Sometimes when the fishing itself gets hot, it’s easy to forget how hot the temperature is, especially when we get into July and August. Myself and many of my guides go on 10, 15, even 30 plus day stretches fishing every day, many times two and even three trips a day. Sure you get acclimated, like any other outdoor related job, but it is very easy to find yourself forgetting the usual precautions and suddenly you are suffering for it.
There are numerous things an angler can do to minimize the effects of prolonged days in the hot sun, beyond simply watching out for and preventing sunburn. In fact, many anglers would never even consider putting lotion on their hands and transfer that scent onto their lures and baits, so clothing becomes very important. There are several brands of scent-free sunscreens that cater to anglers, the Bullfrog brand comes to mind, I simply wash my hands off after applying sunscreen and fish on!
When it comes to clothing for hot days on the water, I am a believer in synthetic materials like Coolmax and Hydrawear, with SPF built in. Unlike cotton, these materials are “wicking”, meaning they move perspiration from your skin to the fibers, where evaporation can take place, leaving your skin cool and dry. They feel light and airy because they dry quickly and the process repeats itself. Cotton, in fact, absorbs and hold moisture next to the skin and without that evaporation process, your skin cannot cool off.
I also am a big believer in a neck wrap, otherwise known as “Buffs” or “gaiters”. Many of these are made to be wetted, snapped and worn around your neck to facilitate the same evaporative process, and anyone who has ever just placed a cool, wet towel around their neck knows how quickly this can cool you down. I have even begun to wear one “balaclava” style, covering my entire head except for my face, protecting my neck, ears and the sides of my face from the sun, and keeping cool at the same time.
Another clothing trick I have discovered is simple wristbands, like tennis players wear to keep sweat from getting onto their racket and causing their grip to slip. Keeping these wet also helps to lower your body temp as the pressure points on your wrist will cool your blood as it flows to and from your hands. Again, a simple cool, wet handkerchief tied around your wrist will suffice. Ultra-lightweight “sun” gloves and sleeves can protect your hands and arms from sunburn and mosquitos and a quick dip in the water will provide a cooling effect for quite some time.
Lastly, when you reach for that cold drink, place it behind your knees for a quick 20-30 seconds and enjoy the lower body cooling that comes with it before cracking the beverage and enjoying the refreshment! I hope these tricks will help keep you cool and refreshed and thinking straight and help prolong your productive time on the water!