What to wear on the riverbank is a question all anglers should take seriously. Inadequate clothing not only compromises your angling enjoyment it puts your safety at risk too.
Here we give you the basics of what to wear when you’re fishing. It’s vital information to help you deal with the elements.
The key to keeping you warm and dry is layering. A tried and tested system used by all experienced outdoor enthusiasts, it combines three essential items of clothing: base, mid and outer layers. To stay warm and dry on the river bank, learn how to layer up.
You might think your holey, old gym t-shirt makes an ideal base layer, but once you get a sweat on, it’ll actually make you colder. That’s because cotton holds moisture next to your skin which, as it evaporates, cools your core.
Specially designed base layers or ‘skins’ are made from breathable fabrics that wick perspiration away from your skin. They’re also tight fitting to ensure optimum insulation – keeping you both warm and dry. And as an added bonus, some base layers have built in antibacterial and odour eating properties.
Your mid-layer doubles as an outer layer on warmer days and an insulating layer when the weather’s cold.
A fleece is a great choice for anglers because it’s lightweight and breathable, yet incredibly warm. Choose from a range of added features like hoods, finger holes and draw cord bottoms to keep you snug.
Being outdoors and around the water means waterproof clothing is essential kit for all anglers. Good quality waterproofs have a durable water-repellent (DWR) finish applied to the outer surface, which means water stays above the surface and runs straight off.
Go for something that’s also windproof and breathable to prevent you getting cold and clammy. When shopping for your outer-layer don’t forget to take freedom of movement into account – specialist angling products are often superior to high street brands in this respect.
Our advice is to buy the best waterproof coat and trousers you can afford – it’s your future sporting enjoyment you’re investing in.
Beat frostbite by sporting a cosy beanie. Waiting for a bite by the river or on open water can be bitterly cold during the cooler months. Leaving your head exposed will only accelerate heat loss.
Choose from traditional knitted hats, fleece beanies or thermal hats – all of which are suitable for angling. Look for a product with a windproof lining which offers great protection during the winter and is perfect for sea and lake anglers who fish in the open water.
Avoid the burn during the warmer months by wearing a hat that’ll keep you covered and cool. Besides the obvious sun protection, shading your eyes helps you see more clearly below the surface of the water.
Go for a densely woven fabric that offers UV protection – a peaked baseball cap is a good choice, but a wide brimmed hat is even better for all round coverage.
Sunglasses aren’t just for summer. Even in winter, a pair of sunnies are an important bit of kit for anglers. Not only do polarised lenses filter out damaging UV rays, they reduce glare, giving you better visuals into the water.
While you could dust-off your shades from last year’s holiday to Tenerife, specialist angling sunglasses are a better bet because you can choose from a range of lenses designed for specific light conditions.
Watch the video below for great advice on what to wear whilst carp fishing:
Fly fishing vest
If fly fishing is your thing, you’ll definitely need a fishing vest to keep essential equipment close to hand. But whatever kind of angling you prefer, a vest is a good investment!
Choose a garment with the number and size of pockets that best suits your needs. Some have expanding pockets for larger gear, D-rings for frequently used items and backpack compartments for extra storage. An inflatable vest is also worth considering – doubling up as a life vest, it offers peace of mind as well as practicality.
A pair of lightweight waterproof, breathable fishing boots will keep you comfortable and dry all day long. Supportive and with excellent grip, fishing boots are perfect for getting you to the swim and keeping you safely on your feet on slippery riverbanks.
Wide ranging styles and ankle heights make it a great idea to shop around to find exactly what best suits your taste and needs.
If you’re planning to get in the water, you’ll obviously need a pair of waders. And while you could go for cheaper thigh waders, the reality is, investing in a decent pair of chest waders gives you way more angling options.
Choose from boot or stocking foot waders, breathable or non-breathable fabric, neoprene and more. Confused? Read our guide on how to choose the right waders.
From gardeners to toddlers to anglers, everyone needs a pair of wellies. For the angler, they’re basic tried and tested gear that’s helped keep feet dry since the Napoleonic wars!
Great for tramping through wet grass, waiting patiently for a bite or for stepping into shallow water, no angler should be without a pair. And they can be surprisingly comfortable too!
These are just the basics, a sensible selection of clothing that will help you deal with a wide range of environments – a good starting point for any angler.
If you’re an experienced angler, invest in clothing tailored to your common terrain. If you don’t think you’ll be fishing often enough to invest in everything here – find a substitute. Below is a summary of each item of clothing’s use, simply choose a substitute that will achieve the same outcome.
What to wear to go fishing:
- Base layer. A tight fitting breathable fabric or ‘skin’.
- Mid-layer. Fleece – lightweight, breathable and incredibly warm. This can serve as an outer layer on warm days.
- Waterproof jacket. The best options are windproof, breathable and have a DWR (durable water-repellent) finish.
- Hats. Prevent heat loss in the winter with a windproof layered beanie. Prevent burning and protect yourself from harmful UV in the summer months with a peaked cap.
- Eye protection. Polarised sunglasses are beneficial all year round, providing UV protection and reducing glare on the water.
- Fishing vest. Covered with pockets and zippers, a fishing vest has all the storage you’ll need out on the water.
- Boots and wellies. Fishing boots are supportive with extra grip needed for slippery riverbanks. Alternatively, grab your wellies to keep your feet dry.
- Waders. These are essential if you plan to get in the water, and come in range of fits and materials.
What’s your best clothing tip for keeping you warm and dry when you’re out fishing? We’d love to know.