As soon as my wife, Natasha, and I packed our daughter off to her first year of college, we packed our truck with kayaks, rods and tackle and went fishing. I may have lost a daughter, but I’ve gained back a fishing buddy. Of course, keeping my partner hooked required the right gear to make her experience comfortable, fun, and fashionable.
1. 12wt: Five-Panel Hat
$29.99 | www.12wt.com
The fishing cap is probably the most important angling accessory. Not only does it protect your dome from sun, rain, wind and cold, but a lucky fishing hat will also carry an angler’s fortune. I love my 12wt trucker cap with the sun-absorbing black brim for sight fishing. Natasha isn’t a trucker girl, so I picked out the Five-Panel hat, with a breathable cotton cap and same satin black brim. I’ve even caught Natasha wearing it in the garden.
2. Simms: Solarflex Crewneck & Mataura Pant
$89.95, $49.95 | www.simms.com
Style meets substance with Simms’ line of sharp-looking technical apparel. The Solarflex Crewneck features extended sleeves, neck and hem to cover more skin. The material wicks moisture to control body temperature. Paired with the Mataura pant, the combo offers UPF 50 protection with stretchy, quick-dry fabric perfect for pedaling her kayak. The outfit has flat seams and low-profile pockets, so it works great as a mid-layer in the shoulder seasons. Choosing Simms crewneck and pants was easy, picking the color was not.
3 & 4. Kokatat: Hydrus Tempest Pant, Scout Boot
$210, $59 | www.kokatat.com
A dry and comfortable angler is a happy angler. Natasha gets cold in a movie theater, so Kokatat’s Tempest pants will keep her on the water in mild weather. I’ve been wearing the Tempest pant for my entire fishing career. Kokatat cuts no corners with breathable, three-layer Hydrus material and factory-sealed seams.
The Tempest stays dry and warm for years of hard use. Designed with more material in the butt and legs, the Tempest doesn’t bunch or stretch when I sit down or stand. I paired the Tempest pants with Scout boots. The vulcanized rubber sole with heel and toe protection covers a three-millimeter neoprene booty.
5. NRS: Shenook
$119.95 | www.nrs.com
My wife wears her life jacket like a security blanket. To keep her comfortable and safe, I picked out the NRS Shenook fishing PFD. The Shenook is cut and styled to fit a female paddler with the features required by any angler. Articulated, plush foam molds to fit the wearer. I like the fold-down pockets, they’re easy to access from the top and double as a rigging shelf. Six straps dial in the fit.
6. Costa del Mar: Inlet
$259 | www.costadelmar.com
Rigging up my wife for fishing started with a stop at our local outfitter, Oceans East Bait and Tackle. They have nearly every sunglass model available and Natasha picked out the Costa del Mar Inlet frames. I hope to share the excitement of sight casting, so I recommended the 580 glass lenses in copper. Glass lenses are scratch resistant and crystal clear; Costa’s 580 glass is thinner and 20-percent lighter than similar shades. Natasha liked the large Inlet frames, I liked the wrap around protection, giving her the best chance to spot a redfish scooting across the flats.
7. SealLine: Seal Pak Hip Pack
$39.96 | www.seallinegear.com
Fanny packs are making a comeback. The utilitarian, belt gear bag is too practical to stay dorky for long. SealLine takes the fanny pack to the water. Their new Hip Pack is a roll-top drybag on a belt. Welded seams keep the contents dry and PVC-free material is environmentally friendlier. The bag can be worn on a removable belt, or a shoulder strap. Perfect size for keys, smartphone and wallet. The Seal Pak makes it easy to keep your gear near.
Cool, comfortable and capable technical clothing designed for women | Featured photo: Ric Burnley