Capt. Pete Rapps
Many flats fishermen have their boats set up for efficient casting. This involves minimizing items in the boat that can create obstacles and snags. Most of us fishing out of flats boats do not have bimini tops or T-tops for this reason. Because of this, there is no shade or any way to duck out of the direct sun. We have to dress properly to stay cool and prevent sun exposure.
Out on the water, we have sun baking us from two directions. The most obvious is from above, but few think about reflection. The reflection from the water and the white deck of a boat can be equally as strong as directly from the sun. It is imperative to completely cover up if you want to beat the heat.
Many of us are wearing “Buffs” which are thin tube-shaped sun gear made for your neck, face and head. They are made from a light weight, quick-dry wicking material that offers UV protection from the sun. If you are not sure what they are, you have probably seen fishermen wearing them and wondered why they looked like a bandit. Silly as they may look, they work great!
Wear light colored and light weight clothing. Have you ever worn a black or dark colored shirt in the sun? You heat up real fast, right? I personally wear long pants, long sleeves and a wide rimmed hat all year round, especially in the summer. People ask me, “aren’t you hot wearing all of that?” Truth be told, I am a lot cooler in the sun than you are in a tank top and shorts. This is why… As the sun bakes on you, it heats up your skin which holds the heat. Wearing light weight breathable clothing shades your skin not only from the damaging sun, but also from the direct heat it creates. Columbia makes afantastic line of clothing made for our extreme summer heat that actually keeps your body cool. Yes, you will still sweat, but that sweat is what keeps your body temperature cool as it evaporates. Without protection, The direct sun on your skin will dry out your perspiration before it has time to do what mother nature created it for.
If you can, break up your day and get out of the sun during the middle of the day. What I mean is that we all know it’s going to be brutally hot by noon. Many of the fish feel this heat too and will stop feeding at the peak heat of the day. Your best bite will be early morning until about noon if you are lucky. We also know that the summer afternoon rains are going to occur which will cool things down a bit. The fish feel this too and will begin to feed again late afternoon into the evening. With this in mind, make a plan to get out fishing early, maybe from 7 to 11 a.m. Plan on getting off the water by noon so you can swim, eat, nap and cool off. Then get back out on the water after our late day showers for some fantastic late day action.
Drink a lot of water! It is also imperative to remain hydrated before, during and after a day on the water. Hydration must occur on an ongoing basis, not just when you are feeling thirsty. Drink water before heading out. Be sure to pack a cooler with lots of ice and be sure to drink at least 12 to 16 ounces of cool water for each half hour. It may sound like a lot to some, but drinking that much water is necessary for your body. If properly hydrated, you will not feel as exhausted after your day in the heat. Avoid alcoholic beverages, as this will dehydrate you even more!