Courtesy Costa del Mar
Costa del Mar’s Rafael sunglasses are made of biomaterial that reduces plastic waste without sacrificing comfort or performance.

Kayak anglers are exposed to the elements and tough on gear. We need technical clothing that will go the distance for comfort and safety.

We discovered five gems at the 2016 ICAST that paddle anglers must have.

Costa del Mar’s Rafael sunglasses won Best Eyewear at the 2016 ICAST Best in Show awards.

Not because the shades look good, they do. Not because Costa’s lenses perform flawlessly, they do. But because Costa has eliminated traditional nylon plastic and replaced it with a bio plastic that is made from from the castor plant. We met with Heather Trotter at the Costa booth and she showed us the full line-up of new sunglasses with this technology. As a leader in performance sunglasses and conservation, Costa del Mar has kicked off a movement to reduce plastic waste in production and packaging. “We even replaced all the plastic bottle soda machines at the office with cans,” she laughed. The biomaterial is actually lighter and tougher than traditional plastic without adding to the price. They’ve used the material in the newest line of sunglasses designed with fishing-specific features that keep the shades comfortable. The Rafael model leads the series with agressive desigh that blocks out sun from entering the sides of the lenses. I love the vented frames that keep the shades from fogging up, especially when I’m wearing a neck gator. And the glass or plastic lenses can’t be beat for sun protection and glare reduction. The best sunglasses on the market just got better, and environmentally responsible.

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Everyone has a Buff neck gator.

The breathable, neck and face cover keeps out sun and wind in the open kayak. Now Buff has introduced a great new line of fishing hats. Marketing manager Matt Crawford showed off the new caps at ICAST 2016. A good fishing hat is more than a cool cap, it keeps us cool, shaded and helps to reduce sun glare. Buff’s new five and six panel hats start with eye popping, fish-inspired designs from artists DeYoung and Bugslinger. But beauty is more than skin deep. The brim has a dark underside to reduce glare. The band is designed to soak up sweat and stay tight on the anglers head even in wind and spray. Mesh in the back keeps air flowing while foam front shades the dome. Both models are an adjustable snap-back design.

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At last summers Outdoor Retailer tradeshow, Columbia introduced thier ground-breaking Outdry material that stays dry inside while wicking moisture outside without a spray-on coating that can wash and wear off. At this summer’s ICAST show, we were stoked to see the material used in their line of water shoes. Kayak angler’s feet are constantly under attack from hooks, fish spines and teeth and sharp rocks or shells. These running-shoe inspried Force 12 water shoes come in models with or without Outdry material in the upper that breathes, keeps feet dry and resists stains. The shoes feature famous Vibram soles that are molded and sipped to stick to wet surfaces withou leaving a mark. The soles are channeled to drain water and dry fast. Wear these shoes in the kayak to keep your dogs safe and dry.

Columbia shoe


UnderArmour is famous for athlete-tested gear that is tough enough to survive the pros.

Their latest offering, CoolSwitch fabric, has been keeping top-level athletes cool and dry. The material wicks moisture to keep skin cooler and allow anglers to fish longer. UnderArmour even performed double blind tests to prove that CoolSwitch performs better than other breathable fabrics. Marketing director, Heather Miller showed us the CoolSwitch line at the ICAST Show. Under the touch, the material feels cool and soft like silk. It is stretchy and light to resist getting clammy in heat and humidity. They gave the line a loose fit to encourage ventilation and air flow. We like the fishing shirt with integrated sun hood and neck gator for $99 and the Thermocline shirt for $54.99.



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“Thank God my dad wasn’t a podiatrist,” jokes Ric about following in the footsteps of a famous outdoor writer. After graduating from Radford University and serving two years in Russia with the Peace Corps, Ric returned to Virginia Beach and started writing for The Fisherman magazine, where his dad was editor. When the kayak fishing scene exploded, Ric was among the first to get onboard. His 2007 book, The Complete Kayak Fisherman is one of the first tomes to introduce anglers to paddle fishing and hundreds of articles and seminars have brought countless anglers into the fold. When he’s not chasing every fish that swims, Ric teaches English at a school for at-risk teens.


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