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Numb Fingers and Big Redfish


Last updated 1/7/2014 at Noon

It was C-O-L-D when twelve year old Jordan Alexander opened his back door even before I could knock at 7.00 in the morning. His Christmas break had raced by all too quickly and we found ourselves with this one opportunity to get in his promised fishing trip. His older brother and cousin opted to simply roll over, pull their covers a little tighter and dream of warmer days.

If walking across the ice crusted lawn at first light was cold, our initial seven mile boat ride would best be described as “frigidly” brutal. It was only after I shut down the big engine in East Pass that we got a deeper appreciation of just how cold it was. All we had to do was look at one another!

Red runny noses and watery eyes were evidence enough, but Jordan’s reluctance to even consider removing his gloved hands from his jacket pockets sealed the deal. After landing a pair of very nice redfish in spite of my numb fingers, I noticed that he was silently suffering from the same malady.

Aside from a brief rush of panic, my initial thought was, “Now, this is my kind of fishing partner….the weather makes him no difference, he doesn’t complain and talks only when spoken to!”

At that point, however, I also recognized that asking him if he was too cold to continue was of no value as far as aborting the trip or sticking it out was concerned. Without asking, we rearranged his multiple lairs of clothing, added my wool cap to the skull cap tucked beneath his jacket hood and finished the entire deal off with my Frogg Togg Toad Skinz jacket.

No…. one size does not fit all with Frogg Toggs, but he filled up the extra space with all of the other clothing and the immediate look on his face was one of relief as the light wind was no longer a chilling factor. The ultimate game changer, however, occurred when he remembered the packaged hand warmers in his snack bag.

Only after offering me one, he tucked one inside each of his gloves and from that point on the redfish population was in serious trouble. I don’t know if the moral to this account is “pick warmer days to fulfill your promises” or “don’t go fishing in cold weather without your Frogg Toggs and hand warmers,” but we caught the heck out of fish and we may well have quit early otherwise.

The use of rain gear as the final layer of cold weather clothing is no revelation. It not only blocks the wind, but seals in the warmth provided by the additional layers of clothing. There is no more versatile or invaluable piece of clothing in my boat or truck than my Toad Skinz jacket and bibs.

While they work, at least temporarily in less demanding conditions, I have worn out dozens of the lighter Classic Frogg Togg suits, but that has not been the case with the Toad Skinz suits. They are a little thicker and far more durable, yet still light enough to wear over shorts on that first chilly boat ride in the spring.

Aside from the waterproof and wind blocking qualities, both the bibs and jacket have multiple dry pockets that I conveniently use for everything from discarded plastic tails to cell phones and gloves. I can see no reason why a fisherman would buy the pants rather than the bibs as I often find myself fishing in just the bibs throughout the warmer portion of the day. They are especially enduring when spray is lapping over the side of the boat!

Thursday night, Jan. 9th , the TPWD will host another public meeting at the Port Arthur library located on Ninth Avenue just off of Hwy. 73 at 6:00 p.m. Once again the discussion will be centered around reducing limits either regionally or possibly statewide. The results of the measures taken thus far concerning both trout and flounder will be available and discussed as well.

My experience with these meetings every few years is that they can be very frustrating for the anglers that take the time to attend, but I know of no other way of effectively voicing your opinion. While none of us know for certain what the long term value of limit reductions may be, I absolutely know that I don’t want them to reduce limits everywhere else but Sabine.

You just think Sabine Lake is getting more pressure each year. What happens when you discover that it has been designated as the only ten fish trout limit bay in the state?


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