Your Jaunty Chapeau: It’s All In The Hat
The clothes anglers wear are important as they dictate comfort - warm in cool weather, cool in hot weather.
Proper boots keep your toes warm and dry. Proper underwear...well, let’s not go there. But of all the proper things to wear, from inner to outer, none is as important as the proper hat.
When I get a good fishing hat, it’s a treasure but not just any hat can be a good fishing hat. There are criteria that must be met, first of which is fit and feel.
Sometimes I slap a new hat on my head and instantly know it’s a loser. I might as well have turned a cardboard box into headgear or put a saucepan on my head like Johnny Appleseed. If it doesn’t feel good, all the adjustments you can make with the strap on the back, bending the bill, stomping it flat, it’s not going to be a good hat. A good hat, even when brand new, slides on your head, grips ever so slightly and nestles into place like a well broken-in pair of underwear.
Functionality counts, as well. For obvious reasons, a light colored hat in summer and a dark colored hat in cold weather works best. In really hot weather you may want to consider hats with mesh at part of their construction. In really cold weather you may wish to consider caps with warm linings, ear flaps or other cold weather accoutrements. Personally, I like baseball cap styles. The long brim out front provides eye-shade and that’s about all I need. I have a darker complexion, enough that a bit of extra sun on my ears or the back of my neck is inconsequential. Blondes and redheads may opt for hats with an all around brim or a cowboy hat; they need it.
Regardless of the style, the underside of the brim needs to be dark in color. The sun rays come down from above. The hat brim shades them from your eyes but the sun beams also hit the water and reflect upward. Some of that reflection is going towards your face but when the light hits a black or other dark under-brim, the story ends. However, a light colored brim will reflect even more of the rays to your eyes; that’s not its job.
I’m no fashion guru so I hesitate to talk about style. Still, I find it odd to see anglers out in their summer finest, wearing flip-flops, short pants, lightweight shirt and then they slap on a camouflage hat. Come on people, coordinate, at least a little! Camo and fishing have little in common, most of the time!
Instead, wear a Budweiser hat, a Colts hat; even better, wear one that advertises Shimano, Rapala or Mepps products. They are at least angling related but National Wild Turkey Federation or Whitetails Unlimited caps wouldn’t be my first choice to become a “lucky fishing cap.” I’d never choose a hat that advertised golfing products.
The most important criteria is for the hat to have some “mojo.” For example, if the fishing is supposed to be good, you slap on a new hat and then have a crummy day of fish catching, blame it on the hat. If the fishing is supposed to be so-so at best, you slap on a new hat and find the mother lode of hungry fishes, thank the hat! Throw away hat number one or at least beware of its obvious anti-fish catching.
On the other hand, treasure hat number two- even if it’s camouflage.