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Beating the Heat

No doubt the most prevalent drawback to summer bass fishing is the heat of the day. Have you ever found yourself sitting on a ledge in the middle of the lake, with heat indexes around the century mark, and the only breeze is coming out of your mouth? Sweating out the water you have been guzzling just as fast as you can drink it? Trying to decide if maybe you should jump out of the boat and into the lake with the fish you are trying to catch? No doubt we have all been there many times.
Here are some tips while out in the Oklahoma heat tournament fishing.
1. Staying Hydrated While Tournament Fishing        
Perspiration is one way your body regulates its temperature. In hot and humid conditions, you need to frequently replenish liquids lost to sweat so you remain hydrated. If you don’t take in enough fluids, you run the risk of getting sick with sunstroke.

Staying hydrated is simple: drink a lot of fluids and drink often. It’s best to drink plenty of water and not just take a few sips now and then. I usually guzzle back 10 to 20 ounces about every 30 to 45 minutes when fishing in hot conditions. I make it a habit to pack extra water so there’s plenty for me and extra in case my fishing partner didn’t bring enough.        

Drinking before you feel thirsty is another rule of thumb to stay hydrated. When your body sends out a signal for thirst, you’re already dehydrated. If you feel thirsty, drink plenty of water to replenish your fluid levels. Keeping electrolyte tablets or packets to mix with water is also essential to staying hydrated.        

When it comes to drinks, it’s important to stay away from caffeinated and alcoholic beverages. These will cause you to lose fluids as both are diuretics and will cause you to urinate frequently. If enjoying these kinds of drinks make sure you have a few extra glasses of water to compensate for lost liquids. Also, note that when hydrated urine will be clear. When it’s a dark yellow, you’re dehydrated and need to drink lots of water.
Although water is my mainstay drink for hot weather, I also like to have a few sport drinks on hand for variety. These help to replenish salts, sugars and other minerals lost from excessive perspiration. You can save yourself money by buying the drink powder in bulk and mixing your own in water bottles. Juices are also good to have on hand.    

2. Protect Your Head         

Keeping your head protected is important during hot, sunny conditions. Without a hat you’re tempting fate and a case of sunstroke. A wide brim hat will protect your face, ears and neck from the sun’s rays. Other options include ball caps, buffs and bandanas. These don’t provide as much protection but are better than nothing.      

3. Protect Your Eyes         
Most sunglasses sold today will protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. For anglers, polarized lens will cut down on the sun’s glare on the water, letting you spot fish and underwater structure. Wrap-around options are extremely popular as they hug the face and do an excellent job blocking out the sun. When buying your shades, pick up a floating case and a lanyard to protect your investment from unwanted overboard losses.     
4. Lather on the Sunscreen — Often

Using sunscreen on a regular basis is critical to protecting your skin from UV rays. Not using sunscreen increases your chances of getting skin cancer or may result in other skin damage, like sunburns. Keep in mind that the sun’s rays can reflect off the water’s surface and cloudy conditions still call for sunscreen.        

Adults should use a sunscreen with a minimum SPF 15 rating and children should use sunscreen with at least a 30 SPF rating. Ensure you apply sunscreen liberally at about 20 minutes before you’re in the sun for maximum protection. Consider using sport sunscreens when fishing. These products are fairly waterproof and sweat proof, resulting in better protection. Sunscreen should also be reapplied as necessary. This is especially true if you’ve gotten wet or have been sweating a lot.

5. Get the Right Clothing for Sun Protection & Moisture-Wicking        



Protecting your skin with proper clothing is important. Some sportswear fabric offers sun protection, with 15 and 30 SPF ratings being common. Often these clothes feature moisture-wicking and quick-drying features that will also help you keep cool. Look for vented cape backs in shirts for maximum ventilation.

Although shorts and short sleeve shirts are common in hot conditions, it’s important to have long sleeve shirts and pants on hand. I use regularly wear convertible pants when fishing. If I feel my legs have got too much sun, I’ll zip the pant legs back on for 30 minutes or so to give my skin a rest from the sun’s rays. I do the same trick with a light-weight long-sleeve shirt to protect my arms        

If you’re one pole fishing (standing) and fishing all day in sandals, it won’t take long for your toes to get burnt if you’re not prepared. Regularly apply a lot of sunscreen to your feet and don’t be shy putting on some ultra-light socks or switching to shoes if your feet get too hot. Also don’t neglect your hands. If you’re landing and releasing fish all day, sunscreen can quickly wash off, so reapply often. Also consider sun gloves that are specifically designed to protect hands from UV rays, but allow you to do all things fishing related, like tie knots, cast and reel, and so on.      

6. Take Cover        
In extreme conditions, it’s sometimes best to stay out of the sun entirely. The sun’s rays are often the strongest between 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Of course, if you’re boat has a top this is a great feature to stay in the shade. Purchasing a Bimini Top or an Umbrella is an easy way to ensure you’ve got some sun protection on your fishing rig.  
These are just a few suggestions on how to handle the heat this tournament fishing season. The sun shouldn’t stop us from enjoying great crappie fishing this season but be wary of its rays and the affects of hot weather. Stay hydrated and protected from harmful UV rays, and you’ll be ready for whatever the crappie dish out.

Article Written By Richard Faulk

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