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How to Beat the Oklahoma Heat
By: Blake Ellison 

Oklahomanís  should be accustomed to the scorching heat waves that settle in by July and leave in late September every year, but if youíre anything like myself you just never get accustomed to those 100 degree days.  Yes, the dog days of summer have arrived and the air conditioners are running full speed by now, but what about that bass boat.  You would think for $30,000 dollars they could put at least a fan on the front deck or small A/C unit (ha, ha).  Well, there are several ways to beat the heat, and keep that boat on the water even throughout the hottest of Oklahoma days.

The easy alternative to fishing in the heat is to head out after dark, but by now everybody has that idea.  Despite that, not many tournament trails have night tournaments making it a waste of time if youíre a hard core tournament fisherman.  Donít let it discourage you if you just like fishing because some of the best fishing trips Iíve had in the summer have been after night fall.  A few good tips if you choose to go out after dark are to slow down a bit, and use larger baits in dark colors.  Soft plastics are my number one choice, but top waters, crank baits, and spinner baits also produce healthy bass after dark.

If youíre time schedule or tournament schedule doesnít allow for a night trip try a few of these tips to make youíre next trip a little more comfortable.  Hot weather can not only hamper the fishing, but your self as an angler if a few precautions are not taken.  I am a registered Emergency Medical Technician and I know that hot weather is no laughing matter.  If youíre not careful it can put you in the hospital, and at worst even claim youíre life.  The best precautions you can take are to bring plenty of fluids, and be sure to drink them.  It is also a good idea to keep youíre trips on the water a little more brief, by limiting each outing to a few hours if possible.   We all like to spend that Saturday on the lake, but itís best to just fish a few hours in the morning until it starts to heat up.  Then go back out in the evening as the sun slides down tempting the bass to begin feeding again.

Summer is the time of year to enjoy the water, and make a little splash of youíre own.  The best way Iíve found to cool off is to jump in the lake and swim around for a while.  If you havenít tried this you will be amazed at how much this will cool a man down, and give him the strength to fish a little longer.  If you have kids this is a great way to get them excited when the fishing is a little slower than their attention spans.  Remember safety when youíre on the water and keep those life jackets on, and try to avoid heavily trafficked areas to avoid an accident.

Be aware of the affects of the sun on your body, as well, while on the water.  A bad sun burn can cause a lot of pain, especially when Monday rolls around.  Sun screen or sun block can prevent a lot of pain, plus help reduce the risk of skin cancer which can be very serious.  Reducing the time spent in the sun is the best preventive measure, but wearing a little more clothing (if youíre tough enough) to cover the skin works well also.  A goofy looking hat that covers the ears and neck are useful because these are the areas most affected by sun burns and skin cancer.

When Oklahoma heats up she shows no mercy to those who brave her so keep that ice water on board, take plenty of dips in the water, stay cool, and most importantly have fun.  If you can try the night bite out, and remember the nights are still quite warm so remember those fluids.