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Into the Outdoors: Hot Weather

This week, let’s take a little look at hot weather. Maybe it’s just me, but I think that it has been hot lately. Don’t get me wrong. I am not complaining. I would rather be hot than cold. I hate cold.

Although I’ve often heard that you can’t catch fish during a hot spell, my experience over the course of many years is that the aforementioned supposition is incorrect. You can still catch fish, in fact, a lot of them, but it’s only going to happen in the early morning or at night. If you’re on the water just at daylight, you can have some great action until the sun gets bright and things start to heat up. For whatever reason, evening fishing has never been all that good to me in the heat, but things turn back on at night. About the only real possibility in the heat of the day is to fish the deepest areas to which you have access. Even there, the action is often on the slow side. The big exception is panfish. They seem to hit anytime.

Personally, I always take along a cooler chest with ice in it when fishing in the heat. Fish on a stringer near the surface will go bad very quickly. Icing them down is really the only way to go. Also, when you get them home, clean them right away and get them under refrigeration.

Oh, here’s another thing. If you are fishing with worms, the cooler is a pretty good place to keep them as well. It’s incredible how fast worms can die when the heat is on, and the first thing you know, you have no bait. To top it off, that smell is one that you can certainly do without. Further, don’t forget and leave them in the vehicle when you get home.

If you somehow wind up out in the heat of the day, you must take a few steps to protect yourself. Priority number one is sunscreen. Unless you want to fry, and risk serious complications besides, apply sunscreen to all exposed skin. This is especially urgent for “gingers” like me, and others with light skin. I lost a red-haired cousin to melanoma. I doubt if she was aware she had it until it was too late. Yearly skin checks by a dermatologist are a very good idea. Be sure to clean the sunscreen off your hands before handling lures and baits, as there is the possibility that the smell could spook the fish. A good hat, with a wide brim, is yet another essential. Some time ago, my late wife bought me a Sun Tamer. It is made of a plastic-like material and has a wide brim. I don’t know if they are still made, but it is a great hat.

Any time you’re out in intense heat, whether you are fishing, hiking, golfing or whatever, drinking sufficient liquids is an absolute must. Drinks containing alcohol or caffeine should be avoided. Mineral enhanced drinks, such as Gatorade, are good, but, for my money, it’s hard to beat plain old water. Dehydration is a very real danger. In fact, it’s what caused me to pass out for the only time in my life. It was a good many years ago. I was jogging in ninety plus degree weather. Suddenly, my knees felt weak and I became extremely lightheaded. It all happened in literally a few seconds. The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the middle of the road. It’s a good thing no cars were coming. That incident really got my attention, and now I’m very careful to avoid this problem.

Hot weather is nothing to fear. It does, however, demand that the proper precautions be taken in order to avoid serious trouble.

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