Summer fun fishing

The life of a professional fisherman often involves a lot of travel and a lot of time away from family. So, after the Elite event on Lake Guntersville, I scheduled a fun fishing trip with my wife Alicia.

On my way home to Payson, I stopped in the White Mountains and she drove up and met me at a little place where we like to fish for trout. We fished out of my boat and even though you can’t use outboard engines, we got around just fine on the trolling motor. 

We threw a selection of spinners, spoons and small crankbaits on Phenix Elixir series trout rods with 4-pound line and caught a bunch of cutthroat and rainbow trout. My wife’s 20-inch cutthroat was the biggest of the day, so I was happy to see her catch that one.

This was really a special time for us because it’s not often I get the opportunity to plan a day of fun fishing in this area of the country. That typically happens more up north, where I might get the chance to catch walleye, yellow perch and other species after a tournament. 

Occasionally, I’ll catch a few by accident during practice and then enjoy a grilled fish dinner that evening. I’ve also done that with redfish in Louisiana, tilapia on the St. Johns River and even snakeheads on the Potomac River.

Wherever I’m fishing, whether it’s for fun or for a tournament, covering up and protecting myself from the sun’s harmful rays is key. I didn’t do that when I was young and I’m wishing that, when I was a young person, I had been using some of the great sun protection products that AFTCO makes. 

I’m particularly impressed with the SOLAGO gloves, which have a fingerless design that allows me full use of my fingers for tying knots, adjusting my reels and doing all the detailed things anglers need to do. I also like fact that these gloves are palmless because this allows for maximum sensitivity with full contact with my reel. 

Hands are probably the most overlooked area of sun protection, but considering how the backs of your hands are exposed to the sun almost all the time you’re fishing, this is where you tend to get burned the worst. It’s great to know that, with these gloves, I don’t have to sacrifice sensitivity to enjoy sun protection. 

I also use an AFTCO face mask to keep the sun off my neck, face and ears. Using this breathable sun shield in conjunction with a hat and sunglasses keeps me well protected. 

Now, for years, I’ve liked to wear shorts when I fish, but I recently started wearing the AFTCO Pact pants. These lightweight pants provide great protection and comfort in high heat. For a long time, I was resistant to wearing long pants while I fished, but these pants have made a believer out of me.

No matter what I’m wearing or where I’m fishing, hydration is also a big deal for me, especially during the summer months. I drink lots of water, but you also have to be concerned about your electrolytes. That’s why I carry a powdered electrolyte mix that I pour into a bottle of water.

I’ll supplement this with vitamin water and coconut water. It may sound like a lot, but over the course of a long, hot day on the water, you’ll feel much better when you maintain proper hydration and keep that sun off your skin.