For anglers, dealing with the sun and hot temperatures is part of summer fishing. Like most things outdoors, one's comfort and safety in hot weather are directly related to planning and preparedness. It's important to take the time to get organized when heading out into hot weather to ensure you don't get dehydrated, sunburnt or succumb to heat stroke.
Here are some six tips to keep you cool during hot days on the water.
1. Staying Hydrated While Fishing
Perspiration is one way your body regulates its temperature. In hot and humid conditions, you need to frequently replenish liquids lost to sweat so you remain hydrated. If you don't take in enough fluids, you run the risk of getting sick with sunstroke.
Staying hydrated is simple: drink a lot of fluids and drink often. It's best to drink plenty of water and not just take a few sips now and then. I usually guzzle back 10 to 20 ounces about every 30 to 45 minutes (sometimes more) when fishing in hot conditions. I make it a habit to pack extra water so there's plenty for me and extra in case my fishing partner didn't bring enough.
Drinking before you feel thirsty is another rule of thumb to stay hydrated. When your body sends out a signal for thirst, you're already dehydrated. If you feel thirsty, drink plenty of water to replenish your fluid levels.
When it comes to drinks, it's important to stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. These will cause you to lose fluids as both are diuretics and will cause you to urinate frequently. If enjoying these kind of drinks make sure you have a few extra glasses of water to compensate for lost liquids. Also, note that when hydrated urine will be clear. When it's a dark yellow, you're dehydrated and need to drink lots of water.
|The many different ways a UV Buff can protect your skin.
Although water is my mainstay drink for hot weather, I also like to have a few sport drinks on hand for variety. These help to replenish salts, sugars and other minerals lost from excessive perspiration. You can save yourself money by buying the drink powder in bulk and mixing your own in waterbottles. Juices are also good to have on hand.
2. Protect Your Head During Sunny Conditions
Keeping your head protected is important during hot, sunny conditions. Without a hat you're tempting fate and a case of sunstroke. A wide brim hat will protect your face, ears and neck from the sun's rays. Other options include ball caps, buffs and bandanas. These don't provide as much protection, but are better than nothing.
3. Protect Your Eyes With Sunglasses
Most sunglasses sold today will protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. For anglers, polarized lenses will cut down on the sun's glare on the water, letting you spot fish and underwater structure. Wrap-around options are extremely popular as they hug the face and do an excellent job blocking out the sun. When buying your shades, pick up a floating case and a lanyard to protect your investment from unwanted overboard losses.
4. Lather on the Sunscreen — Often
Using sunscreen on a regular basis is critical to protecting your skin from UV rays. Not using sunscreen increases your chances of getting skin cancer or may result in other skin damage, like sunburns. Keep in mind that the sun's rays can reflect off the water's surface and cloudy conditions still call for sunscreen.
Adults should use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 rating and children should use sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF rating. Ensure you apply sunscreen liberally at about 20 minutes before you're in the sun for maximum protection. Consider using sport sunscreens when fishing. These products are fairly waterproof and sweat proof, resulting in better protection. Sunscreen should also be reapplied as necessary. This is especially true if you've gotten wet or have been sweating a lot.
Also, carry a stick of lip balm with a SPF 15 rating and use it often. You may also want to consider a sun block stick, to cover your ears and nose.
5. Get the Right Clothing for Sun Protection & Moisture-Wicking
|Clothing made especially for anglers, such as World Wide Sportsman's line of shirts, can protect you from UV rays and keep you cool.
Protecting your skin with proper clothing is important. Some sportswear fabric offers sun protection, with 15 and 30 SPF ratings being common. Often these clothes feature moisture-wicking and quick-drying features that will also help you keep cool. Look for vented cape backs in shirts for maximum ventilation.
Although shorts and short sleeve shirts are common in hot conditions, it's important to have long sleeve shirts and pants on hand. I use regularly wear convertible pants when fishing. If I feel my legs have got too much sun, I'll zip the pant legs back on for 30 minutes or so to give my skin a rest from the sun's rays. I do the same trick with a light-weight long-sleeve shirt to protect my arms
If you're standing and fishing all day in sandals, it won't take long for your toes to get burnt if you're not prepared. Regularly apply a lot of sunscreen to your feet and don't be shy putting on some ultra-light socks or switching to shoes if your feet get too hot. Also don't neglect your hands. If you're landing and releasing fish all day, sunscreen can quickly wash off, so reapply often. Also consider sun gloves that are specifically designed to protect hands from UV rays, but allow you to do all things fishing related, like tie knots, cast and reel, and so on.
6. Take Cover
In extreme conditions, it's sometimes best to stay out of the sun entirely. Consider dividing up your outings with a mid-day break. The sun's rays are often the strongest between 10 a.m.-2 p.m., a perfect time for a shore lunch or a siesta in the shade. Of course, if you're boat has a top this is a great feature to stay in the shade. Purchasing a bimini top is an easy way to ensure you've got some sun protection on your fishing rig.
These are just a few suggestions on how to handle the heat this fishing season. The sun shouldn't stop you from enjoying great angling this season, but be wary of its rays and the affects of hot weather. Stay hydrated and protected from harmful UV rays, and you'll be ready for whatever the fish dish out.