While I was in Texas in November, Clark Reehm and I fished Rayburn on a day when it was in the high 40s with consistent rain. I’ve figured out solutions to wet, super cold days (tall insulated gore-tex boots) and days when it’s over 70 are no problem (flip flops or sandals if it’s warm enough, and waterproof sneakers if it’s not), but a mid-range frog drencher has always been a problem. If you wear the insulated boots, your feet’ll sweat, and if you go with the low tops you’re going to have some water find its way in, with an end result of misery.

That’s why I believe that the best gift I got this year was a pair of ankle-high Muck Boots. Clark had them that day and he raved about their performance, so it was the first thing I put on my list when I got home. I was worried that they’d lack support or feel cheap, but in a handful of days of chasing the dog around a snowy yard I’ve been very impressed. Ideally, I’ll never have to use them, but after fishing seriously for a few decades I know that’s unlikely – so if they perform as promised I’m going to look forward to those good topwater and spinnerbait days in the early spring and late fall even more than ever.