Red Necks. One of the most important aspects of a hat is to make sure you protect your face and neck from the sun.
Adding a quality fishing hat to your fishing outfit can be the difference between a day you will always remember or one that you wish that you could forget. One of the simplest pieces of equipment, fishing hats play a key role in keeping anglers dry, warm, protected from weather and insects. Fishing hats range from your ordinary baseball cap to a traditional wide-brimmed Stetson. Whatever style that you choose, be sure that this hat will to do the job that you need. Too often, anglers simply grab whatever is hanging in front of the door on the way out. A good fishing hat is something that keeps the sun out of your eyes and face, won't blow off even in a stiff wind, water repellent, dries quickly and prevents sunburn on your neck.
Baseball Caps: While these are the simplest of all the different fishing hats, they really aren't always the best choice for the serious angler for a number of reasons. First of all, ball caps easily blow off if you hit windy conditions while out on the water. Secondly, most ball caps are made of cotton, meaning they will absorb the sweat produced by your body while walking to your favorite fishing hole. Once these caps get wet they will stay wet all day making it uncomfortable to wear for the remainder of the day. Lastly, ball caps are not great at keeping the rain off of you. With all that being said, baseball caps are still the No. 1 hat used for fishing around simply because almost everyone has one lying around the house. And if you do not have any other fishing hats then a baseball hat will certainly work.
Up-Downer Baseball Cap: This style fishing hat is simply a better version of the standard baseball cap. This type of hat has an extended front bill shielding your face from the sun's rays, a roll-down cape to protect your neck and a chin strap to keep the hat securely on top of your head. These up-downer hats are a great choice for anglers who are fishing the shallows salt flats where the sun can be very hot and the angler needs maximum protection on their head.
Traditional Wide-Brimmed Caped Hat: These types of hats are what come to mind for most when anyone mentions fishing hats. These types of hats are the ideal fishing hat combining a wide brim, a neck cape, floatation, chin strap and lots of venting to keep you cool. Additionally, these wide brimmed hats are ideal for travel. Whether you're on a safari in Africa or backpacking in the Smokey Mountains, these hats will protect you from the sun and make your activities that much more enjoyable.
Booney Hat: Sometimes thought of as a "hunting hat," there are many great booney hats on the market built just with the angler in mind. Most of these come in a light color to as to not soak up heat and have a wide brim to keep out the sun's rays. Some of the better versions are made of waterproof synthetic material that is breathable and lightweight.
What to Look For
|Tip: If you prefer a ball cap, a good idea is to have the underside of the bill be a dark color, seeing as this will reduce the glare coming off the water.
Out of all the different styles and types of fishing hats on the market, a few key features make one hat better then the next.
- Hat brim: One of the most important of all features included in a fishing hat is the type and size of the brim. If you choose a baseball style hat then a molded, oversized bill is a necessity to keep the sun off of your face and neck. If you choose the traditional hat, then a wide, stiff brim is good to help protect your face and neck.
- Waterproof outer shell: Having a hat that is made out of a synthetic, breathable material is very important. The hat you choose be should keep your head high and dry from falling rain while at the same time allowing air to get to the top of you head so that you do not overheat.
- Adjustable chin strap: The chin strap is a simple feature that is a necessity on any good fishing hat. Being able to keep your hat on your head even in the windiest of conditions is important. Nothing is worse than having to constantly readjust your hat while fishing just to keep it securely on your head. Leather seems to be the most comfortable choice for chin straps with a durable rawhide cinch to keep the strap tight.
- Cotton twill instep: Having a cotton twill instep sewn into the lining of your hat makes wearing your hat out on a day's adventure much more comfortable and enjoyable. Secondly, this instep will serve as a sweat band for your head, keeping perspiration from getting into your eyes.
- Open mesh crown/grommets with solid top: The hat you choose has to be able to have some air exchange system or else you will overheat very quickly. Mesh crown to the sides of the hat are probably the best type of air exchange system for hats but in a heavy rain this type of system has been known to allow a little water to get through.
- Fade resistant/floatable: If you are going to be spending your hard-earned dollars on a hat you want to be sure that after a few hours in the sun and rain the hat you choose will not lose its color. The dulling of the fabric will not alter the effectiveness of the hat protecting you from the elements but in the chance that you catch a true trophy fish, you certainly want to look your best for the camera. Additionally, the use of new waterproof synthetic materials allows hats to stay afloat if you are unlucky enough to drop them into the water and not be able to get to them quickly.
- Hidden neck cape: Neck capes are the number one way to protect the sides of the head, ears and neck from the harsh sun. Most quality hats will have a cape that is able to be rolled and tucked away neatly until you need it most. Accessories, such as a buff, can be purchased to accompany a cap or visor that will help shield the sun, rain and wind. The UV Buff can be worn as a face mask, balaclava, neckerchief and headband.
Fishing hats come in a numerous range of sizes and styles. Owning a good quality fishing hat is an important addition to your fishing outfit, but what style you choose is a matter of personal choice. As long as the hat you choose covers the basics of being windproof, waterproof, and sun proof then you should be ready for any weather conditions you might encounter out on a days fishing.