What Do Fishermen Wear? A Complete Guide for All Weather Conditions

Fishing is one of the most popular outdoor activities in the US. However, your fishing trip might be ruined if you are not wearing the appropriate clothes

Not wearing the appropriate clothing can be uncomfortable and distracting. It can also affect your health and safety.

Fishing apparel has evolved over the years and it can be challenging for beginners to choose what to wear before going on their trip as it mainly depends on the weather conditions.

 So, what do fishermen wear? Fishermen wear essentials such as breathable shirts, convertible pants, waterproof outwear, and boots. They also wear accessories such as hats, sunglasses, and gloves for more protection. The clothes fishermen wear need to provide comfort, flexibility, and durability. They also need to be suitable for the weather.

Keep reading to learn more about the importance of wearing the appropriate fishing clothes and what to wear when fishing in different weather conditions.

Why Is It Important to Wear the Appropriate Fishing Clothes?

fisherman to show what do fishermen wear

Anglers spend a lot of time in their fishing clothes, so it’s important to wear the appropriate clothes that will help you fish better instead of limiting your abilities.

Fishing is not an activity that you do while standing at one place so, your clothes need to be comfortable and allow you to move easily without getting in the way.

You also need your clothes to blend in with your surroundings as some fish can detect movement and see unnatural patterns on the water.

Finally, you need clothes that will protect you from harsh weather conditions.

There’s always the risk of getting hypothermia when fishing which is a state where your body temperature drops below 35°c. It happens due to a combination of several variables including the water temperature, air temperature, amount of exposure, and wind speed.

It doesn’t just occur because you have been submerged in cold water. It can also happen when the temperature is warm and you’ve only experienced a few splashes of water. 

It can be life-threatening so in order to minimize the threat and protect yourself, you need to wear the appropriate clothes to keep yourself as warm and dry as possible.

What Are the Main Clothing Items That Fishermen Wear?

Many brands manufacture fishing apparel. The prices can vary depending on the quality of the materials. However, you can still protect yourself adequately with cheaper alternatives.

Let’s take a look at some of the essential clothing items that fishermen should have in their closet:

Fishing Shirts

The first items you need to purchase are shirts.

You can choose any regular shirt from your closet, however, it’s recommended to go with shirts made from breathable materials to prevent sweat and try to avoid cotton materials as they tend to absorb more water.

It’s also recommended to go for long-sleeved shirts to provide more protection against harmful UV rays.

My absolute favorite is the PFG Fishing shirts from Columbia. They are super comfy, available in all sizes, and they are impressively durable.

You can check them on Amazon here.

Outerwear

You need to purchase windproof and waterproof jackets. The material of the jackets can be PVC or Gore-Tex.

PVC material is lightweight, flexible so it can be easily packed. It’s also easy to clean.

However, PVC isn’t the best for keeping warm even though they effectively keep the rain out. You need to wear several insulating layers underneath the jacket if the temperature is cold.

 It also doesn’t breathe well. If you move and sweat a lot, it will retain the moisture making the inner clothing layers wet. So, it’s best to wear a PVC jacket for short time.

Gore-Tex material, on the other hand, is breathable and warmer as it allows the moisture retained from the inside to evaporate. However, it’s more expensive compared to PVC.

When choosing a fishing jacket, keep in mind that each manufacturer has some kind of rating system for their product. High-end quality products use stronger stitches while cheaper products might leak moisture through the stitches.

For my favorite recommendations, I really do like the stuff from Columbia, but I have recently started wearing this set from FROGG TOGG and I have to say, they are better for fishing. They are comfier and they just provide better protection.

Convertible Pants

Convertible pants are basically pants that can be quickly converted into shorts with a simple pull on the zipper. They are very popular with fishermen as they offer many benefits.

These pants make it convenient to fish in different conditions. You can easily switch back and forth from pants to shorts as the temperature gets cooler or warmer.

They’re light in weight and quick-dry as they are made from 100% nylon material that wicks moisture away from your body while providing sufficient warmth. The material is also easy to clean and less prone to staining.

They suit different body sizes and come with an elastic waist for extra support around the midriff. They also come with a wide variety of pockets.

Again, the Columbia stuff is great, and even the pants in the previous recommended set are good, but I found that when I don’t need the coat, I actually prefer these quick-dry pants from Jessie Kaidens. They are more comfortable and there are more and larger pockets, which is always a winner in the pants game.

Footwear

Boots are an essential part of fishing clothing. Shoes and sandals can sometimes be a good choice as well.

Rubber boots are the most ideal for keeping your feet dry but they are the best for insulation.

Sandals are quick to dry, however, they can become slippery on the inside if they get wet and your foot could slide within the sandal.

It’s recommended to go for trekking or hiking sandals, which are suitable for different terrains. The material has of the sandal needs to be durable and the footbed of the sandal needs to be padded to ensure comfort.

Shoes come in different designs. It’s recommended to go for the ones that are light in weight with good traction. They also need to be waterproof and breathable, otherwise unpleasant odors might become a problem.

There are some specialized shoes that are designed specifically for fishing. They are known as wet wading shoes and they resemble hiking sneakers and can be worn by themselves or with socks.

These shoes have enhancements to be able to withstand rough use shoes. They provide excellent traction. They are also lightweight and comfortable. However, they’re expensive compared to regular kinds of shoes.

As for my favorites and recommendations, I absolutely love Hisea Men’s Rain Boots. They are very comfortable even after long hours in any weather, they have superb rain protection, and they are surprisingly durable as well.

They are also available in many colors and in all sizes, so you just can’t go wrong with them.

A Guide to Fishing Clothes for Different Weather Conditions

Here’s a detailed guide for the most suitable clothes to wear to provide you with the best comfort and protection in different weather conditions.

What to Wear When Fishing in Hot Weather?

In hot weather, you need protection from extreme heat and UV rays.

While it can be tempting to take off your clothes in hot weather, it can be very risky as you’ll be more prone to sunburns or sunstrokes.

It’s best to wear light breathable fabrics with wicking properties. They will keep you cool in the hot weather without retaining any moisture if you sweat.

It’s also recommended to cover up as much of your skin as possible by wearing long sleeves to protect yourself from UV rays and reduce the risk of sunburn.

There are some specialized shirts that are made from quick-drying materials and they provide UV protection too.

You need to avoid cotton materials as they retain moisture. You also need to avoid jeans as they’re heavy and can restrict your movement.

Getting wet might cool you down in hot weather, however, try to avoid getting too wet as you might feel do heavy and soggy. It’s recommended to take a spare set of clothes in case you get really soaked.

What to Wear When Fishing in Cold Weather?

In cold weather, it is important to keep yourself warm and avoid getting wet.

It’s highly recommended to wear several layers of clothes. You need a base layer made out of fleece fabric to keep the warmth in and let the sweat out. Base layers are available for both the upper and lower body.

You need a middle layer for additional insulation to keep you warmer. You can wear sweatshirts or hoodies for this purpose. It’s best to avoid wearing wool as it can be bulky when worn with multiple other layers and it can be very heavy if it gets wet.

Finally, need an outer layer made out of waterproof materials to protect the inner layers from getting wet. You can combine a warm jacket that is not waterproof with a thin outer jacket that is waterproof for additional warmth and protection.

If you get wet in cold weather, it will take you a lot longer to dry and you may not dry off at all. That’s why it’s very important to always have a waterproof jacket with you to ensure you remain dry.

What to Wear When Fishing in the Rain?

When fishing in the rain, your priority is to remain as dry as possible.

You need to wear waterproof and windproof jackets made out of PVC or Gore-Tex materials as your upper body will be more exposed to the rain. You also need to wear waterproof pants.

You can wear a base/mid-layer underneath as well if the weather is too cold. You can also wear waders, but it can be very hard to move in them.

There are some specialized dry suits for fishing in the rain that come with matching pants and jackets. These suits are similar to diving wetsuits but they fit more loosely and allow you to wear more layers underneath.

They’re made from durable materials designed to keep you dry and to trap the heat inside. However, they can be very expensive compared to waterproof jackets.

What Accessories Do You Need When Going Fishing?

There are a few accessories that you can wear to protect you in different weather conditions and make your fishing trip a lot more comfortable.

Let’s take a closer look at some of these accessories:

Hats

Wearing a hat on a fishing trip might seem old school, but they do have a purpose as they provide you with protection in different weather conditions.

In cold weather, a hat made from fleece or wool will help keep your head warm since the majority of your body heat is lost through your head. You can also put the waterproof hood of your jacket on top of the hat for extra protection.

In hot weather, a lightweight wide-brimmed hat will protect your head from direct sunlight and help shield your face from UV rays.

Summer hats are designed with a front brim or an all-around brim to provide maximum protection. Some summer hats are also designed with a piece of fabric hanging from the backside to cover your neck.

When choosing a summer hat, you need to make sure the material of the hat is breathable and fast drying.

There are plenty of hats on Amazon to choose from, but the best, may I say by far, is the GearTOP UPF 50+ Wide Brim Sun Hat.

It’s lightweight, comfortable, breathable, and does not let the sun get to your face. It’s also designed to quickly dry when it gets wet and to be easily washable so you can always keep it clean. I have also noticed that mine are still pretty much like new even after a year of rigorous use.

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are an essential accessory on any fishing trip regardless of the temperature. 

They will protect your eyes from harmful UV rays and reduce glare to help you see better. They also protect your eyes from flying hooks.

It’s not recommended to use your everyday sunglasses. The best option is a pair of polarized glasses as they’re designed to fit your face and cover your eyes completely. They’re also static and won’t fall off when you move your head.

You can choose the polarized glasses according to lens color. Grey can be used for all conditions, while yellow and copper are suited for fishing during dawn or dusk. Green is the best when fishing in clear water as it will enhance the contrast.

The ones I’m currently wearing, and the ones I have loved the most so far are the ones from our friends at Kastking. These guys really do know how to do fishing stuff, don’t they?

Anyhow, the Kastking’s fishing sunglasses are very well-made, affordable, and provide real protection to your eyes. They are also impact-resistant and will protect your eyes from flying objects and will not break. They also stay on even when your face is wet or when you do sudden movements and do not fall easily (I’ve tested this, and they really stay without being too grippy or tight).

You can learn more about Kastking and why their stuff is so good for fishing in my guide to are kastking’s reels here.

Facemask

Facemasks are often referred to as “buffs”. They are cheap and highly useful in different conditions.

In the summer, you can use it to cover your face and neck to protect yourself from direct sunlight. Some models are integrated with UV protection. You can also wet and put them on to cool yourself down.

In the winter, you can use it to protect yourself from the wind and cold. Winter facemasks are usually made from thicker materials with fleece parts. They can also protect you from bugs and mosquitos.

My personal favorite face masks are the Ouzy face masks and for easy-to-understand reasons. I can easily breathe through them in any weather, they offer actual protection from the sun, water, and mosquitos.

I also love how many designs are there, you can always find something you like.

If you find them to be unavailable on Amazon, which sometimes happens, you can get the S A face masks instead, they are just as good, but they were not made with fishing in mind as the Ouzy’s made, which is why they are my second choice, but they are still excellent.

Gloves

Gloves are considered heavy equipment so most anglers tend to avoid them, however, they are important for colder seasons.

Full gloves are the best when it comes to thermal protection while fingerless gloves allow more control when casting as they will not limit your finger movement. Fingerless gloves also last longer as full gloves might get worn and torn on the fingers when casting or tying knots.

There are some specialized fishing gloves that are designed slits through which you can put out the tips of your fingers so you can tie knots without having to remove the glove.

High-quality gloves are long enough so you can push them underneath your jacket and they come with enhancements on the fingers to protect the glove from getting torn when casting or tying knots. Some can even be tightened around the wrist to keep water outside.

Gloves are made out of different materials such as neoprene which offers sufficient warmth but it’s not waterproof. Some gloves are double-layered; the inner layer is made out of fleece or wool to provide warmth while the outer layers are made out of waterproof materials such as Gore-Tex.

For Gloves, there really are plenty of good options, but my favorites have lately been the gloves from BIG WORM FISHING. They are super affordable, and for the price, there really aren’t any better-made gloves out there.

Socks

In winter, thick long socks will provide extra thermal insulation under your boots. It’s recommended to go for socks made out of Merino wool as they are the most breathable.

In summer, it’s recommended to go for lighter socks made out of polyester which dries fast. Avoid cotton socks as they aren’t breathable and excessive sweat will make them wet and soggy.

There are some socks designed for fishing with padding on the bottom and above the heel to provide more support and help prevent blisters.

There are plenty of good options on Amazon, and you will need a few pairs to keep you going if you go fishing regularly, so here are my favorites.

Tanzant Breathable men’s socks – Waterproof, comfortable, and very well-made

SuMade Waterproof Socks, Breathable Knee High Cushioned – For the best protection

RANDY SUN Unisex – all-purpose socks that also work great for fishing

Sunscreen

Even if you’re wearing enough protective clothes, the sun might still penetrate through to your skin. That’s why it’s very important to wear sunscreen when you go out fishing.

Sunscreen will protect you from getting burnt and keep your skin feeling comfortable.

When buying sunscreen, it’s recommended to go for a waterproof and sweat-resistant kind with SPF 50 or more. Some sunscreens also contain insect repellents.

It’s also recommended to apply a sufficient layer of sunscreen before you head out on the water and bring extra with you so you can reapply it when needed.

Here are a few good recommendations for excellent sunscreens that work great for fishing:

Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry-Touch Water Resistant and Non-Greasy

EltaMD UV Sport Sunscreen Lotion, Broad-Spectrum SPF 50- for sensitive skins

General Fishing Clothing Tips

Now that you know what to wear in different weather conditions, here are some general tips you can keep in mind when choosing clothes for your next fishing trip:

  • Always have a waterproof layer – No matter what the weather is or are how long it is always good to have one basic light PVC overcoat with you, just in case you need it.
  • Try to layer clothes as much as you can – Wearing multiple layers is useful, especially in colder temperatures. Inner layers provide insulation while outer layers provide protection. It is always better to wear several layers and remove a layer when needed.
  • Always take some spare clothes with you – It’s recommended to have an extra change of clothes, at least inner layers, in case your clothes get too soaked to dry quickly so you stay warm and dry.
  • Always wear sufficient sun protection – You can wear hats and long-sleeved shirts to protect yourself from the sun. It’s also recommended to use waterproof sunscreen that’s SPF 50 or more.
  • Keep your clothes as clean as you can – Fishing can messy. You can always get grease or fish remains on your clothes. So, it’s best to wear clothes that don’t stain and can be washed easily.
  • Go for clothes with multiple pockets – It’s convenient to wear clothes with several pockets as you might need them to keep various tools or for your personal belongings.

Related Questions

Are Women’s Fishing Clothes Different from Men’s?

Women’s fishing clothes are not different from men’s. While there are some brands that design fishing clothes specifically for women, the essential items are the same and can be worn by both genders. It’s highly unadvised for women to wear swimwear or bikinis when going fishing as it will make them uncomfortable and limit their movement.

Is wearing Flip-Flops Suitable for Fishing?

Wearing flip-flops is usually not recommended when fishing, as they can easily come off your feet in the water and their soles will get too slippery when they’re wet. It’s recommended to wear fishing shoes that will stay on your feet such as sandals, rubber boots, or waders.

Do All Shirts Offer Sun Protection?

All shirts offer at least some amount of sun protection. The amount of protection varies depending on the material of the shirt. Some shirts are designed with a built-in SPF factor for maximum protection from the sun. They can be found in most sporting stores.

How Much Sun Protection Do You Need?

There’s a wide range of SPF ratings. Generally, a sunscreen with an SPF rating of 30 to 50 will be sufficient enough to protect your skin from sunburns when you’re out on the water.  It’s usually recommended to apply a thick layer of sunscreen for maximum protection and reapply when needed.

Helpful Resources 

Fishing Safety Tips

Fishing Safety Tips & Safety Gear

Reel It In: Be Prepared for a Successful Fishing Day

Fishing – preventing injury

Where and How to Get Your Fishing License in the US

Ice Fishing Safety Tips

How to handle a tiger Muskie well

These Are The Fishing Lines I Absolutely Love

Reliable Rods You Will Love (and Can Afford)

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