I try to use the winter to catch up on chores; writing reviews, tying flies and such but after a while I have had all of that I can stand. There is nothing else that can replace the warm sunshine, singing drags and sleigh rides of the kayak kind. I try my best to make it through but before long I start wanting to run to the sun. I want to pack my gear, point the truck south and drive till I get someplace tropical. My favorite of these type trips has me loading gear in winter clothes and by the time I reach my destination I am usually in shorts and barefoot. It is amazing how much a short trip to warmer weather can lift your spirits.
There are several benefits to running to warmer water in winter, one being reduced numbers of people on the water. The only folks hitting the water are diehard anglers and duck hunters, no joy riders and jet skis to deal with. Most hotels and campsites are in off season rates and it is usually easy to find an affordable place to call base camp. Another benefit is active, hungry fish in the dead of winter. On my home water I would be fishing a jig as slow as possible but in the runs I fish south of me the critters are aggressive, hungry and often in prespawn or spawning conditions.
It is a beautiful thing to leave a cold muddy river back home, and get to fish a clear water flow with active fish in it. As I am sitting here in my areas coldest recorded January in 24 years I am looking through pictures from trips last winter. I remember the looks I got from friends at work and church when I came home with sunglass racing stripes tanned on the sides of my head in the dead of winter. When they saw the pictures of the adventure everyone was ready to head south!
I really don’t know if looking at the pictures helps or hurts the situation. I know one of my spots is only about 4 hours away and I do have some time off coming. It sure would be nice to put on my fishing shirt, a wide brimmed hat and sunglasses instead of the thermal bibs and jacket I have been sporting. Since deer season is over I really don’t need an excuse to go chase another critter. Flipping some green grass for a fat largemouth or stalking a redfish across a flat would be just the bright spot I need to help me through till spring...