Keeping cool and protected
Well folks, the Texas summer has arrived with a vengeance! I know you’ve heard this before but with what I’m going through I can’t help but share some advice that will have some lasting value to you.
Today I would like to explore ways that we can keep ourselves, and the fish we catch, cool on the water.
When it’s 102 degrees in the shade and the wind is at 5-10 miles per hour it is difficult to imagine trying to stay cool in that type of heat. The direct sun is literally burning your skin to a crisp as you are fishing and the dry wind is drying out your pores with each cast you make.
Well let me let you in on a secret, not only is the sun cooking you it is also increasing your chances of having skin cancer in your later years. How do I know this? Because for the last 5-6 years I have had to spend a lot of time at the dermatologist having hundreds of skin cancers removed.
When I was young I didn’t even think about the impact of taking my shirt off to get a tan while I fished. Well I never did tan, I just burnt and pealed. Bottom line it doesn’t matter whether you tan or not. Your skin subjected to these types of temperatures, unprotected, is going to cause you problems as you get older in the future.
So, what do you do to protect yourself and stay cool at the same time?
First, I would recommend using a good SPF 80+, or better, sunscreen applied to all those areas that might get exposed to the direct sunlight or the reflected sunlight off the water. Yes it’s just as dangerous.
Next, a long sleeve - yes I said long sleeve - sweat wicking collared shirt. The wicking materials absorb your sweat and with the breeze help lower your overall body temperature. Long sleeves will protect your arms from the direct exposure and a collar will protect the back of your neck and upper back. The UV materials that are out there today are phenomenal and extremely light weight. Most of the big brand fishing stores carry these shirts and around Father’s Day they always put them on sale.
Next is a wide bream fishing hat - not cap - hat. They come in many shapes and forms, but what I would recommend is the one that has the ventilated sides with the drape material that covers your ears, neck, and upper back. Yes I know this type of hat is a pain when you have to move from one hole to the next, but while you fishing keep it on. It will also significantly lower your temp by releasing your head’s body heat out the vents, the material wicks your sweat and helps you stay cooler in a slight breeze.
Something I have been using of late to help protect my hands from the burning is very light weight White Cotton gloves with the fingers cut out so that I can still feel the line better. You can get two pair for around $5.00 buck at your local Walgreens. They wick the sweat from your hands and cover them so they also don’t burn.
Hydration is also key while out in this type of heat. Sodas taste great, but they actually do the reverse of hydration. Take along drinks that do help hydrate your body, like Gatorade. There is no better hydrator than plain old bottled water. I quite often freeze them before I put them in my cooler and drink them as they thaw out from the heat. It keeps them a lot colder a lot longer. I also take a couple of plastic bottles of frozen water for my fish. No, I don’t give it to them to drink, I toss a bottle into the live well to bring the water temperature down in the well. This helps the fish’s survivability immensely. Leave the caps on and re-freeze them again for your next trip out. Just remember which ones are for you to drink and which are for the well. A permanent red marker will help with that chore.
What about shorts?
Well, I am just like you, I love to fish in shorts. But, after a couple hours in the direct sun, even with reapplied sunscreen ever hour or so, the legs start to tingle and burn. I would suggest getting yourself a couple of pairs of the extremely light weight pants that have the zip out legs. I always throw the legs under my driver’s seat of the boat until I feel the tingle start then zip the legs back on the pants. They are also sweat wicking and help your legs stay cooler in the blistering heat. You can get these at those same sporting goods store that sells the lightweight wicking shirts.
I know we haven’t covered a lot about fishing in this one but who the heck can enjoy fishing when you’re burnt to a crisps. Hopefully this advice will help you “be cool” or cooler on the water so you can focus on catching that bass of a lifetime.
So, tell momma and the kiddos what you want for Father’s Day, birthday, Christmas, or anniversary. Wow, that’s four sets easily with a couple of shirts and pants to protect your skin while you’re on the water trying to catch that big’un!
If you have any questions and or comments please send them to Hook_up66@Yahoo.com and I promise I’ll get your questions addressed. Let me see the pictures of those bass you catch while staying cool and protected this summer. Now get out there and catch a big’un!