Duckett Perspective – The Polar Vortex

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DuckettBlogThe polar vortex, that crazy cold air that keeps sweeping down into our lives from the North Pole, killed my January.

Cold weather – let me say, specifically, weather below freezing – is not good for the sport of fishing. And we’ve had a load of cold weather in Guntersville, Alabama.

I was thinking the other day about writing this column. I had a couple of subjects in mind, but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the thing that’s affected fishing and planning more than anything is this dad-gummed cold, cold weather.

The South this year has been the North. The North has been worse than usual.

Let me tell you how cold it was recently in Guntersville.

At Duckett Fishing, we hosted our third Rat-L-Trap tournament. On Saturday morning at the ramp, it was 12 degrees. That’s colder than it was last year at the launch of the Bassmaster Classic, which was near Tulsa. First day at the Classic it was 16 degrees, and I don’t recall many times that I’ve been that cold on a launch morning.

Anyway, at our Rat-L-Trap tournament, one guy loaded his boat after the trailer bunks had frozen underneath his boat. When he started down the ramp to back his boat into the water, the boat slid off the bunk, hit the ground and kept going.

We had several other boats where the boat bottoms had frozen onto the bunks. It was like the boat and the trailer were welded together. When they backed their boats into the water, both the boat and the trailer floated. That happened five or six times.

I will tell you that we ended up having a great tournament, but I can’t help but think it would have been even better if it had been a little warmer. Here’s what happens when you go fishing and the temperature is below freezing:

  • Your windshield gets icy
  • You pull in a fish and it sprays water across your depth finder and graph screen – and the water freezes
  • Water sprays over the side of the boat, and your jackets and pants legs freeze
  • The bottom of the boat gets icy. That’s about three kinds of dangerous
  • Your reels freeze up
  • The list goes on

In my opinion, when the temperature goes below freezing and looks like it’s going to stay that way for awhile, you’re better off keeping your yourself, your boat and the delicate equipment that goes with of the water.

So if I’m not competing, I try to stay off the water until the weather gets above freezing.

Sometimes I can’t stand it and go anyway, I’m just saying that it’s safer not to.

I understand that part of this is regional. Winter in the Deep South is not usually as harsh as winter in the North – or the Midwest. But, aside from Florida, we all have our cold days.

I can’t shy away from an obvious fact, which is that the best angler in our business is from Kalamazoo, Michigan. But let me tell you what Kevin does in the cold. He works in his heated garage. And a lot of the time he goes somewhere warmer to fish.