Staying Warm and Dry With the BPS 100 MPH

I recently had the opportunity to take part in the 3rd Annual Rat-L-Trap Classic on Alabama’s Lake Guntersville. The weather conditions were not what I would refer to as favorable, but with the 17 degree Alabama morning, with ice on the water and on the ramp, the twenty to thirty mile per hour wind creating two to three foot swells, did not seem to bother the 170 boats containing the anglers who had turned out to take part in the annual winter event.

Two professionals in particular that were determined to hit the water laughed, teased and trashed talked a bit before launching as if it was a warm spring day. Both were Bass Pro Shops/ Team Nitro Pros, Robert Sutton and Donna Bilbrey. The two having much in common as pro staff of not only the mentioned sponsors but also Bass Attacker Lures. However on this day they were using only Bill Lewis Rat-L-Traps and they were fishing as competitors. Donna had teamed up with Cassie Hall, another LBAA lady bass angler as her co- angler to form the only female team in the event.


Robert Sutton on the other hand chose me to be his co-angler on the rough cold water of Lake Guntersville. I soon realized that the event was not just about bragging rights or winning a check, but the allure of competing under extreme conditions while being handicapped with the use of only one lure was what had brought so many passionate anglers out in the cold for the event.

One thing that most anglers had in common other than fishing the same lure was their choice in essential equipment of top quality rain gear. A large percentage of the field including Robert and Donna, were wearing Bass Pro Shops 100 MPH Gore-Tex Rain Suits. Many tournament anglers rely on these 100 MPH Rain suits to keep them warm and dry in the harshest weather and this tournament put not only the anglers to the test but also their gear and navigation skill.

Robert said, "I've tried a few of the other Gore-Tex suits on the market, but the BPS 100 MPH suit is what I rely on when fishing on days like this not only to keep me dry but for warmth and blocking the wind as well. This suit doesn't restrict my movement when I'm fishing even on a day like this. The suspender system is designed to take the weight of the bibs off the shoulders reducing fatigue while protecting you from the elements. Both the parka and the bibs are protected with a laminated 150-denier nylon shell with full GORE-TEX membrane providing the ultimate waterproof and the most durable material you can find in a rain suit that still remains breathable."

This was a speech that I had heard from Donna several times as she tried to encourage me to purchase one of these suits. She swears by hers with the same enthusiasm as her teammate does, this was something that I would soon understand first hand once we were out on those two foot swells of Lake Guntersville.

Soon after launching, Roberts Nitro Z7 cut across the swells with impressive power from his 150 Fourstroke Mercury. The power of the hole shots from the boat dominated the tempest of waves however as the co-angler I hadn’t anticipated that in these extreme cold temperatures getting wet so early in the morning. With each wave I was pelted with overspray as the boat leaped and spliced through the waves. The water was freezing on my PFD and on my jacket instantly as the 45 – 50 MPH wind from the draft of the boat running through the swells of Guntersville. By the time we had reached the first honey hole of the day, I was wet, where I wasn’t frozen. Needless to say this affected my fishing and my mood. A valuable lesson was learned that day in Alabama. I learned that any investment that improves your fishing is money well spent.


After the tournament I was at Bass Pro Shops in Sevierville, Tennessee buying a rain suit. The words that both Donna and Robert shared with me were proven facts when I fished my first extreme tournament. As a journalist, a photographer or as a co-angler being comfortable, warm and dry is important to the outcome of the day. I am very glad to share this story with others, I am now a believer in the protection and comfort of the quality suits from Bass Pro Shops have to offer. Yes they are an investment, but your performance on the water is worth protecting. Remember this the next time you’re in the store and not after you’re on the water wet and cold. If you can’t make it to the Sevierville store you can find these suits on line or at a BPS near you.

Happy Fishing!

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