Clothes maketh the man…clothes maketh the angler!

In William Shakespeare’s Hamlet, the character Polonius likes to give his son advice on how he should live his life. “So, what’s new?” I can hear you all groan! Polonius dispenses this fatherly wisdom by way of smug, holier-than-thou maxims. One of his more enduring is “Clothes maketh the man”.

You are no doubt saying to yourself “what in the name of Shakespeare has this got to do with fishing?” It has everything to do with fishing!

I am an adventurous soul and am generally up for anything, especially when a trip to a new water or chasing after a new species is the deal. In my early angling adventures, I travelled to many far-flung places, often arriving at my destination totally ill-equipped for the prevailing conditions and ended up having to endure a week, sometimes a fortnight, of clammy, humid, tropical weather, wearing clothes more suited to the mild weather of Ireland, instead of the demands of a fishing trip to an exotic, sweltering land. Slowly the penny dropped and cotton Ts, cotton underpants, flannel shirts, denims and other unsuitable garb were all given the elbow and replaced with specialist clothing made from hi-tech, man-made materials.  The era of ‘Cool Al’ had arrived!

I like to fish hard and never more so than when I am on a fishing trip. On a long haul trip, I know my time is limited and so I want to spend as much time on the water as possible. Denis is exactly the same and we will regularly do 12 hour days in the boat, often casting for 9 of those 12 hours. Working large top-water lures like Woodchoppers or 10 inch glide baits in temperatures north of 100 degrees Fahrenheit accompanied by 80%+ humidity is tough going to say the least.  It is when you are exposed to these very trying conditions that you feel the benefits of wearing the right type of clothing.

I wear long-sleeved, well vented, airy shirts with an SPF of 50 and long pants made from 100% lightweight, breathable fabric like polyester.

When it comes to underwear, I cannot emphasise enough the difference a pair of polyester shorts make to your ability to tolerate such adverse conditions and more importantly, one’s overall comfort levels and sense of coping with the worst that these tropical conditions can throw at you. Extreme humidity makes the least activity very draining and uncomfortable and at its worst, can lead to serious chafing of one’s nether regions. This latter affliction I urge you avoid at all cost, having first-hand experience of wearing cotton shorts in tropical, coastal Kenya where the seasonal humidity that accompanies the rains makes any activity unbearable most of the time. Polyester, quick-drying shorts are one of man’s great innovations, aaaah sheer bliss!

A couple of years ago, Denis introduced me to Glacier sun gloves which I now wear as part of my fishing uniform. My Glacier sun gloves are made of lycra and are extremely comfortable to wear. They dry out very quickly, which is an important consideration for us fishing folk but most important of all, they provide an SPF of 50+ for your hands which for me at least is a serious consideration. In recent times I had a very aggressive malignant melanoma removed and four other skin cancers successfully excised. I strongly urge all anglers to consider buying sun gloves as the protection that these superb products give to the otherwise exposed, delicate skin on the back of the hand and fingers is really important. My GP happens to be a skin specialist and he advocates that anyone participating in activities such as fishing, cycling, sailing etc that exposes the hands for long periods to the sun’s harmful rays should wear sun gloves.  I consider them an absolute ‘must wear’ now that I am somewhat knowledgeable about the damaging effects of UVA and UVB rays. Jeeze, when I think back to the countless times when the back of my hands were well and truly burnt from long hours throwing lures, I shudder now at my stupidity. Another major plus point when wearing sun gloves is that you do not need to put sun screen on your hands anymore. Sunscreen on my hands always makes holding the reel handle difficult and you run the risk of getting the perfumed sun lotion on lures and the business end of the leader. It really is a no-brainer!

So when Polonius said the immortal words “Clothes maketh the man”, I have to laugh and think he would have been better to say “clothes maketh the angler!”

Switch on Sportsman Channel and catch Denis and myself on Wild Fish Wild Places as we go on another wild adventure in search of great predatory fish.

We will put you in the hearts and minds of people who live to fish and people who fish to live.

AIR TIMES: Eastern
Sunday 1:30 AM
Monday 12:00 PM
Thursday 5:00 PM
Saturday 10:30 PM

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