The best fishing glove is no glove at all. The sad fact is that fishing gloves tend to deaden our sense of feel and make detecting light strikes that much more difficult. That’s the cold hard facts.
The question becomes is it worse to fish with gloves that rob our fingers of strike detecting sensitivity or to suffer with hands so cold the numbness makes it impossible to detect strikes? Surely there is a better alternative?
Over the years I’ve fished with just about every glove imaginable in my quest for a cold weather fishing glove that makes sense. What I have found lends more to what doesn’t work rather than what does.
In my humble opinion what doesn’t work are the many neoprene gloves on the market branded as “fishing solutions” for the cold weather angler. None of these gloves are worth consideration because neoprene doesn’t breath.
Not long after putting on a pair of neoprene gloves your hands will begin perspiring and moisture build up will quickly chill your fingers to the bone. Hybrid gloves that feature a neoprene palm and leather backing are a little better, but in the end these gloves are little more than a weak compromise.
LEATHER SHOOTING GLOVES
When it’s really cold outside leather insulated shooting gloves are a good choice for keeping your hands ready for action.
Insulated leather gloves produces for winter clay target shooting are expensive, but they provide a good compromise of dexterity and protection from the elements. A few manufacturers produce Gore-Tex lined versions of these gloves that makes them even more practical in a fishing boat.
RAG WOOL GLOVES
Rag wool makes for a very warm fishing glove and the models with rubber grippers on the palms and fingers do a good job of creating a solid grip. The problem with these gloves is they are not waterproof in any capacity.
When it cool, but not downright cold outside the author likes to fish using fingerless rag wool gloves like these pictured here.
When using wool gloves I routinely carry two or more pairs in my pockets so I can switch out when one gets wet. Thankfully wool dries pretty quickly and a few minutes on the defroster of my pick up truck is all it takes to have a dry pair ready when needed.
Because rag wool catches on hooks readily, I tend to pull mine off before handling lures. The solution here is to use fingerless wool gloves which are fine for mild weather, but simply not warm enough for the cold stuff.
Fleece is similar in warmth to wool. Bonded fleece features a harder and more wind resistant surface, but this fabric is still soft enough to provide the flexibility needed in a fishing glove. Models that feature synthetic leather palms or palms and fingers with rubber gripper dots makes them pretty functional in a fishing boat.
For extreme conditions I wear wool rag gloves under chopper style mittens. The mittens are normally used when running form place to place and are taken off as soon as the fishing begins. Nothing keeps your hands warmer than mittens, but they are pretty much useless once the fishing starts.
Keeping a couple chemical heat packs in your pockets is a good way to warm one hand while fishing with the other. In the fall I buy these heat packs by the case and keep them in my truck and boat so I always have them handy.
It’s amazing how well these simple and disposable hand heaters work. If it wasn’t for these little beauties I doubt if I could beg Mari into going fishing after about October first!
SUMMING IT UP
Keeping your hands warm is always a challenge when fishing in cold and wet conditions. One of the biggest secrets to staying warm is not letting your hands get too cold to start with.
As soon as my fingers start to feel stiff, I break out the chemical heat packs and slip one in each pocket. A little direct warmth goes a long ways towards keeping your hands functioning and rods swinging.