Performance Fishing Clothes That Look Good On And Off The Water

Buyer’s Guide | Kayak Angler

After 20 years of marriage, every day isn’t necessarily an adventure. But my wife Natasha and I try to find the adventure in every day. We love to enjoy an afternoon on the water followed by a night on the town. Recently, Natasha and I spent an evening fishing the marshes and flats of Lynnhaven River in Virginia Beach, then we paddled to Dockside Restaurant for a waterfront dinner. Hitting the fish before we hit the town challenged Natasha and me to find clothes capable of both duties. So, we tapped makers of our favorite fishing duds for some more casual threads.

[This article is part of The Kayak Angler Buyer’s Guide for The Best Kayak Fishing Gear For 2021. Find all the best kayak fishing gear from the top brands for all situations.]

A couple wears casual fishing clothes
Fish all day, party all night. | Photo: Zach Lannon

12wt | Low Key Polo

I have been wearing 12wt’s high-quality fishing shirts and my favorite Trucker Hat since the company hit the water. Now, 12wt added a cotton line to their performance menu. The Low Key Polo is constructed of specially prepared cotton giving it a textured feel. The light weave is breathable and cool for fishing in the sun or sunset on the porch. Out of the box, the shirt is soft to feel like I’ve worn it for years. Details like natural horn buttons and a vented hem ensure the shirt will be a favorite for years.

$49 | 12wt.com

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Columbia | PFG Force XII Pant

Just because Columbia clothes are on the racks at big box stores, doesn’t mean they aren’t serious technical gear. Combining decades of experience with cutting edge technology, Columbia’s PFG Force XII are high-function guide wear with cool features. Starting with Omni Shade UPF 50 sun protection, the pants also boast Omni-Shield Blood ‘n Guts advanced repellency to stay clean when fishing gets dirty. I can land a slimy speckled trout in my lap and then walk into the café with my head held high. I like the low-profile, zippered back pockets and belt loops for sitting in a kayak and the flap-covered side pocket secures my phone. The pockets use a fine mesh to drain water without snagging my keys. Columbia’s Force XII pants are light and breathable yet crisp and clean, just how I like to look.

$100 | columbia.com

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Soft Science | Tradewinds Slip On

Water shoes are more difficult to choose than loafers. Not only do water shoes have to drain and dry, but they must provide non-slip traction and shock absorption. And then there’s the smell. To kill bacteria, a good pair of water shoes will be easy to keep clean. Soft Science has developed Trileon, a soft and light co-polymer serving as the base for its line of performance and casual shoes. The Tradewinds Slip-on uses a breathable, slightly stretchy mesh upper that dries quickly while water drains through vents in the sole. The Trileon material is super shock absorbent, making the shoes comfortable for standup fishing.

$29.99 | softscience.co.nz

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NRS | Long-Sleeve Guide Shirt

Casual fishing shirt from NRS

My wife won’t go anywhere without lipstick, so combining a day on the water with an evening at a restaurant requires an outfit that will look good. Natasha picked out NRS Long Sleeve Guide Shirt for our date. The nylon/polyester blend is soft and quick drying with stretchy, breathable H2Core silk-weight panels under the arms. All day in the sun, the UPF50 fabric protects skin. Then, after dark, roll up the sleeves for serious fun. Articulated sleeves and a narrow cut encourage the Guide Shirt to fit perfectly.

$79 | nrs.com

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Patagonia | Baggies

Patagonia calls their Baggies, “Life’s shorts” and that’s how Natasha treats them. After picking up the lightweight, loose-fitting, quick-drying shorts for the beach, she now wears them everywhere. An elastic band and drawstring keep the shorts in place, while mesh-lined pockets drain water and dry quickly. The shorts are made of recycled nylon with a DWR, durable, water-repellant finish. The five-inch inseam is perfect for pedaling a kayak or walking downtown.

$55 | patagonia.com

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Astral | Hemp Porter 2.0

SFishing shoe from Astraloft, lightweight and tough, hemp is used for
everything from sails to rope and now shoes. Astral’s Hemp Porter 2.0 deck shoe uses a 70-percent hemp and 30-percent recycled polyester upper to stay comfortable even when wet. Hemp is also naturally anti-microbial to kill stinky and itchy bacteria. The Flex Grip sole is razor sipped with 3mm lugs to stay stuck on slick surfaces. Holes in the toe and heel drain water. Natasha wears the easy-to-slip-on Porter 2.0 from the water to the sidewalk.

$100 | Astraldesigns.com

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Fish all day, party all night. | Photo: Zach Lannon