-- Last Updated: Feb-11-12 7:33 PM EST --
...... the nephew and I are main stay fishing partners . Only other I fish with anymore is my sweetheart .
With her it will either be a few great shore spots , or some river wading , or we are out in the canoe . Shore 10% , canoe 90% . On rare occassion she will join nephew and I in either the Jon boat/jet or the 21' bay boat . She loves to go fishing and is quite accomplished at it now .
The nephew and I are in the Jon or the bay boat 100% of the time when fishing (though we used to take multi-day canoe trips together) . We wear regular clothing , but of course more of it in the cold weather , cause 27F. at 5am. , add a bit of NW wind plus the moving boat make for some darn cold wind chills ... but it warms up enough with the sun rise . It's for certain we have endured low teen temps. for several hours before .
Other than regular cloths , we all have top notch rain gear always at the ready when out on the water ... it goes everytime , all seasons , regardless if it will be needed or not .
The water temps. during winter avg. about 40F. , sometimes lower , sometimes a little higher . At 49F. water temps. we are beginning to concentrate on Smallmouth , hitting it more often and anxiously awating 53F.-55F. when they litterally turn on .
My point here is it's friggin cold air and deadly water temps. but we plan on "never" exiting the boat and swimming .
But with the canoe and my sweetheart it's a totally different situation . The water must be warm enough , 60F. I consider safe but use more caution as to were we'd be paddling . The warmer it gets , the more paddling place freedom is open to us .
So in effect I have given you how we do it ... and never once have we worn special submersion clothings , and we haven't and aren't going to fall into the water , we stay dry even in pouring rains at 40F./40F. .
There is absolutely no reason in the world for you end up swimming unless you allow it to happen . If you have enough water common sense to be careful , and even more careful in the cold waters , then you ain't going to take a swim . If that means stay off certain waters today , then stay off those waters and chose calmer waters .
Like I said about your inflatable , if you think it safe and you're 99% certain you aren't going to go capsize or fall out of it , then go fishing . If you think of it as I do with the canoe , then stay out of cold water . Drysuit , Wetsuit , chest waders , whatever ... I won't take a canoe out in cold waters .
A difference between you and I is that I "always" assume I will not end up in the water ... only thing that could put me there is my own stupidity , recklessness or the good Lord has willed it .
Staying "in" the boat , any boat , any waters , any season , is the 1st priority ... all else is a judgement call , decision making to achieve the 1st priority .