For many anglers, the worst part about winter fishing is the packing up. It’s no wonder though; breaking down cold wet bivvies, stainless steel and all those small accessories... a few minutes in and your hands are often completely numb – especially if you’re doing it first thing in the morning with a frost on the ground… ouch!
It’s often the same during the session; baiting up with cold bait, casting with cold rods, or whatever else you might be doing. Even when in the bivvy your hands can be one of the first areas to feel the cold, and once cold it can be difficult to get them fully warm again.
Help is at hand though, if you’ll excuse the pun. A handy tip to keep your mitts warm and cosy is to grab yourself some hand warmers. There are loads of different types to choose from, so in this little piece we’ll run through the options.
The first type to look at are the disposable hand warmers. Essentially, what we’re looking at here is single use wipe-type warmer which when activated, will warm up over the course of about twenty minutes to around 57°C. To activate the warmers you simply remove them from the pouch, shake them to mix and activate the contents, and then tuck them into your gloves to start generating heat. There are various types to look at with some lasting for an hour or so and some which can last up to 8hrs!
The disposable warmers usually come in packs of two, and to be honest, for how handy they are, are very reasonable to buy. They sell them in most sports shops but to be honest we’d give those a wide berth as they can be quite expensive over the counter. Your best bet is eBay, where you’ll find them starting at around 99p per pack, which when you consider how handy they are, is peanuts. In addition, there are loads of multi-buy deals from various sellers on eBay, so if you buy ten or twenty packs at a time, you pay even less and you’ll always have some spare in your tackle bag whenever you might need them.
The only thing you need to keep an eye on is sell by dates, as those well over won’t kick in as quickly or last as long. Again, check the eBay listings and find ones like which tell you what the use by dates are – and don’t be afraid to ask! A lot of golfers use the disposable ones during the colder months by tucking them into their gloves, and it’s always a surprise that more anglers aren’t aware of their existence.
The second type are the reusable ones. Most often these are a little bit bigger, and are filled with a reactive gel. To activate the warmer, you just flex the metal disc inside and the pack will start to heat up. The gel will then will crystalize and once its heat has been used, you simply drop it into boiling water for five to ten minutes and as soon as it’s turned back to liquid its ready to use again.
There are various types to choose from which will kick out heat for varying amounts of time. The advantage with the gel warmers is that you can use them time and time again, though obviously it’s not a job you’d want to keep repeating on the bank. In addition you would not be able to slip them into your gloves as effectively as the disposable ones should you need to carry out a few tasks. That said, if you just have them in your pockets and kept your hands in your pockets, they will work just as effectively.
And, finally, there are the 'petrol' handwarmers that are the favourite choice of Anglers' Net Editor, Elton Murphy. In fact, you can read a review of his favourite Peacock Handwarmers by CLICKING HERE.
These types of hand warmers are too big for glove use, to be honest, but fit into your pocket. They run off lighter fluid (although some manufacturers try to sell you their more expensive, and often hard to get hold of, fluid!) and are incredibly efficient. If you give them a good fill, which isn't actually a lot of fluid, they can burn for 24-hours or more!
The only thing is that the wicks do deteriorate over time, so you may need to replace them. That said, we are talking about once every two years here! All in all, they offer exceptional value. The initial layout is more, but the running costs and convenience more than make up for that.
So, there you have it. Three ways of helping you beat the cold. Let's face it, fishing is no fun when you can't use your fingers through cold, but look after your hands and you can happily catch fish in the worst of weather.
To get a good idea of what's available and at what price, CLICK HERE to see a selection of hand warmers on eBay UK.