Chicken Little, climate change, the apocalypse—call it what you want, the weather isn’t getting any nicer or any more predictable. Luckily, the latest generation of foul weather fishing gear uses the most advanced materials and designs to keep anglers comfy in the worst conditions. We’re wearing waterproof, windproof and sunproof clothes that still look cool. We may not be able to do anything about the weather, but we can now dress for it.
Best Foul Weather Fishing Gear
$75 | columbia.com
To win a place on my feet, a water shoe must meet three requirements: dry fast, stick tight and smell nice. Like the other fishing shoes in Columbia’s PFG line, the Tamiami excels in all categories. The hybrid water shoe looks like a jogging sneaker with a narrow toe and cushiony midsole. To dry quickly, Tamiami combines a quick-draining midsole with a water and stain-resistant mesh upper. A removable insert and quick-dry design reduce stinky bacteria. I like the larger lugs on the sole because they don’t track dirt into the kayak. Best of all, a large loop at the back of the shoe makes it easy to slide on the Tamiami, even when they are damp.
Cornerstone Trucker Hat
After beating the life out of my last 12wt cap, I replaced it with the new Cornerstone Trucker Hat. What looks like a classic trucker, is actually one of my most important pieces of gear. First, the cap is deep to stay put in a windstorm. The clasp in the back is low profile and micro adjustable. I pull it tight on blow days and loosen it up when the sun is blaring. To keep sweat out of my eyes, the 12wt has a moisture wicking headband. Not only does the Cornerstone’s brim block sun from above, but the optic black felt under the brim absorbs glare from below. My last 12wt hat fished hard until the day I replaced it with my new Cornerstone. Can’t wait to see where this lucky fishing hat takes me.
Solmar UV Gloves
$29 | aftco.com
Time for me to confess. I’m an advocate for sun protection, but I hate slippery and sticky sun lotion. Instead, I cover every inch of skin with sun-resistant clothing. This year I added a pair of AFTCO Solmar UV Gloves to my wardrobe. The backs are made of AFBlock 50, which stops 98 percent of UV rays. Padded palms covered with soft, synthetic leather are grippy without reducing sensitivity. With three-quarter length fingers, I can tie knots and pick a swivel out of the tackle tray.
$139 | mustangsurvival.com
When I’m fishing farther from shore than I can swim, I use a foam life vest, but on quick trips in sheltered water trips I grab Mustang Survival’s M.I.T. 100 inflatable. An inflatable life vest is light, cool and low profile. For quick grab and go trips on sheltered water, the M.I.T. 100 is my favorite warm-weather life vest. Unlike other inflatable life jackets, the M.I.T.’s nylon face fabric is softer and easier to wear. The hood doesn’t rub my neck and the straps are wide and one-size-fits-all. With 25 pounds of flotation, the M.I.T. is more buoyant than most foam life vests. Best of all, the M.I.T. 100 is designed to float the wearer face up.
Bug Out Backpack
$189 | orvis.com
Hiking backpacks aren’t tough enough for fishing and fishing backpacks rarely hike well. Orvis recognized my needs with the Bug Out Backpack. The 25-liter daypack is made of Eco Cordura, a recycled material tough enough to survive in a kayak. Chest and waist straps along with a ventilated back make the backpack trail ready. Two features set the Bug Out apart. First, the bottle holder on the outside transforms into a rod-tube holder. Second, I can enter the bag through an opening in the top or from the side. When I need my sinkers at the bottom of the bag, I don’t have to dig through my other gear. Not only is the Bug Out full of my fishing gear, its full of smart features for any angler on the go.
$135 | flylowgear.com
My biggest discovery this fishing season is FlyLow’s Davis Jacket. The perfect balance between a sun shirt and a sweatshirt, the Davis offers wind and water resistance in a thin shell. The Intuitive S/G Lite fabric stretches for an easy fit and wide range of movement. Long sleeves with light elastic cuffs stay in place. I wear the jacket on cold mornings and gusty afternoons. When the temperature drops, the Davis fits under my heavier shell. When I don’t need it, the Davis packs into its chest pocket.
$20.99 | seirus.com
In my gear bag, I have a dozen neck gaiters in every color and shape. The versatile garment serves as a face-covering, beanie and headband. Not only does the gaiter protect from the sun, but it protects my face from wind and holds heat in my jacket. I even wear a neck gaiter at night to reduce glare. This year, I’ve been testing out Seirus LiteWave50 neck gaiter. The soft, cotton-like fabric is rated UPF 50 for complete sun block. The fabric is quick drying, wicks moisture and releases heat to stay comfortable in any season. The LiteWave50 is light and stretchy, and it stays in place without suffocating me, earning a place at the top of my neck gaiter rotation.
$259 | smithoptics.com
With all of the premium sunglass brands on the water, some of the best anglers have started using Smith. A large part of the appeal is Smith’s scratch, smudge and moisture resistant Techlite lenses. Not only do they come in the most popular colors for fishing, but ChromaPop polarization enhances target separation and clarity, making colors contrast. The frame features wide arms and large lenses to block out the sun while permitting airflow. If you’re not wearing Smith glasses, you should see what you’re missing.
River Run Hoodie
$129 | voormi.com
After years suffering with clammy and sticky sun shirts, I decided to go a different direction. I’ve always been a fan of wool and not just for winter socks. In addition to wool’s unmatched insulation, the miracle fabric is also odor resistant and moisture wicking. Voormi’s unique Dual Surface UL merino wool moves moisture away from the skin where it can evaporate on the surface. A loose-fitting hood and sleeves with thumb holes stretch the River Run’s sun protection from head to hands. On the hottest, muggiest days, the River Run stays cool and dries fast. Best of all, it feels like a cotton T-shirt and still has the UV protection of the best synthetic sun shirts.
This article was first published in Kayak Angler Issue 45. Subscribe to Kayak Angler and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos.
This foul weather fishing gear is the best protection from heat, sun and rain. | Feature photo: Roberto Westbrook