By Dan Carns
Kayak fishing in the summer can be very productive and enjoyable but requires some preplanning and precaution. Imagine sitting in a beach chair on Fort Myers beach for four to six hours in your bathing suit, without getting up, without an umbrella and without a bunch of cold water to drink. The sun would fry you to a crisp! You get the idea, so here are a few suggestions to make your time on the water better.
I wear SPF fast dry pants and SPF long sleeve shirts that cover my legs and my upper body to shield the sun from my skin. Before leaving the house, apply sunscreen on the tops of your hands and face and give it time to work into your skin, and you can wash the palms of your hands with soap and water. Remember fish use their noses to hone in on bait and if you transfer sunscreen or bug spray onto your line and lures, the fish will smell the chemicals and turn away. Do not use spray sunscreen in your kayak as it contaminates everything or you may as well skip the fishing part!
Next layer of protection is to get a goofy, floppy hat to block the sun from your head, face and those very tender ear tips. Also consider wearing a neck buff to cover the sides and back of your neck, some folks use the buff for full face and head protection. Finally, we get to the sunglasses, remember you’re sitting inches from the water and not only is the sun shining directly at you but bouncing off the water and getting at you from underneath! You should really invest in a decent pair of polarized sunglasses for two reasons, number one the polarized feature allows you to see through the glare on the water, thereby seeing and catching more fish. Second, the cheap ones trick your eyes into thinking they are well protected, dilating your pupils fully letting the harmful rays of the sun in!
Staying hydrated may be the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself from the heat. I carry frozen water bottles with me that may take hours to thaw, insuring that I have a cold water supply. And here is my solution to staying hydrated, drink a whole bottle at the launch or prior to arrival. Don’t simply take a couple of swigs from the next one, drink the whole bottle or at least half a bottle intentionally, as a way of insuring that you have enough water, otherwise you may become dehydrated. Continue drinking this way till you’re off the water. Consider that you and the fish will be very hot by 11 a.m., so start early when it’s cool and comfortable.