Are you protected from the sun?

My career within the fishing community brings me around anglers of all ages and one of the things that I notice when I get I’m around some of the older anglers who have been fishing for decades is they are often quick to dish out advice on protecting yourself from the sun. Many of these anglers have seen the negative effects that the sun can have. They have either lived to talk about it or have had serious warnings from their doctors that they need to take better care of themselves.

We all know friends or family who have been affected by cancer; it’s no good. Skin cancer from overexposure to the sun is a real thing and while it might be easier to deal with than other forms of cancer, it is not something that anybody wants to mess around with. Obviously, skin cancer is the worst end result but repeated sunburning and overexposure can also age your skin more rapidly and cause discolouration in your skin.

Sun protection is an important consideration for all anglers today. Jeff Gustafson wears a sun hoody and protective gloves most days on the water. – Submitted photo

For those of us who enjoy being in the outdoors, particularly those who spend a lot of time in a boat, sun exposure is hard to avoid. Fortunately there are ways to protect yourself and if you aren’t thinking about it now, maybe it’s time that you should. Aside from your skin you should also consider protecting your eyes with sunglasses. In my boat, sunglasses are mandatory equipment for everybody because of the risk of lures flying around, in addition to the protection that they provide from the sun.

Before heading out on the water, we should all be in the habit of applying some sort of sunscreen. If I’m going out for a long day I like to apply sunscreen to my face before I even leave the house, then try to do it at least a couple of times throughout the day. One of the hotspots where several of my fishing friends have had spots removed is the area around the top of the cheeks, just below your sunglasses and on the nose. Hit these areas thoroughly. When purchasing sunscreen, most experts recommend using at least a 30 SPF product for solid protection.

Over the last few years there has been a big trend, especially amongst anglers, in wearing sun protective clothing. I seldom go in the boat anymore without a light “sun hoody”, a light shirt with a hood that I can wear while I’m fishing. In addition to the protection of my head, the hood also helps keep light out of my glasses, allowing me to see better on the water. Simms, one of my sponsors actually has sun protective clothing for pretty much the entire body, as do several other fishing apparel companies and it is all helpful.

The hands are the next hotspot that get the most direct hit from the sun. When you are holding a fishing rod you are basically holding your hands out there to take a direct hit. I know some long time anglers who have had spots removed from their hands to confirm this. There are now “sun gloves” available that are very light and have the finger tips removed that protect the tops of your hands from sunburn. These gloves are tight fitting and take very little getting used to. You can still tie your lures on, bait hooks and do whatever you normally do while wearing them. I wear them regularly now on bright days.

Apply the sunscreen liberally guys; sunburns are no joke. Don’t wait until it too late to start taking sun protection seriously.