Keeping your cool for summertime fishing

T-tops are commonly found on fishing boats. File/Alan Hawes.

With heat indexes rising to 100-plus, there is some validity in thinking that it’s simply too hot to go fishing.

Maybe it’s time for vicarious entertainment, TV fishing shows or reading about the adventures of others on the web. Or maybe there are some steps you can take to make your summertime fishing more enjoyable.

Reflecting over many hot summer days spent on the water, I came up with a few things that have helped me forget about grueling temperatures and enjoy my passion.

How times have changed. Many years ago when I began fishing in Charleston, you seldom saw boats with Bimini tops or T-tops. Bimini tops are very much like convertible tops for automobiles, canvas on a folding frame that can be erected to provide shade; T-tops are fixed tops that provide shade. Today, I can’t imagine having a boat without one or the other. I’ve seen people erect a patio umbrella or even a large golf umbrella to provide some relief from the heat. There are small shades manufactured for kayak anglers.

A wide-brimmed hat or cap with a long bill and shade cloth for your neck should be part of your summer fishing attire. You could purchase one of the umbrella-style hats found online.

Just a little bit of shade means a great deal when you are fishing during the summer.

Fishing clothing has certainly evolved over the years. Instead of an old T-shirt and pair of cutoff jeans, many anglers today opt for clothing designed to wick away moisture and breathe. Take a walk through your favorite tackle store and you will be amazed at the offerings and benefits. Ventilated shirts not only are cooler, they also offer sun protection. Fishing pants are lightweight and usually can be converted from long pants to shorts simply by unzipping the lower part of the leg.

One way to beat the heat during a day of fishing is to keep a clean towel you can soak in cold water. Use bottled water or the water that has melted in the bottom of your cooler. Wipe your face and then drape it across your head or wrap it around your neck. There also are special towels and bandanas that will help keep you cool by soaking them in water.

Some manufacturers offer misting systems to be used with T-tops or Bimini tops. If those are out of your price range, grab a spray bottle or squirt gun and keep it in the cooler until needed.

An important part of fishing in the summer is to make sure you are properly hydrated. That doesn’t mean alcohol or soft drinks; carry along plenty of water or sport drinks, and don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink them.

For food, consider preparing orange slices or chunks of cantaloupe or watermelon in the cooler. One of the favorite treats I can remember from many years ago was to pack a watermelon in ice inside a cooler and during the heat of the day break it out.

There are other ways to beat the summertime heat.

For example, instead of fishing during the daytime, try fishing in the late afternoon or at night. Just be safe. Or get out early and call it a day by lunchtime.

Get out of the boat to fish. Wading can be an enjoyable way to fish or try surf fishing.

Summertime fishing doesn’t have to be miserably hot. You just have to find your own way of beating the heat.