Fishing and hunting under that lethal ball of fire in the sky

When I was 30 years old, someone age 60 seemed like an old person to me. Now I’m 60 and while I have a few more aches and pains, I still feel pretty good. Sure, there are signs I’ve aged. My friends don’t talk about their crazy weekends anymore. We talk more about what quit working on their body. While I like to joke about us baby boomers becoming baby bitchers – because all we do is whine about what’s ailing us – here’s one topic where we can help younger folks: the sun.

It seems like every week one of my buddies has some form of skin cancer removed, so here's a warning for both the young and the old. If you are in your later years, book a trip to the dermatologist to discover what might be lurking on your skin. As for you younger outdoor enthusiasts, cover up.

Sunscreen has never been my first option for sun protection as an angler. I used to visit to Berkley's fishing labs in Spirit Lake, Iowa, and while there, I learned fish hate certain substances. If you get these substances on your tackle or baits, the fish won’t touch them. The worst is DEET, which we need for running off bugs. The second worst was sunscreen. I have seen this reality many times fishing where someone in the boat will slather on some sunscreen, then be the only angler not catching fish.

After realizing this I started wearing the lightweight long-sleeved fishing shirts on the water. I switched to full-brimmed hats and wore long pants. I still took on too much sun in uncovered spots, especially my nose.

Fortunately in the past several years, new options have appeared. I now wear a lightweight short-sleeved shirt with arm covers that are very thin yet block the sun. There are masks that cover your entire face and head, so now I can wear the baseball-style cap. I have gloves designed for fishing. Add good sunglasses, and no part of me is exposed to the sun’s hard rays. I’m going to include some links here for some of my favorite, sun-shielding products.

SA Company has some wild looking face shields but young people enjoy them, so I’m seeing these masks everywhere. I have a bunch and bring them out on less busy lakes so as not to scare other boaters. I’d add that when I’m wearing an SA face shield, I seldom have other boats pull up on me.

Breath Like a Fish has some great masks that are vented at the mouth so your glasses are less likely to fog in humid conditions.

Sleefs has amazing arm sleeves and SA Company has some nice arm sleeves, too. I really like the patterned sleeves so I can now wear light short-sleeves shirts when on the water.

Tailin Toads has the best fishing gloves. I’ve tried a bunch, and they don’t end up grabbing hooks and getting stuck on crankbaits. This website also has face shields and shirts as well.

These are just a few. I’m sure there are plenty more. The bottom line is protect yourself. It doesn’t matter if you are 30 years old and only see me as some old guy who likes to fish first and whine about my age spots second. My years have given me wisdom, so listen up: Protect yourself.

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