Before each fishing trip begins, many anglers have a mental checklist that they run through to ensure that each and every piece of essential equipment is on board and ready for action once the boat hits the water. Often, left off the list are some of the most important things — items that protect you from the elements, particularly the sun.
For Elite Series pro Mark Menendez, making sure he takes the necessary precautions to be protected from the sun's rays is at the top of his list. "There are three things that I do every day before I go fishing besides comb my hair and brush my teeth," exclaims Menendez. "The first is apply sunscreen, the second is put on a long sleeve shirt, and the third is wear a hat."
He has good reason to be serious about sun protection. For him, it's a matter of survival. In the mid-1990s, a dermatologist removed what Menendez describes as a "plethora of skin cancer" from his face. Since the removal of the skin cancer, Menendez has been diligent in taking the necessary precautions to protect his skin during the many long days he spends on the water chasing bass.
Menendez uses a sunscreen called, "Blue Lizard," which was recommended by his dermatologist. He applies an ample amount to his face, ears, nose and neck, being careful not to overlook the areas under his chin and around his upper chest.
The last two are among the most overexposed areas while on the water. "I also apply sunscreen to my legs if I'm wearing shorts," explains Menendez. "I am very fair skinned, so it's of the utmost importance to take care of that." After applying lotion, Menendez then dons a long sleeve fishing shirt. "I don't care if it's 105 degrees and bright sun, or 80 degrees and overcast, I have long sleeves on every day," states Menendez.
"My grandfather did a lot of farming in his day, and he taught me that a long sleeved shirt is actually a lot cooler in the heat of the day than a short sleeved shirt," he explains. While Menendez admits that it may take some time to get used to wearing long sleeves, he says there is a noticeable increase in his energy level as the day progresses.
"When I wear short sleeves, I feel like the sun beats me up and pulls all the available energy out of me." The third thing Menendez wears at all times is a hat. A baseball cap is acceptable, but in severe conditions, he might wear a wide brimmed hat with neck protection, like that commonly worn by saltwater flats fishermen. While protection and health are the primary goals of his routine, there are also added benefits which Menendez believes improve his fishing.
"When a person is tired, it's a fact that they don't make the best decisions, and competitive fishing is nothing more than a day long session of decision-making. I think it's of the utmost importance to stay protected from the sun." Menendez offers this final reminder about the importance of protecting yourself from the sun —
"I have learned to deal with the sun both as a precautionary measure and out of survival. The three elements of the sunscreen, long sleeve shirt, and hat really protect me."
(Provided by Z3 Media)