A Guide to Cold Weather Layering

Fly fishing clothing in a short space of time has become a highly sophisticated and, frankly, fairly complicated subject. Breathable waders and high quality light jackets have revolutionised fly angling just as much as any lightweight, super carbon and scientific line tapers have – for the simple reason that it doesn’t matter how well you can fish if you can’t stand being out in bad weather. 

The fly fishers that went before, shivering in various woollen layers under hard plastic chest waders couldn’t imagine the space age fabrics which now adorn the average fisher on the riverbank, and just as the influence of modern tackle and techniques has improved the anglers ability to catch fish, no small amount of this excelled prowess is attributed to modern technical clothing. 

Gone are the days of blue legs from standing in the water too long or having to run laps every 15 minutes just to keep some feeling in your extremities. Now we have the equipment to deal with whatever Mother Nature throws at us. As the well known phrase goes: “There’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing”.

Layered up against the elements for early Scottish spring fishing, including the Onka jacket.

But as we say, it has become a little bit complicated. Sure there’s not much complicated about a jacket and a pair of waders, the technology has changed but the concept remains. The complication comes in what goes on underneath, especially on a cold day. 

Fly fishing is unique in fishing as being fairly active and inactive at the same time. This might sound contradictory but think about it…

How often do you walk to your favourite spot, raising your body temperature only to then stand waist deep in cool or cold water for extended periods of time? You don’t want to overheat, but similarly you don’t want to get cold when you stop. Temperature regulation is a tricky thing, but luckily there is a solution: effective layering.

Nowadays the single heavy woollen jumper or fleece has been replaced by a multitude of technical systems which can at times feel quite overly complicated and to the uninitiated feel a little daunting, even like a foreign language. Like all great ideas though the basic concept is simple and very effective. 

Here to guide you through the basics of effective layering for cold weather fishing is Al Peake, with his no nonsense approach to choosing the right gear for the conditions. Sure, it may not be the most exciting of subjects, but at the end of the day we spend many hours outside in less than favourable weather conditions, and we want to enjoy it as best we can without worrying about the cold or the wet. 

We here at LOOP have done the worry for you by designing and producing the highest quality and toughest fishing gear on the market, tested by real fishermen and in the worst conditions, so sit back and enjoy this short video showing you how best to put our gear to use for your own needs. 

Never again need you say the words ‘I’m not going to bother, it’s too cold ….”

Words and photography by Colin MacLeod.