I’m very thankful for the times I fished Strawberry in the fall. The fishing was great even though the temperatures were well below my pain threshold. The large trout go on a feeding binge right before the lake ices over so many mornings I was slipping and sliding down the ramp with temperatures between 15 and 20 degrees. It took me a few times before I put together a Strawberry clothing set that kept me alive. What brings this to mind is that like the Strawberry trout, the Florida Speckled perch (spec’s) also congregate and feed heavily when the temperature plummets. When I used to fish for spec’s back in the 60’s, I was always miserable and just unable to really enjoy the fishing because of the cold. That’s all in the past, largely because of my experience at Strawberry where it was reallllllllyyyyyyy cold.
I now calibrate fishing for spec’s with fishing for trout at Strawberry. I am nominally comfortable between 75 and 80. So when I fished Strawberry it was usually 60 degrees below my comfort zone. When I fish for spec’s I am usually 30 degrees below my comfort zone, or 0.5 Strawberry Pain Units (SPU’s). The practical use of this scoring is that I know how to dress for the cold. At 1.0 SPU’s, I used 4 layers of base clothing, a down vest, 2 pairs of wool socks, and a wool skull cap under my had with ear flaps. So, at 0.5 SPU’s, I wear 2 base layers, one pair of socks, and kill the wool skull cap under my hat with ear flaps. Instead of liner gloves under the ski gloves, I just use the liner gloves; Instead of a down vest, I wear a poli vest. I can put all this on in full confidence without stepping outside because I’m fully calibrated.
I’m mentally wrestling with exactly how this could be translated into beach garb so I can surf fish. Do I need to wear waders and exactly how do they calibrate into Strawberry pain units? The waders are one thing but what do I wear under them? Lined or unlined jeans? Full chest waders or hip waders? Molded feet or old sneakers over stocking foot waders? Maybe what I have to do is carry over a wide array of options and then trek back and forth to the truck until I can work out some equivalence. I’ll nail it but …………………..