Long Sleeve Fishing Shirts
Many tubing and tooning trips start out at “O dark thirty”…early in the morning. It is usually cooler then than it will be later in the day. You will likely be wearing more when you launch than you will want to be wearing during the heat of midday. That’s where layering comes in. Instead of wearing one big thick coat in the morning you are better off to wear a couple of layers…a sweatshirt and a light jacket for example. As the day warms you can remove one or two layers to remain comfortable. And, if the sun goes behind acloud or the breeze comes up you can put layers back on as needed. The opposite scenario might occur if you launch during the late afternoon for some evening or night fishing. It will be warm when you go out but it’s likely to cool down as the sun drops. Carrying a couple of extra layers in a “dry bag” or other waterproof storage will allow you to “bulk up” to ward off the evening chill.
In recent years there have been great strides in the development of lightweight synthetic materials for sports wear. We can probably thank the skiing and snowboard industries for much of that. We tubers and tooners care not who the stuff was made for if it works for us. Wool layers are traditional and still strongly recommended for cold-water floatation fishing. Wool has always been one of the warmest materials available and tends to retain its insulating properties even when damp. However, there are many new wool/synthetic blend fabrics available that are both affordable and floatation friendly.
Use cotton garments only during warmer conditions when chilling or chafing is not a factor. Cotton gets moist from body perspiration and thereafter has no insulating or warming properties. But, there are times you might want a layer of cotton to absorb moisture. Whatever you choose to wear next to your skin, under your waders it should be soft and comfy. There are synthetic fabrics that are soft, warm and also wick away moisture. These are
ideal for tubing and tooning when layering for warmth. They are also less likely to chafe skin. Sizes can be important too. If you will be wearing more than a couple of layers you should consider buying the outer layer in a larger size than you normally wear. This will allow you to add or remove other layers more easily and it will be looser for extra insulation without binding. During the summer you should wear long sleeved shirts to help reduce the impact of harsh sun’s rays upon your skin. There are lines of specially manufactured outdoor wear that are designed to block the penetration of damaging sunshine. They are usually lightweight and often keep you cooler than if you left your arms bare and exposed.
A natural question for tubers and tooners might be “Why would you want rain gear if you are already sitting in the water?” The simplest answer would be to keep your waderless top half from getting wet and leading to chills or hypothermia. If we are wearing waders and layers of warmth on the bottom rain does not matter down there. But, we are vulnerable to becoming soaked and miserable without some kind of rain gear for the top half. Full fingered neoprene gloves are bulky and make it difficult to fish with finesse. But, they are invaluable for setting up your tube or toon in cold early morning weather…or for fishing when it is too cold for using fingerless gloves.
Fingerless neoprene gloves are ideal for most cold weather tubers and tooners. The neoprene blocks cold wind and does not soak up water like wool or fleece. They are also less prone to get snagged on hooks or lures and are easier to wash after handling slimy fish like this catfish. Fingerless nylon fleece glove. These gloves work well to protect against mild cold temps, until they get wet from fish handling or being dipped into cold water. Unlike neoprene, fleece gloves also do not block cold winds. But, on many days they are preferable for some fishing.
As the previous paragraph might suggest rain gear for tubing and tooning only needs to be a water repellent jacket or shell. You don’t need to invest in a pricey top and bottom set to keep you dry during the occasional sneaky rain squall that hits while you are out fishing. No need for it to be something that will protect you from a thermonuclear blast. All you need is waterproof. Some tubers and tooners simply buy a cheap poncho that rolls up and fits almost anywhere. When the weather turns damp the poncho comes out and quickly drapes over the angler and any other gear you wish to keep dry until the rain passes. If you do buy a special rain jacket for tubing or tooning, try to find one a couple of sizes larger than you might normally buy. This will let you slip it on over a couple of layers and your fishing vest, etc. Also look for one that is ultra thin and can be folded up into a very small bundle for storage in the back of a pocket somewhere.
Many anglers think that only foo-foo fly flingers wear fishing vests. Not so. Tubers and tooners who fish all kinds of tackle for many different species have increasingly come to include and appreciate fishing vests in their ensembles. Modern floatation craft generally have decent tackle pockets, but there is never quite enough space to keep ALL of your stuff. If you have lots of little tools and knick-knacks to carry out on your craft, a multi-pocketed fishing vest can really help. Hang some clippers, scissors, hook hones and other little tools in the front or stash them in a convenient pocket. Keep your fishing license in a waterproof folder somewhere easy to reach and also keep small containers of hooks, swivels, sinkers and other oftused terminal tackle up front and handy. If you get a vest with large side pockets, you can even use them to carry larger tools or small bait containers while afloat. There is no end to the different ways you can use a vest or the number of goodies it will carry. Be sure to read the chapter on Carry Ons & Accessories. Because your fishing vest may be worn over several layers of clothes and waders you should buy one large enough to wear comfortably when fully dressed. And, try to get one with light weight synthetic material, rather than some heavy, exotic and/or hard-to-clean stuff. A fishing vest tends
to accumulate fish slime, bait drippings, etc. If you do not launder it occasionally you will not be welcome upwind of any fishing buddies even if you can stand yourself.
Tackle purveyors offer many models of “tackle packs” to be worn by anglers who need more than just a fishing vest. Some of these are mini tackle boxes. They work fine if you use them only for lures and terminal tackle. However, many tubers and tooners find that they need something a bit more spacious and open to store lots of other goodies.
Fanny packs come in many sizes, shapes and colors. Guess what. If you turn them around and wear them higher they become chest packs. Some of these are ideal for tubers and tooners. They may have two or three zippered compartments that work well for holding cell phones, snacks, sunglasses, small tools, etc. Simply adjust the belt to fit around your chest, rather than your waist and you are good to go. You may want to attach some kind of loop to go around your neck, to keep the pack from “going south” if not properly tightened.
If you look around at yard sales or thrift stores you will see a myriad of different sizes and styles of inexpensive nylon bags. Many of these can be easily rigged to either hang from your neck or to be strapped around your chest. Whatever it takes to help carry all the loose items you take out on your tube or toon.