Dressing for Success: Or at least being able to stay on the water without suffering from heat exhaustion.
While Alvin and JD get to escape the summer heat of Texas, the rest of us will still run trips in the usual manner, however we’re going to be a little more inclined to do “half days” as opposed to the “full day trip” focusing on the early morning and late evenings.
During the next couple months we (as guides and fisherman) expect the brutal heat while on the water and do everything we can to prepare ourselves for it. Many of us guide and have “real jobs” on the side. Our preparation for the heat of the day not only keeps us fishing and guiding but allows us to not need a day off from our ‘day on the water’ to recuperate. Clients that show up dressed for the sun and heat in my experience catch more fish because they are able to fish hard from the first cast to last cast. Sun block, while an important part of the equation, can only go so far.
While on the water whether I’m fishing or guiding during the summer, you’ll find me covered from head to toe in clothing. Big straw hats, Buff sun masks, long sleeve shirts, pants and (yes, gloves). I’ve hyperlinked what I’m wearing in the picture. It seems to counter common sense that wearing so much clothing when its 105 will help keep you cool but it does. With the advances in outdoor clothing these technical garments create a barrier from the sun and “wick” moister (perspiration) in a way that you actually sweat less and what you do sweat evaporates in a more controlled manner. I’m not going to “cut and paste” a bunch of scientific evidence into this article as it is my experience that when I dress in this manner I’m a better guide for my clients and a better husband/father when my day on the water ends and the real work starts upon getting home.
Proper hydration isn’t something you can fix the day of. We all should be drinking water on a day-to-day basis. Bottled water won’t solve a dehydration or volume depletion problem the day of and while on the water, it can actually create serious complications (wearing my paramedic hat now) by flushing out electrolytes that well, are pretty damn important to being alive. As a medic this time of year we see a lot of people that don’t drink enough water on a day to day basis only to have it bite them in the ass after a full day in the sun. I’ve seen some scary cardiac rhythms associated with dehydration in “normal enough folks” that could have been avoided by just drinking a normal amount of water during the days before and wearing appropriate clothing. Shorts and t-shirts won’t cut it.
I think we all could easily drop a small fortune on gear without out a second thought. Personally it doesn’t take much to convince me that some shiny object to replace my perfectly good “older” shiny object is a must have for an upcoming trip (I’ve got a few coming). If you look at clothing as “gear” than it’s easy to justify a couple outfits for the elements. Rationally speaking it makes absolute sense to wear clothing that will keep you in the game longer whether it’s the trip of a lifetime or an afternoon on the Lower Colorado River with us.
See ya on the water!