Plenty of fish are biting this month, and whether you target catfish, stripers, bass or redfish, you’ll have a lot of water to yourself, because many anglers have parked their boats for the winter. They are missing out on some fish, but that’s your gain. All you need to do is stay comfortable, and the best way to do that is to dress in layers.

Starting with a long-sleeved, high-performance fishing pullover is a good start. These shirts wick away moisture and are good as a base layer. Pull a hoodie over that, and you’re halfway there. Now zip up a fleece-lined jacket and top it off with a rain- and wind-resistant coat.

For your legs, you can’t go wrong with long johns as your base. And any pair of pants will do for your next layer, as long as you pull some snow pants over them to start the day.

A good pair of gloves is essential in the morning but can be stowed away once the day warms up.

Plenty of anglers look at the forecast’s high temperature for the day, then dress according to that, figuring they’ll just suffer through a few hours until it warms up. That’s a big mistake. Aside from the fact that forecasts are often wrong — even when they’re right — starting the day off too cold will make it a long day, you’ll suffer through some of the best fishing times and you’ll be surprised at how difficult it is to warm up once the sun gets well up in the sky if you’ve started the day shivering.

But if you’re dressed in layers, you’ll be able to peel them off, one by one, as the temperature warrants. 

Kevin Davis of Black’s Camp on South Carolina’s Santee Cooper lakes warns anglers not to just rely on one heavy coat for their winter fishing, because that one coat can get too hot. But if all you’ve got underneath it is a thin shirt, you’ll be too cold once your remove your coat.

“Dressing in layers works the best. When you dress in layers, you can always take something off as the temperature warms up. You will never go wrong dressing in layers. And make sure you’ve got gloves and headgear to start the day off. You’d be surprised at how many anglers forget those items, and it can make for a long, miserable day on the water,” he said.