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Reel in the Big One in Complete Comfort: How to Choose the Best Fishing Shirts

Reel in the Big One in Complete Comfort: How to Choose the Best Fishing Shirts

The fish are biting as you cast your line into the shimmering waters under the warm sun. But after hours out on the boat, the sun’s rays start feeling more scorching than soothing. Your back is soaked in sweat and your best lures are snagged on your sleeves. It’s clear your old t-shirt just doesn’t cut it anymore. What avid angler needs is a top-notch fishing shirt designed for functionality and comfort.

The right fishing apparel makes spending long days out on the water infinitely more enjoyable. Fishing shirts offer crucial benefits like sun protection, ventilation, moisture wicking and utility storage. With the dizzying array of options available, it can be tricky to select shirts tailored for your specific needs.

In this comprehensive guide, you’ll learn:

  • The top fishing shirt picks for any situation
  • Matching shirt types to weather, environments and activities
  • Must-have features for optimized comfort and performance
  • Pro tips for maximizing convenience and mobility
  • Caring for fishing shirts to enhance longevity
  • Answers to frequently asked questions

Let’s reel in the knowledge so you can keep your head in the game and your apparel working for you, not against you!

Top 5 Fishing Shirts

Based on extensive evaluation of over a dozen popular fishing shirt models, we recommend these top performers across key categories:

Best Overall: Columbia Tamiami II Long Sleeve

Best Overall: Columbia Tamiami II Long Sleeve
  • Lightweight nylon/polyester blend
  • Omni-Shade UPF 40 sun protection
  • Vents at back yoke and underarms
  • Zip security chest pocket

The Good: Light and airy yet durable. Excellent sun protection. Multiple vents create superior airflow. Great price point.

The Bad: Sizes run somewhat small. Minimal number of storage pockets.

Best For: All-around fishing in warm weather. Good sun protection.

Price: $

Best Cooling: Under Armour Fish Hunter Video Tee

Best Cooling: Under Armour Fish Hunter Video Tee
  • Ultra-light 100% polyester
  • Anti-odor technology prevents stench
  • Mesh underarm & back panel vents
  • Hidden video camera pocket

The Good: Innovative vented mesh design keeps you cool. Unscented odor control handy after long days. Discreet video camera pocket.

The Bad: Thin material risks tears. No UPF rating for sun protection.

Best For: Hot humid summer days. High exertion kayak/wade fishing.

Price: $$

Best Cold Weather: Patagonia SST Jacket

Best Cold Weather: Patagonia SST Jacket
  • 3-layer waterproof polyester microfiber
  • Thermal retention fleece-lined interior
  • Flexible and stretchy for mobility
  • Helmet compatible hood

The Good: Super lightweight yet rugged protection from wind and moisture. Superior warmth from thick fleece lining. Easily layered.

The Bad: Expensive. Overkill in warmer conditions.

Best For: Offshore, cold water, or winter fishing. Conditions requiring waterproofing.

Price: $$$

Best Sun Protection: Baleaf UPF 50+ Long Sleeve

Best Sun Protection: Baleaf UPF 50+ Long Sleeve
  • 100% polyester with UPF 50 sun protection
  • Mesh side panels for ventilation
  • Zippered chest pocket and side pockets
  • Thumbholes to protect hands

The Good: Ultra effective UPF 50 blocks 98% of rays. Mesh paneling prevents overheating. Great storage options.

The Bad: Slim athletic fit may not suit all body types.

Best For: Fishing in tropical or high UV environments. Maximum sun protection needed.

Price: $

Most Versatile: Magreel Quick-Dry Short Sleeve

Most Versatile: Magreel Quick-Dry Short Sleeve
  • 88% polyester, 12% spandex blend
  • UPF 30 protection and anti-odor tech
  • Mesh back yoke and underarm vents
  • Snap down sunglasses holder

The Good: Tough, stretchy, lightweight fabric ideal for mobility. Vents and UPF 30 rating keep you cool. Thoughtful features like sunglasses snap loop.

The Bad: Not thick enough for cold weather. Only one zippered pocket.

Best For: All-around fishing in changing temps. Excellent blend of comfort, performance and utility.

Price: $$

Matching Shirts to Your Fishing Situation

To maximize fishing apparel performance, match shirts to your specific fishing needs:

Hot Weather Fishing Shirts

Look for lightweight, breathable fabrics with mesh ventilation or areas. Moisture wicking material keeps you cool and dry. Prioritize UPF sun protection.

Cold Weather Fishing Shirts

Insulated and heat retaining fabrics like fleece help retain body heat when temps drop. Windproof outer layers block chilling gusts.

Flame Resistant (FR) Fishing Shirts

Required garment for salmon and steelhead drift boat fishing. FR material won’t ignite from hot ash. Provides peace of mind around open flame.

Sun Protective Fishing Shirts

For fishing in intense sun, choose shirts with UPF ratings up to 50+ which block 98% of harmful UV radiation. Prevents painful sunburns.

Insect Repellent Fishing Shirts

Built-in Insect Shield technology infused into the fabric resists biting flies, mosquitoes and gnats so you can fish in comfort.

Must-Have Fishing Shirt Features

Consider these performance features when selecting shirts:

  • Lightweight, breathable fabrics – Allow airflow to keep you cool in warmer conditions.
  • Moisture wicking and quick-dry material – Prevent soggy discomfort from sweat or splashes.
  • UPF sun protection – UPF 50 is ideal for maximum sun blocking. Lower levels still provide added safety.
  • Ventilation – Mesh panels in underarms, sides and back allow air circulation.
  • Utility pockets – Zippered or velcro closure pockets safely hold gear.
  • Insect repellency – Built in Insect Shield treatment makes a big difference in buggy areas.
  • Odor control – Anti-microbial tech prevents smelly bacterial buildup in fabrics.
  • Stretch and mobility – Flexible athletic cuts allow free range of motion for casting, landing fish.
  • Adjustability – Features like roll-up sleeves, cinchable hems, adjustable hoods provide versatility.

Look for shirts combining multiple key features to match your fishing environment.

Optimizing Comfort on the Water

Dial in your fishing shirt performance with these pro tips:

  • Layer properly – Use light moisture-wicking base layers in cool conditions. Shed or add layers as the day warms up or temperatures drop.
  • Maximize ventilation – Unbutton front, roll up sleeves and open vents fully when heating up. This allows airflow to cool you.
  • Protect from sun – Reapply sunscreen through the day. Wear a hat for added coverage.
  • Access essentials easily – Use secure pockets and specialized loops/holders to keep tools and gadgets handy but secure.
  • Prevent snagging – Stow gear properly so it doesn’t catch on limbs and vegetation when wading or paddling.

Fine tune your fishing shirts to amplify comfort, convenience and functionality.

Caring for Your Fishing Shirts

Give your fishing apparel the care it deserves so it lasts season after season:

  • Wash properly – Follow individual garment instructions. Soak in OxiClean to remove stains and odors.
  • Dry thoroughly and quickly – Tumble dry on low or hang dry avoiding direct sun to prevent fading.
  • Treat fabric – Use fabric protectors like Scotchguard to improve water resistance and stain protection.
  • Assess wear and tear – Inspect seams, fabric tears and damaged closures. Retire shirts showing excessive deterioration.
  • Repair when possible – Stitching small holes, replacing lost buttons and patching fraying extends useful life.

With repeated wear and exposure, retire faded, ripped or tattered fishing shirts to keep looking sharp on the water.


How do fishing shirt sizes and fit compare to regular t-shirts?

Fishing shirts often run slightly more generously to allow for layering underneath. Refer to individual sizing charts.

What are some affordable fishing shirt options?

Good budget-friendly brands include Magreel, Baleaf, and Dickies. Look for sales on last season’s styles from premium brands too.

Where can I find fishing shirts designed for women?

Major outdoor brands like Columbia, Under Armour and Patagonia offer specifically designed women’s fishing shirts with adjustments for the female form.

How are fishing shirts different from regular athletic apparel?

Key differences include UPF sun protection, utility storage features, insect resistance and ventilation placed strategically for offshore fishing positions.

What’s the easiest way to repair small holes or tears?

Use angler’s sewing awl to stitch small holes and tears. Apply UV liquid seam sealer on thread to prevent unraveling. Iron-on patches work too.

Gear Up for Fishing Season

Don’t head out to the fishing grounds this season without performance-enhanced fishing apparel! Follow the tips in this guide to select shirts offering crucial protective and convenience features tailored specifically for fishing. Keep comfort a priority by choosing styles perfect for your weather conditions, environment and fishing style. With the right fishing shirts, you can put your focus where it matters – landing that trophy catch!

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