through all the others seasons. Make sure you layer up to give yourself the best chance of being warm and dry and in turn, you will have a much more comfortable stay. It will also let your be at your best and give you a much higher chance of getting on the fish and catching them, which at the end of the day, is what it’s all about!