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Written by Gary Lacey on July 14, 2021

More comfort on the water automatically leads to more fun and more catches. Take away sun burn, wind burn, insect bites, sweating and being cold, and any angler is going to have a better day of fishing. While no one piece of fishing gear is going to completely eliminate all of those discomforts, the one that will do the most to maximize comfort on the water is a performance fishing shirt. Anyone who takes fishing and kayaking seriously must own at the very least one or two - like Vibe's own high-quality, pro-level performance fishing shirts – and there are a ton of reasons why.

Performance fishing shirts have evolved in design and technology from vented, cotton shirts towards materials and fabrications that feature improved synthetic technology which deliver better sweat wicking and temperature regulation like Vibe's 100% polyester weaves and 40 UPF sun-protection.

Sun Protection

Sun protection performance fishing shirts have only recently begun to catch on with freshwater anglers everywhere, but they have been popular in saltwater fishing for well over a decade. And yet, this critically important angler item is often misunderstood because people do not fully understand WHY a long-sleeved performance shirt can not only keep you cool and drastically decrease an angler's chance of getting skin cancer. It will keep you fishing longer during the day, and longer over the course of your lifetime.

Sun protection - whether from lotion or fabric – is rated by "UPF". UPF stands for Ultraviolet Protection Factor. It is the measurement of ultraviolet light that reaches your skin when wearing any kind of sun protection from a particular garment, lotion or something else. A UPF rating of 40 - which is what all of Vibe's performance fishing shirts are rated - means that 1/40th or just over 2% of the sun’s rays will reach your skin. Another way of looking at it is that a 40 UPF means about 98% of the sun’s rays will be blocked - which means incredible protection against skin cancer.

Sun protection while fishing is far more important than with many other outdoor activities. That’s because whether you're on the deck of your fishing kayak in the ocean or river, or on your bass boat at your local lake, it’s tough to keep out of the sun. Also, the common denominator in all fishing environments is water. Water reflects the sun’s rays, so you are bombarded not only directly by the sun, but off the water as well.

Colors Can Make a Difference

A darker color will typically provide better sun protection because the die in the thread during the shirt's manufacturing helps expand the diameter of the thread and therefore reduce the size of the microscopic holes between the threads when a shirt is weaved. The tradeoff is that darker colors tend to trap more heat than lighter colors so the slight advantage you gain in sun protection may be overcome by not being as cool in a darker shirt. So choice between a darker color or a lighter color is more a matter of personal preference, because what's more important is what the performance fishing shirt is made of - cotton versus a synthetic fabric like polyester.

Cotton vs. Synthetic Fabric

Years ago, cotton T-shirts were the main shirts worn by anglers to protect themselves from the sun and to stay cool. Today, cotton isn't something you'd ideally want to wear because it soaks up sweat rather than "wicks" it, doesn't keep you as cool or warm as polyester, and doesn't prevent sunburn nearly as well as synthetic fabrics.

Wicking is the transfer of moisture to the fabric surface and the disposition across the surface to help it evaporate. Cotton sucks moisture extremely well but does a poor job of letting it go. Synthetic fabrics like polyester not only provide additional sun protection over cotton, but the bigger improvement of synthetic materials over cotton is the comfort they offer by keeping anglers cooler, and they dry quickly, drawing moisture away from your skin to help you not only feel, but keep cooler.

As an angler, you need to both protect yourself from the sun and keep yourself comfortable and cool. Modern day performance sun protection fishing shirts do just that. Find one that works for you, stay covered, stay cool!