Photos By: Justin Dobson
Last year I had seen a random Instagram photo of someone fishing while wearing nitrile gloves and promoting their use as a simple and effective barrier against cold. I’d been meaning to put this idea to the test. My hands are prone to getting cold very easily, especially my fingers. A childhood spent waiting for the bus on snowy Northeastern mornings has later proved Mom was right, I should’ve worn gloves.
Last Wednesday was the frostiest morning of the season so far. Frost was so heavy it looked like snow. It was 24 degrees when I exited the car to suit up at near 9am. Only one other person was in the normally busy parking lot. I put on the gloves before my hands had a chance to catch a chill. Normally my biggest reason for not wearing gloves is the fact they are cumbersome and a hassle. You are normally taking them off anyhow to tie, re-tie, strip line etc.. Typically, the cold weather plan is to fish with a friend, carry hand warmers and alternate between fishing a hole and warming your paws. Today I was alone and planned on getting in as much fishing as possible despite the cold. Gloves were a must and I carried a pair of fleece gloves and hand warmers as back-up in case this experiment went wrong.
Here are the pros and cons:
Pros: I put on my waders, laced boots, pieced my rod together, strung and tied up and was still able to fish through my wader pockets and fumble with my car keys without the bulk of normal gloves. I fished for several hours with the same pair of gloves with warm hands. I had caught, handled and released several small fish, getting my hands wet each time without any problems. I fiddled in a sappy hemlock tree to retrieve my flies without having sticky fingers for the rest of the day. They are lightweight, pack-able and easy to carry multiple pairs.
Cons: Don’t forget to carry multiple pairs. Once you take them off (like at lunchtime) or get them sweaty or damp, they are near impossible to get back on. It’s best to try to keep your hands dry in the gloves to avoid clammy, pruning hands, they are not breathable (which is probably why they retain your heat, but can become a sweaty mess). It’s possible to look crazy or absolutely ridiculous wearing what most people think are surgeons gloves when you’re in the woods. I went with a pair of black gloves rather than the hospital blue.
So in conclusion, I’ll carry a pair with me regularly on chilly mornings. I’d say for me it’s a good option when temps are just below freezing. If temps were expected to be in the teens or single digits, I’d definitely think twice. And with a box of them costing $8.00 for 100 gloves, it’s well worth the expense.