Wearing sun protection clothing while fishing protects you from the sun by blocking or absorbing harmful UV radiation. Whether you are new to saltwater fishing or a seasoned freshwater fishing veteran, protecting yourself from the elements is the key to a long day on the water. Below we explore how you can pick the right sun protection clothing for your fishing needs. As a bonus, we've included 5 additional sun protection tips.
Why Do I Need to Protect Myself From the Sun?
Many years ago, awareness around the need for sun protection was lacking. As any full time fishing guide will tell you, that has changed. The increased awareness of skin cancer is very real, often resulting from long days on the water. 1 in 5 Americans will develop skin cancer by the age of 70. To help combat that and help you select the right sun protection gear for your needs, AFTCO makes a wide range of sun protection gear for the whole family.
What is UPF? How is it different than SPF?
Clothing's Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) measures for both UVB and UVA protection. UPF is integrated into the fabric leading to constant protection if it covers the skin. A UPF rating of 50 will protect you from 98% of the sun’s rays. That means protection against both UVA and UVB Rays. UPF fishing clothing will add additional levels of protection.
Sunscreen is classified by it's Sun Protection Factor (SPF). SPF is only rated to protect from the sun's UVB rays, which are the rays that can burn your skin. Selecting a "broad spectrum" sunscreen will help by adding against UVA rays as well. Still, SPF in sunscreen loses protection as it rubs off your skin requiring constant reapplication, which can be a hassle.
Which clothing is best to protect me from the sun?
Different companies make varying levels of sun protection clothing. From the very basic to highly breathable UPF gear, AFTCO offers a range of fishing clothing for sun protection. When looking for the best clothing for your needs, we suggest a UPF rating of at least UPF 30 and most importantly advise that you cover all body parts that you want to protect. That includes facemasks, hats, shirts, and even pants.
Sun Protection Options:
The AFTCO Samurai is considered our basic level sun protection. This fishing shirt is by no means ill prepared for your day on the lake or ocean. The Samurai Fishing Shirt still has a UPF rating of 50. Although these shirts are moisture wicking and quick dying, the polyester used is not as breathable as some others that AFTCO makes.
A step up from the Samurai is the AFTCO's Yurei Airo Mesh Shirt. It features a UPF 40 rating that allows for maximum breathability derived from AFTCO's AIRo MESH fabric. When lifted to the light, the shirt seems slightly see through, yet the fabric itself is woven in a way to provide sun protection. This is key in the summer when the heat may deter you from wanting to put on a long long sleeve shirt. This shirt will allow the slightest breeze to blow threw it so you wont overheat. That makes the Yurei shirt the next level in sun protection.
The best sun protection shirt from AFTCO is the Barracuda Geo Cool sun shirt. The largest difference in this top tier sun protection shirt is that it is infused with our GeoCool technology. This technology has the ability to take heat and sweat and convert it into a cool feeling leaving you a lot more comfortable. Shirts in this category always have some treatment that will keep the individual more comfortable fishing long days. Barracuda also provides venting along the entire side giving you the breathability factor as well.
Button Up Fishing Shirts: There is one other category of sun protection fishing clothing out there, and it is wovens, or button up fishing shirts. These tops are not only effective in the sun, but offer a clean more suitable look for every day wear. These tops are more of a preference piece versus having any real advantage over the other clothing. Check out specific tops like the AFTCO Rangle
All these options come in a crew as well as a hooded version giving you the choice to be able to cover up both your torso, and neck. The Yurei and Barracuda come with an integrated facemask as well allowing you to cover up your face for maximum protection. These are added features you may want to consider when choosing sun protection clothing with maximum protection.
5 Tips for Protecting Yourself From The Sun While Fishing
1. The CDC website recommends that if you plan to use sunscreen, to combine it with other sun safety options. This is important because of the degrading nature of sunscreen over time. A combination of sunscreen and sun protection clothing is the best option.
2. Use at least UPF 30 for sun protection clothing. UPF 50 will provide maximum protection. Always try to protect yourself as much as possible.
3. Wear a baseball cap at the least, a better option being a wide brim sun hat.
4. Don't forget your hands! If you protect your whole body except your hands, they will get the grunt of sun damage. Sun gloves provide amazing protection for the tops of your hands, a usually overlooked and neglected spot on your body.
5. Don't forget your eyes either! The eyes are a widely overlooked area that can get sunburned or worse, can be a cause of cataracts. A good pair of polarized fishing sunglasses is heavily recommended to protect the skin around your eyes as well as your eyeballs.
Looking to stay dry and warm this winter? Check out our 8 tips for the best cold weather fishing gear.