For me, effective and successful specimen angling is all about the planning. I do my best to plan for every eventuality, so that when I am out on the bank and the unexpected happens, I’m able to take it in my stride and carry on regardless.
Throughout the year, but in winter especially, one thing that could well save your session is a spare set of clothing, either left in your car or stored in your carryall. Numerous experiences in my formative angling years taught me that you can’t always plan for what Mother Nature might throw at you, and no matter how hard I tried, she always seemed to have new and ever more inventive ways to catch me out and get me wet, and as such, whenever I go out fishing nowadays, be it for a few hours stalking or an overnight session, there’s always a spare set of cloths in the car – ready and waiting should the unexpected happen and you find yourself wet and bedraggled!
As a youngster you tend to manage a level of being wet without even noticing it. I remember playing out with mates for hours on end as a kid in rain snow and whatever else, when I got home I was totally wet through, and was often ordered to remove all ‘dripping’ garments at the back door before proceeding any further into the house, but as you get older, you can only really manage so much before the wet becomes a real problem – especially in cold conditions.
I remember twenty-odd years ago driving over to Wrexham to fish a social overnighter with some friends. I’d not been there an hour when a schoolboy error whilst throwing baits out left me with a wet leg up to my thigh. I had no spare clothing and no spare footwear. It was the middle of December and set to go to around zero overnight. A bivvy-to-bivvy plea for spares turned up nothing, so I was left with a stark choice; a three hour return journey home to get replacements, or to suffer a cold and indignant session ahead. Against my better judgement I chose that latter, and suffered no small amount as a result!
Ever since that session I’ve carried a spare set of clothing in my car, and for one reason or another have used items within on dozens of occasions over the years, which time and time again has allowed me to carry on fishing in total comfort, rather than having to endure a wet and soggy session or worse still – cut a session short!
What’s more, I can’t believe how many times my spares have come to the rescue of my friends. Either when they’ve had an unexpected soaking, or when they’ve simply forgotten to pack a fleece or jacket and are too far away from home to return.
Therefore, I’d always recommend you have a spare set of clothing. I always prefer to leave mine in the car, where you can be guaranteed it will be kept dry, and this way it also allows you to have a bit more than you need to cover all eventualities. My stash will be matched to the season and at this time of year I’ll usually have spare socks, boxers, cargo pants, and thermals, hoody and soft shell jacket. This way I know that no matter what should happen on the bank – even if I should fall in completely – I’ll be able to carry on fishing.
Oh, and it doesn't harm to keep a towel in there, too. No good putting dry clothes on a wet body!
To be honest, I leave them in the car most of the time, as there’s been numerous occasions when I’m out doing different bits and pieces that a jacket at hand or a pair of boots has come in really handy!
It will only take you two minutes and could make all the difference…
Keep it toasty..!