When it comes to winter fishing, the first thing you need to keep in mind is that preparing properly for the chilly conditions is job number one. Not only can it be dangerous to head outside in sub-freezing temperatures, if you're shivering uncontrollably or you lose all feeling in your hands, you simply can’t fish because tasks like tying knots or baiting hooks become impossible. So, it's critical to dress properly. In addition to layering up and wearing a warm hat, a good pair of fingerless gloves is must-have winter fishing attire. You can't tie those knots nor bait those hooks with a pair of ski gloves covering them up. Everyone has their own favorite style, but most serious winter anglers like fleece gloves that have a flap you can leave off when using your hands and then fold over to cover your fingers when you don't need to use them. Waterproof versions are best.
Another item many anglers like to bring is a hand warmer (like the Zippo handwarmer in last February's FishVault box). Having an artificially warm pocket you can shove your hand in for a few minutes works wonders. Some gloves will also have a slot designed to hold a hand warmer, though we must note that modern battery-operated hand warmers can quickly generate a lot more heat than the old shake-and-bake pouches.
As for the fishing itself, tempting the fish to bite isn't all that different from fishing at other times of the year with one big exception: since fish are cold-blooded, their metabolism slows down quite a bit during the winter months. As a result, everything happens a lot slower than it does during the summer. Bait and predators will both be swimming around at what appears to be a rather lazy pace. In most cases (there are a few exceptions) jigging rapidly or retrieving frantically is more likely to startle the predators than it is to get them biting. So you need to slow all motion down a notch. Rather than snapping the rod tip, just give it a little twitch. Rather than trolling at four or five mph, slow down to two or even less. You want your offering to appear lethargic, just as it would in nature when the water's chilly and cold. That said, you can't let a lure just sit there and expect it to be eaten. So don't stop retrieving or jigging entirely, just use mellow motions and gentle jiggles.
We hope these few tips encourage you to try some winter fishing this year. Also, keep an eye out for your next FishVault fishing subscription box. There is a good chance that there will be several items in there to help you have a successful winter fishing excursion.