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PostPosted: Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:45 pm 
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I just put my PA away for the winter and am already looking forward to spring fishing when the ice breaks up on Lake Michigan. I finished this season with the water temp still in the upper 40's wearing multiple layers of fleece beneath safety-belted fishing waders and waterproof storm jacket and found that only marginally better than a bib-style wetsuit. I know that I don't have the right gear for staying warm and dry in the near-freezing waters of spring. I am considering the Immersion Research Fishing Pants (see http://www.immersionresearch.com/produc ... dry-pants/) but $250-yipes! I know that I should probably breakdown and get a full drysuit with relief zipper, but that costs about 3x more. How do you all deal with beach launching in very cold surf and staying warm & safe while maintaining sufficient flexibility to fish and occasionally relieve yourself out at sea?


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:35 pm 
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Location: West Columbia, SC
Jim

I can't help you much with the gear you are asking about but I can tell you what I wear that works for me when the temps are in the High 30's. I wear several layers on the upper body topped with a lightweight waterproof jacket primarily to cut wind. A ski/toboggan hat works up top. For the lower body I have a fleece lined pair of jogging suit pants that are also water resistant. This lets me wade in the cold water briefly without absorbing the water. Once in the kayak, I change out my water shoes for a pair of socks and tennis shoes.

Fortunately I don't have to endure that often here in South Carolina.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 3:41 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jul 19, 2005 6:29 pm
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Location: High Point, NC
Hobie offers cold/wet weather gear. Their waterproof spray top is a really good value for $100. The main thing is to keep yourself dry. Being cold is one thing, being cold and wet is entirely another.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 5:51 pm 
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Joined: Sun Mar 16, 2008 3:51 am
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Location: Grantham, NH
I'm from New Hampshire and try to fish right up until ice-in (that is happening right now. Fishing this coming weekend might be out) and back at it at ice-out (usually about the 3rd week of April).

This question is asked often at NEKF forums here in New England by people new to the sport. A pretty standard response and advice I live by is to dress for immersion. When the water is below 50 degrees, I am in dry gear. When the weather is colder, I add layers, the same as you might when backpacking, under my dry gear. It does not take long in 50 degree or below water for the body to start shutting down, thinking and movement impaired. Fishing can be good in cold weather but it is a bummer when the rod's eyelets keep freezing shut on the line.

I wear Gul dry pants and dry top. Kokotat also has a nice selection of tops and pants. Hobie has some nice dry gear also. Check out some of the available options. I know many people who wear waders with layers under them and topped off with a wading belt. A dry top can then be worn over those and are a safe combination. One other option is a full dry suit available from a few companies.

One word of advice ..... each spring I like to dress in all the gear and do a couple of self recovery back onto the kayak. It is a whole different game dressed like that and with a PFD on than it is horsing around in the summer with trunks on.

Hope this helps some.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:47 pm 
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Good practical advice from all - Thanks! From some other forums I got the impression that if you are considering cold weather fishing, you should just break down and get a complete one-piece drysuit, with the expectation that it will pay for itself over many years of use. Seems like on this forum, the more common approach is 2-piece setups (dry pants and dry tops). That sounds more versatile, but how "immersion proof" is this? How do the pants and tops join together for a dry seal at the waistline? Also, I usually wear my flyfishing river boots over the neoprene socks that are built-in to my waders. Is it normal to wear boots or water shoes over the neoprene feet in drysuits or drypants as well, or can you just pedal away without additional footgear?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 1:16 am 
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Location: Victoria, Australia
We don't get it as cold as you guys but in my opinion, you should dress for immersion not for comfort sitting on top of the kayak. Both cold shock and hypothermia are killers and you need to protect yourself as much as possible.

If you are getting cold sitting on the kayak, your skin surface is already shutting down, if you fall in, specially if we are talking ice cold water, you will have less than a minute before your muscles start to stop working, and even if you do get back on the kayak, you still have to make it to shore and help. With legs and arms in a state of cramp, that won't be an easy task.

Here in Australia only a few weeks ago, a kayaker fell in and was washed from his kayak, I am not sure just how long he was in the water 10 - 15 minute's maybe, and when he was pulled from the water he was already in a state of hypothermia. We are talking 11 degrees Celsius not zero or minus.

I have not tried two piece dry-suits but can vouch for a 1 piece, best bit of kit I ever purchased, yes expensive but what price do you put on comfort and your life. Very important to get the relief zipper and I recommend a front entry over a rear entry suit. Latex seals are susceptible to UV light so either make sure the suit has cuffs on the arms to cover the seals or they are neoprene, same for the neck. Best zips are the YKK dry zips instead of the plastic ziplock style that you find on plastic bags.

It might take a little to get used to layering under the suit but once you do you will wonder why it took so long to get one.

Couple of other topics about dry-suits on here;
http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=13&t=32545&p=129389&hilit=drysuit#p129389

http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=32514&p=128416&hilit=drysuit#p128416

http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=70&t=26642&p=110671&hilit=drysuit#p110671

http://www.hobiecat.com/forums/viewtopic.php?f=71&t=23445&p=102090&hilit=drysuit#p102090


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:56 am 
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all great advice above. Dress to swim even though probably less chance of that in the PA. Watch the sales on REI and Sierratradingpost during the winter many times you can get a palm drysuit for under 250, many wear waders and a good drytop, I have had a bad personal experience with that. With the money you have spent on kayak and gear, it is worth it for the drygear that may save you life!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 4:14 pm 
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Location: Michigan
I so agree with your earlier comment, Jim!

Jim_MI wrote:
if you are considering cold weather fishing, you should just break down and get a complete one-piece drysuit, with the expectation that it will pay for itself over many years of use.


I came to the same conclusion and went with a Kokatat GFER with relief zipper. I kept an eye out for the REI 20% off any full price item and pounced. That one purchase gave me the greatest peace of mind during my solo trip along the north shore of Lake Superior (even though the water temperatures were nearing historical highs). I plan on making this trip an annual event for many years to come and the investment is well worth it just knowing it may keep me amongst the living. It's a tough blow to the tip of the chin ($$$$) but once you get back on your feet, there will be no regrets! As Remy mentioned, there are a number of deals out there to be had on dry suits, especially during the off season.
Good luck in your search and let us know what you end up with!

GR8 Laker


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 01, 2010 7:56 pm 
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Joined: Sat Nov 03, 2007 8:55 pm
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Location: Pace, Florida
If I lived near Lake Michigan, I would be wearing a dry suit and the only question would be what layers to wear underneath. Here in NW Florida (BTW, it does get cold here - well, kinda) I wear Black Rock dry pants and a Powerhouse splash top from NRS. Underneath, fleece (Mysterioso brand) tops and bottoms. Mysterioso is the best piece of gear I own. Warm, form fitting and insulates wet or dry. Beauty. NRS makes stuff like it. Mysterioso socks, Waterproof socks (Aqua Seal) and dive booties and a bright orange ski hat - it is hunting season after all... Add a few hunter's hand warmer packs and you are good to go...

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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 5:05 pm 
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Location: Victoria, Australia
FLS wrote:
Underneath, fleece (Mysterioso brand) tops and bottoms. Mysterioso is the best piece of gear I own. Warm, form fitting and insulates wet or dry. Beauty.

Never heard of it, going on a Google Hunt, well it is hunting season after all :lol:


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 02, 2010 7:26 pm 
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ELM wrote:
FLS wrote:
Underneath, fleece (Mysterioso brand) tops and bottoms. Mysterioso is the best piece of gear I own. Warm, form fitting and insulates wet or dry. Beauty.

Never heard of it, going on a Google Hunt, well it is hunting season after all :lol:

yes very good stuff


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:06 pm 
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OK, sounds like a plan - I will keep an eye out for deals on the Kokatat full dry suit and Mysterioso underlayer stuff. Looks like Kokatat now has a model for anglers, with reinforcement in places a wayward hook may cause damage. What about footwear? I need to launch in a rocky place which usually has 1-2 ft breaking surf. I used to wear river wading boots over my waders, which works great for the rocks, but the boots are too wide to fit through the straps on the PA pedals, so I have had to remove the straps. Do you all wear neoprene boots over the drysuit feet, water shoes, or something else.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 04, 2010 8:20 pm 
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Location: Victoria, Australia
Yes I always wear neoprene dive boots, while the ones I am using now have zips up the side, I prefer non zip style pull on boots.
IMHO the pull on hold less water and have a tighter fit, with zips there is a very slim chance of damage to the latex seal + the zips them selves are prone to break before you wear the boots out (just like the one's I have now).


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 2:38 pm 
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Location: Michigan
JimMi,
If you're looking for something with a durable sole, have a look at the Stohlquist Caveman boot. I chose them so I could save weight by not having to pack hiking boots. They also accommodate a wider foot yet not too big for the Mirage drive Pedals. As I recall, they run around $80.00. Give them a look and maybe try on a pair before purchasing to see if they might work out.
Just another option!

Stay warm up there,
GR8 Laker


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 05, 2010 6:26 pm 
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Location: Victoria, Australia
Struth GR8 Laker they are a serious looking boot, and look really comfy. Love the straps for extra support with no zips. Just one question;
How is the velcro on the strap holding up ? I tend to find the velcro when so closely exposed to sand etc, tends to let go and not last as long as I would like.


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