Sunblock is smelly, expensive, and can get on your lures, which some anglers believe will turn fish away before they strike. It will also kill fish in your livewell if you’ve got it on your hands when you reach in to grab a bait. If you fish a lot but don’t want to deal with the hassle of slathering lotion all over yourself a couple of times a day, consider purchasing clothing designed to keep the sun off your skin instead.
Many companies now make long-sleeve, quick-drying lightweight shirts with high SPF ratings that protect your arms and torso from the sun. We prefer these shirts with built-in hoods that you can flip up over the back of your baseball cap to keep the sun off your neck and ears. These shirts come in lots of color patterns and are surprisingly cool even in hot and muggy weather.
Many fishing shirts feature oversize vents on the back. We prefer shirts that look less like you’re wearing a cape, like this sleek model from Columbia. Columbia
One drawback to these lightweight sun shirts is that they can look less flattering on sweating anglers who don’t hit the gym that often. Button-down shirts made of slightly stiffer (but still quick drying) fabrics do a better job of masking man boobs and love handles, and you can wear them overtop of lightweight sun gear to add gear pockets to your outfit. Many come with oversize collars you can pop to help protect your neck from the sun.
Wide brimmed hats not only shed sun, they’re great for keeping rain out of your eyes when you get caught in inclement weather. EINSKEY
Wide-brimmed hats made of canvas, straw, or synthetic fabrics protect your face, neck and ears from the sun. They also cut down on overhead glare, helping you spot fish more easily. Stick a few flies in the brim for the River Runs Through It look that probably got you into fishing in the first place.
Bigger guys should order these pants a size larger than normal as they’re cut for smaller builds. Columbia
Convertible nylon pants/shorts dry so fast you can wear them in a river and then hike up a mountain in them a half hour later. They’re great for kayak fishing, beach fishing, or just hanging out on the dock with the boat, and you can wear them to the bar after a long day on the water without looking stranger than normal.
These slip ons were designed for beach volleyball players who need to keep their soles from burning on hot sand. Sand Socks
Don’t forget your feet! Shoes are no fun when you’re fishing off the beach or in your kayak, and sandals don’t do much to keep them out of the sun. Keep your soles protected from hot sand and your toes out of UV rays with a pair of waterproof, breathable socks.
Because one of these lets you look like a charging shark. Geyoga
Your skin gets hit twice by the sun’s rays when you’re fishing. Once from the sun directly, once after bouncing off the water. Your face takes the brunt of this. Lightweight fishing masks do a great job of protecting your neck, cheeks, nose and ears from the onslaught. They’re also great for hiding your identity if your buddy posts your pic on Facebook when you’re playing hooky from work.