Recently, I asked what I wear out fishing. My answer? The same thing. My fishing pants are these old nappy black fleece pants that are over 10 years old and so out of style I have to hide them from the fashion police. I've weighed fashion verses function but function won. I don’t even wear them in town. I wear something else to and from the boat and change when I get on board. It’s such an ingrained routine the skipper even knows it. The other day we ran out to the fishing grounds and dropped anchor. I had my town pants on and was about to climb into my bunk when skipper cried “You’re wearing the wrong pants!” I wear them to bed, too. Guess I just outed myself on that one. I’ll wear them the entire time out there but as soon as I finish cleaning up the boat, I change into something else. They are these peg leg pants that are form fitting all the way to the ankle, which may look great on someone else, but not me. But the reason I wear them fishing is that I can just slip on my Xtra-Tuff (knee high brown neoprene boots) fishing boots without having to fuss with the cuffs of my pant legs.
|The ugly pants back when they were new!|
I also wear knee high wool ski socks. I discovered this luxury last year. I used to wear wool socks that only came to mid-calf. But they would slide down and bunch up. Now I find ski socks on sale right before the fishing season. They have nice cushion and tend to stay up better. Plus they come in fun colors like purple or blue stripes.
The rest of my outfit is pretty much fleece and capline. I used to wear cotton hooded sweatshirts, but they are so heavy when they get wet. Plus, when it’s wet, cotton kills. (A little side note that you probably already know but studies show that when you are wet and wearing cotton your body temperature is lower than if you were naked.)
|Me in cotton, before I knew any better|
Now I wear fleece hoodies because I hate the feel of cold wet raingear on the back of my neck. Besides, it’s cold enough most days to want an extra hood. Under that I wear a quick dry capline tank top. So, wool ski socks, ugly fleece pants, capline undergarments, and a fleece hoody topped off with my lucky fishing hat (which is cotton, but hey, rules were meant to be broken.)
I also wear a Stormy Sea’s vest which has an inflatable bladder. Just a pull of a string it inflates almost instantly with a CO2 cartridge. (http://www.stormyseas.com/) Just in case I go over. The Copper River has lots of glaciers and the water is quite silty. That silt permeates your clothing and if you go in the drink out there, you’ll sink like a rock. Plus, most days it’s cold enough to want an extra layer, even in the summer.
|Me in my Stormy Seas and Grundens|
On top of all that I wear raingear which is cotton (I know) lined PVC that is waterproof, but not breathable. So you are always at least a little wet. This was all made for a man and doesn’t fit me too well. I wear orange Grundens bibs and jacket. (http://www.grundens.com) I used to wear dark green raingear which matches my complexion better than orange.
|Me in deadly green|
However, it was pointed out to me that my raingear was the same color as the water and if I ever went in, I’d never be found. So, again, function over fashion, now I wear orange.
|Here I have it backwards with green on top|
|I'm starting to get it right.....|
My bibs these days are also orange and have been repaired several times. When they get a hole, I sew them up with green mint flavor dental floss, slather them with Aqua Seal then slap some duct tape on the inside for good measure. Those patches have held up well but now one leg is falling off. It started to rip at the beginning of the season at the bottom and is already an inch shorter than the other. It may be time to retire this set after the season. But at about $250 or so for a new set, I like them to last as long as possible.
My snap down hooded jacket has neoprene cuffs so when you raise your arms cold salty water doesn’t run down your sleeve. Most of the snaps have stayed on over the years but are getting a bit rusty. The snaps up by my face have little bits of gillnet stuck around them. They got caught in the web once when I was setting my net. One moment, I’m standing there, all fat, dumb and happy. Next thing I know, I’m flying across the deck and heading out with the net. Luckily, I when I hit the rail the mesh of the net broke and set me free. But that was sure scary. This was years ago on my own boat. Good thing, too. If it happens on the boat I’m working on now, I’d hit the power roller which is a hydraulic cylinder that spins on the bow between the bow rollers. When setting the net, it’s turned on full blast to help set the net by keeping the leadline or the bottom of the net taught. But if you hit it when setting, it would launch your ass then the bow rollers would crucify you before you go over. This hasn’t happened to me yet, but is something I think about every time we set the net.
My boots are Xtra-Tuffs. I have to wear the next size larger or my calves don’t fit in. (Don’t men have calves?) The entire outfit is polished off with orange rubber gloves to complete the look. The only other things to add are sunglasses and lots of sunscreen. And there you have it.
Until next time, eat fish!
|Me, back then, displaying the latest fashions on Humpys|