View Full Version : What to wear for cool weather kayak fishing?

Stana Claus
01-28-2019, 12:27 PM
My girlfriend's son is getting married in mid-October this year up in Connecticut. In an effort to scratch Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts off of my bucket list of catching a fish on the fly in all 50 states, I plan on making this a two-week trip and doing as much fishing as possible while we're up in that area. I'll probably target the Housatonic and/or Farmington Rivers in CT, but RI and MA (probably the Cape Cod area) will most likely be saltwater ponds and/or estuary fishing so I plan on bringing my SOT kayak for that purpose. Given that the weather is likely to be fairly cool that time of year I'm trying to figure out the best way to dress for the occasion.

I could wear my regular waders, but they're kind of baggy, not terribly flexible, and I think they would be rather uncomfortable to fish in from the kayak. Plus I think they would get real dangerous really quickly in the case of a capsize event. But I don't necessarily want to go full dry-suit because of the expense and probable limited use. So I'm thinking about getting a pair of mid-weight neoprene waders to wear along with my fishing jacket and PFD.

Anybody here ever do this sort of thing or have any recommendations on what works? Are neoprene waders any easier to move around in than your typical breathables? Any and all comments, ideas, or suggestions are greatly appreciated.

01-30-2019, 10:58 AM
I fished from my kayak over the years in cool and cold weather. Last year I was out in January a couple of times. I usually wear performance type long underwear, the kind that wicks away moisture from the skin. a pair of fleece over pants and my chest waders. wool socks. Shirts should be wicking also, don't wear cotton if possible. I layer and wear a waterproof jacket, fleece watch cap for the head and ears. You just don't want to bundle so tightly that you can't move easily with your PFD on. I would not recommend neoprene waders although I wore them for years back in the 90s, they seem to always make me sweat and get more leaks easier. make sure you have a good wading belt snugged tightly in case you do capsize. The cold water going in over your chest waders will be lessened. carry a set of clothes in the vehicle and maybe a dry fleece shirt in a drybag on the kayak. I have had to basically strip down from the waist up before when I was windblown over two years ago on the french broad in early march. My shirt was soaked but I had a backup fleece shirt in a drybag.
It's a good idea to practice capsizing in your kayak during the summer months, so you will know what to do and how to reenter the boat from deep water, in case it happens during cold times. you learn how to pack your gear to prevent loss also.

Stana Claus
01-30-2019, 12:30 PM
Thanks for the input, Gary. Yes, I am a firm believer in wearing moisture wicking synthetic fiber underwear anytime I'm around water in cold weather. Cotton kills! I also keep a change of dry clothes in the truck along with towels, etc. But I like the idea of a dry shirt in a dry bag in the boat. I also like the suggestion of practicing re-entering the kayak from deep water while it's still warm. I think I'll likewise make a test run with my regular waders on to see how awkward it will be to paddle while wearing them. Maybe it won't be as bad as I'm imagining it to be.