Last February while I was fishing down in Florida, I received a very bad sunburn on the back of my hands. Now by bad, I don't mean they were sore when something bumped in to them, or I had to put aloe on them for a few days to soothe them. By bad, I mean I had second degree burns with blisters that would take a few weeks to heal and leave some scar tissue behind.
Like a lot of anglers, I do not like wearing sunscreen as I am afraid the oils will scent my lures and turn the fish off. Over the years, I have started to wear lightweight performance long sleeve shirts and long pants with hats and Buffs to cover my face. This has worked well, but there are still a few areas left unprotected (like my hands) so I have come up with some ways to apply sunscreen with a foam pad to keep from getting it on my palms. While this has worked well for me in the past, inevitably the sunscreen washes off my hands while I am landing and releasing fish. My stubborn refusal to reapply it on the water has gotten me in this predicament.
After this last and most painful episode, I decided I needed to find a better answer. In the past I have tried the thin inexpensive sun gloves that are available. While these gloves are comfortable and protect your hands from the sun, they just didn’t last when put up to a day’s worth of paddling. They would wear thin after a trip or two, and start to bunch up and cause blisters. Eventfully they all wound up thrown in the hatch of my Cuda, and even though they are fairly affordable buying them by the gross would not be. After doing some research, I decided to try out a pair of the Buff “Pro-Series Angler Gloves”.
When I received the gloves, they looked well-made and durable. They fit well and seemed to run true to Buff’s size chart - they were not too tight or loose, and my hands were at the upper limit of the size I ordered. However, if you like your gloves tight I would recommend you try one size smaller than the size chart recommends (the Spandex on the back has plenty of give to it). I was worried how the heavy aquatic suede palms would affect the feel of my fishing rod, but was pleasantly surprised that there was very little change. With the gloves on I am still able to tie knots, thanks to the ¾ finger length, and the gloves actually increase your grip on slimy baits and fish such as pickerel. On long hard treks, they provide you with a very comfortable grip on your paddle.
I have used the gloves for over two months and have probably paddled close to 100 miles in them, and they are still holding up well. Some of the seams at the edge of the fingers needed to have loose threads trimmed. I have had to cut a hook out of the back of one, thanks to a bluefish, but even then the Spandex back didn’t unravel like I expected. At this point, they have exceeded all my expectations and have lasted longer than I thought they possibly could. They have become part of my everyday gear, and I even wear them while fishing at night just because they give me a more comfortable grip on my paddle. With a list price of $34.95 they won’t break the bank, and most importantly no more sunburns.