Wearing the proper clothes when kayak fishing is crucial to ensuring not only your enjoyment on the water, but also your physical well being as well! Here is a carefully crafted guide on how to properly dress for any kayak fishing trip on the water. Today we will be going over head wear, eye wear and tops.
Comfort, sun protection and storage are the most factors to consider when dressing properly out on the water. Let's talk about head wear first
Whether you are pursuing yellowtail in Southern California waters or fishing for those winter salmon in snowy Alaska, sun damage should considered. Skin cancer is no laughing matter and sometimes a baseball cap is just not enough. For sunnier conditions, we suggest a hat that also has rear neck protection such as this Sunday Afternoons Sport Hat.
A hat like this will protect not only your face, but also your ears and the back of your head from UV.
If a fully protective hat like this is too much for you, you should consider using a neck gaiter or balaclava type face protector such as the NRS H2Ozone Neck Gaiter.
A neck gaiter like this can be used as a full face mask, half face mask or just a neck band. It also works great in combination with a baseball cap.
If you are buying a hat, see if you can find one that will dry relatively quickly. Avoid all cotton construction. There is nothing worse than wearing a wet beanie on a summer day!
A good pair of polarized sunglasses will not only save your eyes, but will also help you catch fish! How you might ask? Simply put, high quality polarized sunglasses reduce the glare you receive from looking at the water, therefore enabling you to see deeper into the depths. This is important when fishing cover and structure. If there's a dead tree or an old mooring block underneath the water, you can assume they may be fish close by too!
Combine these with a retention tether at the ends of the frames and you are good to go!
When considering tops, depending on your fishing conditions, you will have to consider inner and spray tops.
As far as inner tops go, we suggest avoiding 100% cotton t shirts. You will want to wear something that is breathable and quick dry. There is nothing worse than kayak fishing with cotton shirt saturated with salt water! A top such as this NRS H2Core shirt is quick dry, and can be rolled up at the sleeves on hotter days.
If you are fishing in colder and wetter conditions, you may consider wearing a spray top. A spray top provides some cold/wind protection, but very importantly keeps water off of you in wet conditions. If you need to punch through 3 ft surf with your Hobie Outback, forget your old 100% cotton college sweater, get a spray top such as this instead.
Spray tops such as this Hobie one have rubberized or neoprene gaskets at the neck, waist and cuffs to keep water off of your body. They are not 100% waterproof like a drysuit, but are much more breathable. They oftentimes also have pockets and zippers that you can put essentials in.
What's nice about these spray tops is that they can be worn in the morning when it is cold, but easily removed when it gets hot in the afternoon. These tops are often made out of nylon, so they roll very easily into a small bundle, much like a tent. Also, unlike a bulky cotton sweater, these spray tops are less likely to snag a fishing hook.
Continue on to Part 2 of Dressing the Part: Proper Clothing for Kayak Fishing.