Well, for a while the talk down here in the south was about the long winter we had. I still hear people talking about how everything is a month late in the patterns due to the long and intense (for Louisiana) winter we had. But now, it’s summer. And it’s here in full force. We’re reaching the mid ninety degrees marks by mid-day, with the heat index near 105! It’s important to be prepared for the sometimes intense heat we experience this time of year while out on the water. With that said, I’ll be hitting on a few tips in this post that help me beat the summer.
In the summertime outdoors, cotton can definitely be the enemy, unless you like sweating and having your clothes stick to you. I have a few synthetic material fishing shirts that help me to stay both cool and dry.
There are plenty of performance style shirts out there geared towards the fishing industry, I’m just going to touch on a few. I like to use the Breathe Like A Fish shirts, as well as the shirts with the built in cooling technology. Breathe Like A Fish is a company based out of Florida that started making performance style fishing shirts with mesh cut-outs on the sleeves and torso sides, allowing for air movement through straight to your skin. If you prefer something a little more high-tech, Columbia’s Omni Freeze shirts and Exofficio’s Sol Cool shirts have xylitol, a chemical that cools when wet, built into them. So basically, when you sweat, the xylitol activates and begins to create a cooling sensation on your skin. I’ll admit, I was skeptical at first, but that junk works!
There’s always, of course, this guy. In the south, men wear these Columbia shirts everywhere! From a backyard BBQ to the nice sit-down restaurant, and from the football game to a friends wedding, these shirts are everywhere. I sometimes have wondered how many people realize that they are actually fishing shirts. Some are made with the xylitol cooling chemical, others are just normal material. But all have pockets, vents, and look nice enough if you need to stop somewhere after a long day on the water.
Pants and Shorts
In most situations this time of year, I prefer to wear pants when fishing. It just helps with one less thing to worry about in keeping your legs sun-screened. I like the Blood & Guts series from Columbia which are convertible if you want to switch to a short at some point in the day. They’re also lightweight and dry relatively quickly! Exofficio has several lightweight pants with their BugsAway technology in the material, which brings up another topic for later; bugs. Board shorts are a nice alternative if you really prefer shorts. Just make sure to apply/reapply sun-screen!
I’ve had several people ask me about the mask I can be seen wearing in my videos. If you don’t know about them, they’re called neck-gaiters, more commonly called “buffs.” However, Buff is actually the brand name for just one of these products. Columbia makes a xylitol bandana that does pretty much the same thing, however a “buff” is just a tube-like piece of material designed with fabric that protects you from the sun. The Buff product comes in several different designs and can be worn in a variety of different ways. Exofficio’s version also has the xylitol cooling effect in it. It can take a little getting used to, but after you start wearing one, when you forget it, you won’t forget it again!
The summer heat will often spawn some mean rain storms by the afternoon hours, so it’s always good to be prepared for that as well!
For the longest time I held the idea that a rain coat was a rain coat. But nowadays I know there are rain coats that are more comfortable to wear than others. Up until recently, I had just been using an inexpensive Columbia rain coat that someone gave me. It got the job done; it blocked the rain, but it couldn’t stop the sweat. I’d get so clammy inside the thing that I’d be almost as wet as if I hadn’t been wearing it at all.
I’ve just recently replaced it with the Torrentshell rain coat by Patagonia. It’s lightweight, packable, and breathable. It has double overlapping flaps over the zipper to help keep the rain out. It also has zippers in the arm pits to increase breathability. The hood has an elastic headband piece to help keep it in place, and can be adjusted to fit so that when your head turns, the hood does not block your view. The long sleeves of the jacket also help when casting as they don’t ride up on your arms.
There are other brands out there with similar jackets, however; Patagonia has won me over with that one!
Bug Spray and Sun-screen
I find the best way to avoid the sun is covering up, and the best way to avoid the bugs is to cover up using bug away clothing. But sometimes it’s not enough and you need extra protection. For years, my bug spray of choice was OFF Deep Woods. Hey, it gets the job done, and well, but with 25% deet it’s not good for you, your gear, your clothing, and can actually keep the fish away as well!
I’ve now started using this lemon-eucalyptus spray by Repel. All I can say is that it works, and doesn’t smell bad.
Also, if your significant other likes the works of Victoria’s Secret, believe it or not, their Amber Romance perfume is used by many kayak anglers, here in Louisiana, as a bug repellent! I haven’t used it yet but have heard from many guys that it does indeed work!
When it comes to sunscreen, when I’m covered correctly, the only place that needs it sometimes are my hands & feet. I like SPF 30 or higher. I don’t have uber-sensitive skin, so SPF 30 is fine for me, but if you have sensitive skin, definitely go with something greater! I’ve used Banana Boat sunscreen for years and it seems to stay on when wet. A brand I haven’t used yet but will try out soon is Aloe Gator. Rated SPF 40+ and also claiming to stay on when wet, I’ll be testing it out soon.
So yeah, this is one area where I sometimes have a problem. I get the “fish-brains” when I’m preparing for the trip and when I’m out on the water. I often am so obsessed making sure I have everything tackle-wise, that I completely forget to pack fluids. I’m often saved by a stop at the gas station and a yellow Gatorade, but nothing truly can replace good ole H2O. I’ve gotten some good use out of my Nalgene bottle that Jackson provided me with when we bought the Cruise 12, however Nalgene bottles don’t stay cold very long when they’re not in an ice chest. Hydroflask is an alternative I’ve started using. If you fill it with coffee, it keeps it hot and if you fill it with ice water, it stays cold. Awesome thermos!
I hope that this information can help someone out there. Even if you don't use this as a guide, be careful out on the water, and in the summer heat. Drink lots of fluids, and wear lots of sunscreen! And as always, have fun!