PFGs, Tilley Hats, and The Latest and Best Fishing Clothing
What type of fishing do you do?
There are few dangers when it comes to bass fishing. Especially if you can swim, wear a lifejacket, and realize how sharp hooks can be. That being said, there is one danger that is often overlooked: The Sun.
In a sport where the best season is also the hottest, anglers risk dehydration, overheating, and of course sun exposure. Don't take these lightly. On a sunny day, an angler is often getting rays from every angle. From above, but also reflected off the lake around you. These lake reflections can also amplify the sun’s UV rays causing more damage to your skin.
The obvious answer to this is sunscreen, and I certainly advise you carry a bottle with you all the time. Use it, and use it often. However, a lot of clothing has been engineered to combat this problem, specifically for fishermen.
The first piece of clothing is a neck gaiter. This is a pretty cool piece of clothing that is rarely used. It looks like a tube of stretchable fabric and can be worn countless ways. However, for fishing and protection, your best bet is around your neck. There are a few name brands of these sold in stores, and often you can find them in the women’s hair section with hair ties and scrunchies. However, I advise you buy them off eBay. They ship directly from China and you can often get them for less than $1 each if you are willing to wait for the shipping.
PFGs really gained a lot of popularity in 2014 when college frats started wearing them. Though frats made pastel colors popular in the spring, dark and natural colors such as forest green and tan are great for the lake and scream "I am going fishing," rather than, "I can keg stand for 3 minutes straight."
Next you will want a good shirt. It's no secret in the fishing world that the Columbia PFG Tamiami II is going to offer you the best sun protections while still being breathable and cool. However, if you are not willing to drop $45 for a shirt, you may want to go with a cheaper alternative. There are a lot of knock offs on the market, but the key is to get something with wicking properties while still being light. Rip-stop nylon is always a pretty safe bet. It comes in many different weights though, so naturally you will want a lighter weight for the summer and a heavier weight for the fall and spring. In the winter you won't have to worry about the sun as much so a sweatshirt may be a better choice.
As for pants go, pockets are key. If you can find some that zip you will be very thankful. 5.11 is a term for a certain tactical pant that some military use in hot areas. It is a good choice, and often they have unzippable shorts for if they get to hot. Again made out of ripstop nylon.
You will also need a hat. My wonderful wife bought me a Tilley Hat for our second anniversary. You can look for yourself at how much they cost, and after you recover from the heart attack continue reading your other options for hats. I do encourage Tilley Hats, but if you don't want to spend the money you can usually buy the knockoffs for about $10. The four big reasons I encourage this style of hat are as follows:
All around protection from the sun.
The pocket inside it which is perfect for keeping your fishing license in.
A float is built into the head of it in case it blows off while you are cruising in your boat.
There is a rope that runs through the hat that will keep it from blowing off your head both in the front and from the back.
If you can find a hat with these qualifications it will do you well. #1 is the most important of coarse.
Shoes can change depending on the type of fishing you are doing. Chacos and hiking boots are great for fishing from the bank. Crocs or teva’s if creek fishing and wading is your choice. In a boat or kayak, bare feet is a great choice, but don't leave hooks lying around.
A staple for fishing is a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Especially great for bass fishing, polarized sunglasses will take the glare off the water, allowing you to see deeper. I personally can't wear contacts because I'm allergic to them, so I have a clip that goes on my glasses. It looks absolutely dorky, but trust me, with a neck gaiter and sun hat on your appearance has already been blown. You won't look to cool rolling up in an Italian restaurant but on the lake no one will judge you. While on the subject of sunglasses, another good thing to have is a sunglass strap. This will prevent your sunglasses (or in my case prescription glasses) from falling into the lake. It doesn't matter how big of a largemouth you caught, losing $100+ pair of sunglasses will ruin a good day of fishing.
You would be surprised what holding fish by the mouth all day can do to your hands. A pair of gloves is a good will help a lot. Cotton gloves with rubber palms is a good choice and will protect the fish from losing their protective slime. I like to cut the thumb and pointer out of them and wrap a piece of athletic tape on my thumb. This keeps me from having to take them off when tying on new rigs.
The last things you may want to consider, if you want to start taking fishing more seriously, are a good pair of chest waders and a rain suit. You will want a rain suit, not a poncho, because it will make you more mobile, allowing you to cast and retrieve better.
Did I miss anything? Tell me in the comment section below. The fishing clothing industry has literally boomed in just a couple of years. With the "frat boy" rise of PFGs, it has become very profitable, and is constantly introducing new products. Maybe you have tried a new product or want to, tell me about it.