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How To Dress For Kayak Fishing In All Water And Weather

There are hundreds of different types of kayak fishing clothing made by NRS, Stohlquist and Kokatat and you can spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars on different types of attire. However, you don't need to as long as you have some kind of athletic clothing at your home. That's pretty much all you need with the exception of a couple of items. I don't spend too much money on my gear and I'm not going to spend a lot of money on the clothing that I wear for fishing either.

I want to talk about how to dress for kayaking in different types of water and weather. One of the most popular questions that I get asked is “What do I wear when I go fishing?” Some of you guys might know that I wear a wetsuit instead of a drysuit out in the ocean but people are also curious how I layer them and what I wear during the summertime in freshwater and the winter time in freshwater. So I will share our entire lineup of my kayak fishing attire.

What Not To Wear

For the base layer or outerwear- stay away from cotton. Cotton is the worst that you can wear for kayak fishing because, especially during the wintertime, once it gets wet, it will just suck up your body heat. So cotton is no-go.

Base Layers

With that said let's get into base layers. So for underwear my choice is an athletic, fast wicking, non cotton piece. Preferably polyester, nylon and some spandex in it. And for a top I think a polyester and nylon long sleeve compression shirt is the best. So this is what I wear on top all year long in all different types of water. During the summer it gives you UV protection. The synthetic materials are really good for UV protection, especially the darker color you go you get more protection. I personally hate wearing sunscreen on my face, on my arms and on my legs so I wear a long sleeve all the time. So in the summertime it's good for UV protection and in the winter time and in the colder months it actually gives you warmth as well. Even when it gets wet, it will still keep you warm, unlike cotton, but not as warm as you are completely dry. Even after you get wet it still gives you warmth.

Warm Weather - Salt Water

So let's start with the salt water in the bay or the ocean. I wear the NRS farmer John 3.0 wetsuit and I recently did a review video on this please check it out. I basically wear this underneath my Jersey but on top of my base layer. And for the feet I wear a three millimeter neoprene bootie.

Cool Weather - Salt Water

If the temperature drops a little bit, especially like in the early morning or late at night late in the evening, I basically put on a heavy fleece. I wear a polyester jacket that I got from Costco by 32 Degree and I paid like $20 for it and I absolutely love this thing. It’s got the fleece and it’s all polyester so even if it gets wet it keeps you really warm and yet it is breathable. This is usually what I wear when the weather temperature is slightly low. I simply wear this over my warm water set up.

Cold Weather - Salt Water

So when the weather gets really cold during the winter months, especially when I'm out in San Pablo Bay for sturgeon fishing when I’m still and not moving around, you’ll want some extra layers. On super cold days I wear a compression pant underneath my wetsuit instead of my underwear. Then of course I wear my fleece and I also wear my paddling jacket. I use an NRS Rio. If you don’t have a paddling jacket you can always wear a rain jacket. As for the paddling pants I wear the NRS Endurance paddling pants. Also, again you can substitute this with rain pants. For my feet I add an extra layer with a three millimeter neoprene sock. The ones I use I got on Amazon for like $10 and they will last you about a year or two and then I wear my booties over top of them.

Hot Days - Fresh Water

So let's get it to freshwater. In the salt water out on the ocean or in the bay I dress for immersion and guess what? I dress for immersion when I'm in the freshwater as well. So during the hot days I wear my compression pants to get that UV protection on my legs and I wear my swimming shorts. If it gets really hot over 100 degrees I'll take off my jersey. During the hot days for my feet I either wear water shoes or my Crocs. They both have pros and cons but I like them both.

Cool Days - Fresh Water

As the temperature drops instead of wearing shorts, I wear running pants. Mine are polyester athletic pants that basically give you a little bit of extra warmth. Now as the temperature drops I wear my polyester fleece jacket and as it drops more I wear my paddling jacket, paddling pants and my 3mm neoprene socks.

Cold Days - Fresh Water

As the water temperature drops below 50, I start wearing my wetsuit even in the freshwater. Generally you're closer to the shore when you are fishing in freshwater but with that low water temperature you can suffer from hypothermia within seconds. So I wear my wetsuit and, of course, on top of the wetsuit I wear my polyester jacket, paddling pants and paddling jacket. For my feet once the air temperatures drops cold enough I wear NRS Boundary Boots.

So there you go guys, you don't have to spend a lot of money on your kayak fishing attire! You can pretty much wear any type of athletic clothing that you already have, except for a couple items such as either a wetsuit or a drysuit. Keep in mind to stay away from cotton material. Synthetics like polyester, nylon, spandex or whatever you got are gonna keep you warm even when you're wet. Please be safe and be healthy.

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