Today: Tuesday 17 July 2018
  • Ranger Alluminum
    Crappie Kingdom 09 Jan 2018

    Crappie Kingdom

     

    OLE MAN WINTER

     

    Wow! The New Year came in with a blast of artic air that recorded the third coldest day in history for the local Ozarks.  These conditions have a way of putting the damper on Lake activities.  I for one was not brave enough to venture out on those sub-freezing conditions.  There comes a time when a person has to weigh the measure between common sense and negligence.  I do not feel it is fair to endanger my health and worry my family by being on the water in harsh conditions.  In addition, the older I get, the harder it is to keep extremities warm.  The weather will moderate and I’ll have a chance to go then. Could I possibly be called a “fair weather” fisherman.  Maybe so but I am alive to tell it.  Extra precautions need to be taken if you venture out on the water.

    Hypothermia is probably the most dangerous condition when the weather turns into the conditions we’ve had during the first part of this new year.  When the temperature drops below 50 degrees and a stout wind is blowing, hypothermia is a reality. If the temperature is lower, the increased probability of hypothermia is even greater.  If you add wet conditions, chances of being overcome by hypothermia increases even more.  Hypothermia is a lowering of the body core temperatures which can result in complete loss of normal body movements and control. If you are overcome by this condition and you are by yourself, the chances of surviving becomes almost impossible.  If by chance you fall overboard into cold water, the chances of you swimming any distance is slim and none.  If you have never been in cold water, it is difficult to realize its effect on the body.  I have been there and can tell you the sudden shock is overwhelming.  The first thing you do is start gasping for air.  This results in sucking in water that worsens the condition.  Drowning is a great possibility unless you can get out of the water quickly.  The muscles of the body shut down and all strength is lost if you remain in the water too long.  Thus, you cannot pull yourself back in your boat without assistance. 

    If you are compelled to venture out when conditions are dangerous, try to find some other crazed person to go with you.  The importance of life preservers is a given.  A full float suit is even better.  These suits have been tested to keep people alive in cold water for longer periods of time.  Be mindful of the wind conditions.  If strong winds are blowing, boat handling and movement in the boat becomes more risky particularly with heavy clothing being worn.   One of the best pieces of advice I can give is that you don’t have to prove how tough or crazy you are to friends.  Some folks have this ego thing that sets them apart from others or they think so.  Pick lake spots that will shelter you from windy conditions and limit your time on the water.  The colder you get, the less agile you become and the chances of making mistakes increase.  Check boat ramps for ice and snow cover.  Four wheel drive vehicles on ice are no more mobile than two wheel drives.  When extremely cold conditions exist, pulling the boat out after launch leaves water on the ramp that freezes quickly.  You might be able to get the boat in but not be able to get it out without great difficulty.  By all means advise someone as to where you are going and an estimated time you plan to return.  Make sure your cell phone is fully charge in case you develop trouble on the lake.  As long as it doesn’t get wet or is covered with a waterproof case, most lake positions have cell service where phone or text messages can be sent and received.  Hand and feet warmers as well as heaters that are safe to use in boats can be helpful items as well.

    If your urge to tackle the lake in harsh conditions overpowers common sense, hopefully these few suggestions can be remembered if you should happen to run into problems.  My intent is to keep you safe and keep you on the water.  Good luck and good fishing.

    Read more

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