Fishing is one of the most enjoyable activities one could pursue. However, in order to make sure you are comfortable out on the water, you will have to dress appropriately for the season.
The summertime, when the sun is beating hot, and the winter months, when temperatures can approach the freezing mark, are the most challenging seasons from a wardrobe perspective, but if you plan accordingly you can thoroughly enjoy fishing in these seasons. In the following article we will show you what to wear fishing in both the winter and the summer months in order to stay comfortable and productive as you pursue some trophy-sized fish.
What to Wear Fishing: Winter Months
If you have ever been out on a fishing boat in the winter, you know just how cold it can get. In addition to near freezing air temperatures, you must also contend with the wind chill factor—a factor that is augmented as the wind blows over the icy water. Because of this, your regular “warm” clothes and outerwear may not be enough to keep you toasty and comfortable as you fish. Here are just a few of the clothing items we recommend for fishing in the winter.
Jacket with a Hood
A jacket with a hood can make a big difference when winter fishing. Many companies make nylon jackets with a sweat-shirt type liner for comfort and a hood. When pulled up, the hood helps to keep your head and neck warm. This combo is great for keeping head, ears, and neck toasty and comfortable.
You may think snow suits are just for the snow, but the manner in which these suits are made make them ideal for wintertime fishing. Snow suits—snow pants and a snow jacket—will keep you warm in all winter situations, and because they are water resistant they help to repel rain and the water that is likely to splash up on you from the water. Snow suits can be purchased at almost any sporting goods store and they are also widely available on the Internet.
While a snow suit will cover most of your body, you will need something to protect your head from the icy winds. This is where a high-quality knit cap can come in handy. Also known as watch caps, knit caps can protect your head and ears from the cold. There are even some varieties that cover your entire face when conditions are really bad, with holes for the eyes, nose and mouth. If you get a large enough knit cap you can actually pull it down over a baseball-cap-style hat, thus giving you a visor to help you see better on the water.
A good pair of non-slip boots is imperative when fishing in the winter. Non-slip boots will prevent you from sliding should the bottom of your boat ice over. Additionally, you want to make sure the boots are waterproof to avoid getting your feet wet and cold. They should also have a felt liner which will help keep your feet and the bottom part of your legs warm and comfortable.
A warm pair of gloves is another necessity when fishing during the winter, whether in a boat or from the shore. Wearing gloves when driving the boat can help keep your hands warm and flexible. You can even buy gloves with the fingers cut out of them, which will allow you to cast and work on your gear without removing your gloves.
Thermal Underwear and Socks
Thermal underwear, also known as long johns, is another must when fishing in the winter. There are many styles of thermal underwear, including those that have a turtle neck style top to keep your neck warm. A good pair of insulated socks is also a good idea. . Wool socks over knit socks that wick moisture away will help keep your feet warm and dry.
PFD or Life Vest
Perhaps the most crucial piece of winter fishing wear is a personal floating device (PFD) or a thin life vest. With all the gear you will be wearing when fishing in the winter, falling overboard into the icy water can quickly turn tragic. A PFD or life vest, however, will help keep you on the water long enough to allow you to get back to the boat safely. Just make sure the life vest or PFD you purchase is large enough to fit over your extra outerwear.
What to Wear Fishing: Summer Months
Dressing for fishing during the summer months can be a little trickier, because you have to prepare for the cool of the mornings and evenings as well as the heat of midday. Because of this, you will have to wear layers—cooler clothes under your warmer clothes—so you can adapt to each climate condition as it comes.
A lightweight jacket is usually all the protection you will need from a warmth standpoint. Wear your jacket during the cooler morning and evening fishing sessions, and while driving the boat to and from your fishing location.
One of the best types of shirts you can wear during the summer months is a nylon shirt to keep you cool and comfortable. When shopping for this shirt, we recommend something with long sleeves to protect your arms from getting too sunburned. Look for an ultra-quick dry 100 percent nylon button up shirt that is light and breathable, one that will also wick away moisture.
Long summer days on the water call for some versatile clothing, which is why we recommended wearing layers at the onset. One way to avoid layers on the bottom half of your body, however, is to go with fishing/hiking pants that have zip off legs, thus converting them into shorts. This way, you can wear the short pants during the heat of the day when the sun is beating down interminably, and switch back to the pants in the evening as you are driving the boat back to the dock. Much like the shirt we mentioned above, try to go with a material that is moisture and stain resistant. The shorts material should also have a minimum UPF 50+ sun protection as well. You might additionally want to shop for a pair of pants/short conversion that has a lot of pockets. This will enable you to carry a lot of gear on your person to avoid going back and forth to your tackle box.
While it is true that most fisherman you see are known to wear a ball cap-style hat when fishing in the summer, these hats actually offer little protection against the beating rays of the sun. During the summer months, we highly recommend you wear a wide-brimmed hat when fishing, one that will guard against sunburn, overheating and overexposure to the sun. Ball caps help some in that regard, but a true wide-brimmed hat with a full brim will protect the head, face, neck and ears. When selecting one of these hats for your next fishing trip, be sure to look for one that is made from a breathable material, which will prevent over-perspiring on your head. Always remember that the water intensifies the effects of the sun and dress accordingly with a protective, wide-brimmed fishing hat.
Shoes or Sandals
A good pair of deck-style tennis shoes is usually sufficient when fishing in the summer. Others might opt for sandals instead for the comfort they provide, but not every type of sandal is acceptable. Look for a lightweight sandal with a soft foot bed for comfort. It should also be very flexible, ventilated, UV and odor-resistant and, most importantly, slip resistant, to prevent you from sliding around on the surface of the boat. Cheap flip-flops will not do the trick here, so expect to spend at least $25-$40 dollars for a good pair of deck sandals. Another option is water shoes. These shoes are made from a neoprene substance—just like a wet suit. They offer a lot of comfort and are completely waterproof.
Sunglasses are another item that you should never be without when fishing in the summer. Being near the water can cause almost blinding glare, so unless you have a high-quality pair of sunglasses you can really damage your eyes over time. Look for a pair of sunglasses with a 100 percent polarized lens. This will help block the powerful UV rays of the sun. Wraparound sunglasses are always a good idea because they block sun that can enter from the side of most other sunglasses. You also want a pair that is very lightweight with a good fit that won’t constantly be sliding off your nose.
Last but certainly not least, you will definitely need sunscreen to protect your skin from the summer sun. Here we recommend a product that offers at least 30-50 SPF protection. Many fisherman like to use sunscreen that is sweat-proof (so it won’t run after it’s applied) and doesn’t leave any greasy, uncomfortable residue that can negatively impact your grip on the pole. You should also look for a sunscreen that is oil-free, hypoallergenic, and waterproof. Be sure to use the sunscreen on all unprotected skin, including your face, neck and ears, and reapply it about every two to three hours to ensure you remain protected throughout the day.