From expansive reservoirs and trout lakes in the mountains to small bodies of water nestled in rolling hills and low-elevation fishing holes, Arizona offers plenty of year-round fishing options for its residents and visitors. Fishing involves long hours spent outdoors, often in the sun. When you add in the potential for reflected sunlight from the water striking your face and other parts of your body, it’s an activity that can be very hard on your skin.
Our friends Tackle Village are very careful about sun safety and are sharing the top five ways to look after your skin when you’re out on the water baiting a hook.
1. A long-sleeved breathable shirt
Our first line of defense is a long-sleeved shirt with a collar. We often fish in hot conditions and there is the temptation to go short sleeved, but modern long-sleeved fishing shirts such as the Simms range are almost as cool as going bare sleeved and you don’t have put sunscreen on your arms where it can rub off on your gear or trap midges and bugs. Keep it simple, keep it long sleeved.
The other item we don’t go on the water without when it is sunny is a hat with a brim (or cap/buff combination). Having the shade from the hat or cap helps keep sun off our face and scalp, which is great for our skin but also helps keep light from entering around the sides or top of our polarized fishing sunglasses, which can compromise visibility. We usually go with a hat with a brim, but if it is windy, or we’re on a boat traveling fast, we’ll go with a cap and buff (we use the Simms ones here too) worn in combination. The cap helps keep the buff on properly and the combination essentially protects all the skin on your face.
Our hands, particularly when fly fishing, cop an amazing amount of sun. Of course you need to retain the ability to tie knots when fishing, so we go with fingerless sun gloves like these. You need to get these thin breathable ones obviously as opposed to gloves to keep you warm in cooler conditions!
4. SPF 30+ sunscreen
Even though fabric is our first line of defense against the sun, there are always bits that you can’t, or don’t want to, cover up. For these areas, we use a good quality SPF 30 or more sunscreen. We use it on our face even if wearing a hat. We also always pack a sunscreen for the lips as they are very prone to getting burned and need a different type of sunscreen.
We always wear polarized fishing sunglasses on the water (check here for our guide to the best brands and models) to cut through the glare to be able to see fish in all conditions and minimize the strain that these sunny and highly reflective conditions put on our eyes. As well as reducing glare and eyestrain, sunglasses also keep sun off the skin around your eyes protecting you from skin cancer.
With these five must-haves for fishing in the sun, you can eliminate any worries about your skin health and enjoy a full day on the water—without paying for it the next day with a sunburn and increasing your chances of lasting sun damage.