Pro Angler Cody Kelley | Winter Safety Tips

For a lot of people, this is the time of year when they begin to slow down on their hunting efforts. The boat and tackle that have been left in the garage for several months are starting to beg for a little bit of attention. Weekly airings of FLW events on NBC Sports does nothing but increase the urge to get back on the water. As many people already know, winter months can yield some of the year’s best chances at a true trophy sized bass. However, I want to talk about something a little different than how to fool lethargic winter time bass.

Winter bass fishing can be very enjoyable for many people simply because of the lack of fishing pressure. No jet skis, party barges, or yachts to dodge. Just you, the lake, and the fish (hopefully). However, with that solitude comes increased danger. Obviously it isn’t the thing that most people want to talk about, but it’s something that everyone should really take serious. Cold weather fishing finds us wearing heavier clothing that offers a limited range of motion. You can quickly find yourself in the water due to a misstep on the deck of a frosty bass boat. Here is a quick list of a few things I like to do to ensure a safe and fun winter bass trip.

  1. ALWAYS carry a change of clothes. In the case that you do go in, you are going to want to get out of your wet clothes quickly. I don’t go crazy with this. Just a pair of thick insulated underwear, wool socks, and extra hat/head covering of some sort. After drying off and putting the insulated underwear on, your rain gear can easily be put on to help cut the wind and keep you warm while you make your way back to the ramp.
  2. A towel…. I guess you could roll around on the boat carpet to dry yourself off, but I prefer this method!
  3. A 1 gallon Ziploc bag with the following—waterproof matches, gloves, small piece of a fire starter log, and a space blanket.
  4. Let someone know where you will be.
  5. Salt (this isn’t a safety item, but is really nice to have when the ramp is trying to ice up on you)

I know these sound just a bit extreme for a day on the lake. However, if you are on a body of water that isn’t surrounded with boat docks, but rather forest (like Lake Ouachita), it could really come in handy. There are places on many lakes that don’t have cellular service, so a quick phone call to help may not be an option. It only takes a few minutes to pack this stuff up and takes up almost no room in the boat. I know that safety isn’t the sexiest subject in the world, but this is the time of year that it can be very important. Until next time I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and catches the big ones they’re after!

FLW Tour Angler Cody Kelley


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