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 us to explore ways that we can keep ourselves and the fish we catch stay cool on the water.
When it’s 102 in the shade and the wind is at 5-10 mph, 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 five to six years I have had to spend a lot of time in the dermatologist’s office 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 type of temperatures, unprotected, IS going to cause you problems in the future.
So what to do to protect yourself and stay cool at the same time?
First I would recommend using a good SPF 80+ sunscreen applied to all areas that might get exposed to the direct sunlight or the reflected sunlight off the water. Yes it’s just as dangerous.
Next, wear 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 protect your arms from the direct exposure and the collar protects 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’re always on sale.
OK, next is a wide-bream fishing hat — not a cap. 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 are fishing, you should keep it on. It will also significantly lower your temp by releasing your head’s body heat out the vents plus 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 I can feel the line better. You can get two pair for about $5 at your local Walgreens. They wick the sweat from your hands and cover them so they 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, such as Gatorade.
There is no better hydrator than plan 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. 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 refreeze them 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.
OK, what about shorts? Well, I am just like you, I love to fish in shorts. But after a couple of hours in the direct sun, even with reapplied sunscreen every 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 sell the light-weight 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 crisp? 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 remember to get a couple of shirts and pants to protect your skin while you’re on the water trying to catch that big ’un.
Jasper Johnson is the Copperas Cove Bass Club secretary. To contact him about the club or for any questions, call 318-218-0358 or email Hook_up@yahoo.com.