Sun Protection on the Water
In this blog we will spend a minute talking about sun protection on the water. This topic isn't nearly as fun and exciting as talking about fishing itself, but it is an important topic to bring to the table. As anglers, we get so focused on fishing that we don't want to stop to eat, drink or apply sunscreen when the bite is on. By the time you think about putting on sunscreen its typically hours after being blasted with uv exposure and often comes hand in hand with a lull in action. By this point, we have already been blasted with uv rays for enough time that it can do damage.
Spending countless hours on the water over the years, we have experienced enough sun time to know its powerful effects. We aren't just talking sunburns and skin cancer/melanoma here, we are also focusing on the fact that the sun can flat our drain you. Taking a beating from the sun without the proper protection or hydration can leave you feeling beat to death and have no energy after getting off the water. Many anglers drive hours for a day of fishing, which means you have to drive hours back home. Many of us have a hard time staying awake on this drive home as the sun stole our energy and put us in a post sun coma. We also did a quick on the water video clip, which you can see on our YouTube Channel. Click HERE for the Video.
Over the years, we have tried to learn more about the sun and figure out how to battle back against it. The best defense mechanism we have found thus far is by covering up! For many years we thought less was more. To stay cool, wear shorts and no shirt or a t-shirt right? We found this to be far from the proper way to not only battle the sun but to stay cool. Covering up with lightweight, SPF rated clothing not only protects you from the sun but it keeps you cooler! It took years of convincing but time on the water proves it's absolutely true. Not only are you protected, your body isn't in work mode reacting to the uv rays. Keeping the sun off your skin keeps you cooler, protected and saves your energy. We feel so much better after a long day on the water when covering up vs not.
Pictured here, Captain Mike is wearing not only a sunshirt, but a hooded sunshirt. Sunshirts are great but a hooded sunshirt is a slam dunk! Using a shirt with a hood makes it much easier to protect your neck, ears and other hard to reach places. It also helps keep your head cool. We have found hooded sun shirts to be a life saver on the water. One of our favorites after trying many different brands over the years is made by a company called Windrider. The sunshirt shown here are the Helios version. These things are awesome! As soon as you put one on, you will know what we are talking about. Not only are they a great fit and extremely light weight and comfortable, it actually feels like they have a cooling property when you put them on. In an 80 plus degree direct sunlight it feels like you have an air conditioner vent hitting your skin. Give these guys a look, we promise you won't be disappointed!
Everyone knows about sunscreen as it's nothing new. Again, we are just talking about it to help create better awareness and be a reminder. We found that putting sunscreen on before hitting the water is a big help. Taking a minute to apply sunscreen at the dock helps keep you protected during the first few hours, which is normally the period of time we are too focused on the task at hand to spend time putting sunscreen on. Since we wear sun shirts on warm, full sun days, we apply it to the areas that will be exposed, which only takes a second. After a few hours, we will reapply. We have also found that keeping a small tube in the front and back of the boat helps if we are fishing from both platforms. Over the years it has always been recommended to reapply every few hours, which is what we do. You will find that with wearing a sunshirt and pants that the burden of applying sunscreen is much less as there is simply much less area to apply. We try to avoid using aerosols as they can stain certain materials in the boat and are unpleasant with any sort of breeze in general. We typically use a quality brand with an SPF rating of 50 or above. The sunscreen by Neutrogena called Ultra Sheer Dry Touch is becoming our favorite. It is non greasy and rubs in quickly. Using a good quality sunscreen helps reduce clogging up pores and looking like we are 16 again. Skip the dollar store offbrands and get a quality bottle. A bottle of sunscreen lasts a long time and the extra few bucks goes a long way.
Hopefully these few little tips help you stay better protected on the water and have more energy after you get done fishing! Just because you have never practiced sun protection, doesn't mean you are "good". This type of cancer typically shows up later in in life and takes time to show itself. We are advocates of being proactive as much as possible and will continue to take these small steps to stay cool and protected on the water. We aren't experts or doctors, just avid fisherman that have got a lot of sunburns and sun poisoning over the years trying to pass on our lessons learned! Good luck fishing!