How you dress can have a really big impact on how much you enjoy your bonefishing trip. Today we’re going to take you through an outfit for a day on the flats, starting with our head and ending with your feet. We’ll make some recommendations along the way – some general, some very specific – and today we’re only covering actual clothing.
You need a hat to keep the sun off your face and out of your eyes. Baseball-type caps are by far the most popular choice; anglers who want to minimize sun exposure opt for hats with wide brims all around.
An ideal hat has a no metal parts, breathes well to keep you cool (trucker caps are popular), and has a brim with a dark underside to help cut glare.
Some anglers like wearing visors because they’re the coolest option and they’ve got a nice little hidden benefit – when you’re running in the skiff you can put your arm through the hole and you don’t have to worry about hanging onto it. If you go with the visor, just make sure you don’t sunburn your scalp. Ouch!
There are quite a few brands out there now. Buff is the original…just plan on some form of flexible sun protection for your head and neck. These things are cozy and comfortable and do a great job covering parts of your body (ear lobes, anyone?) that tend to miss out on the sunscreen for whatever reason.
Lightweight, quick drying fabrics are key. Lighter colors are preferable because they’re the coolest. There’s some controversy around this but we’d encourage you not to wear red.
Anglers seem to be pretty evenly split on the short sleeve vs. long sleeve topic. When in doubt, cover up – long term, the sun is not your friend. If you prefer wearing short sleeves, consider checking out a pair of Simms Sun Sleeves – you might be surprised…
The past few years, synthetic t-shirt style flats shirts have gotten really popular. Many of them are comfortable and cool enough that you almost forget you have a shirt on.
If you prefer the traditional collared look, look for a flats shirt with a collar that will fold up to help cover the back of your neck late in the day. Every little bit helps!
For some reason this is one of the most commonly-forgotten items on trips to Andros South. Don’t forget your belt! It doesn’t need to be fancy – some kind of nylon, with a plastic buckle, will do just fine.
Yeah we’re calling this section Pants because although you can wear shorts, most of the time you’re better off in pants.
Wearing shorts when there’s snow at your house feels pretty cool, but sunburned calves don’t feel very cool. At Andros South we spend so much time wading that it’s kind of a pain to keep your lower legs coated in sunscreen – the water tends to wear it off as you wade. We also do a decent amount of tromping through the mangroves, and when you’re tromping through the mangroves you’re much happier with pants on, because your lower legs aren’t getting all scratched up by the bushes.
On all but the hottest days, your pants don’t need to be paper-thin. Pants that are just a little bit thicker are much more durable, and tend to look a little less like pajama bottoms when you’re grabbing a beer at the bar at the end of the day. Your legs really don’t tend to get too hot on the flats – you’d be amazed how many guides in the Bahamas wear jeans!
Whether you prefer boxers or briefs, they need to be synthetic so they dry quickly. Ex Officio’s are the standard for good reason.
Thin neoprene wading socks are fantastic on the flats, even though that’s not what they’re made for. They’re comfortable even when they get some sand in them, and they dry overnight without a problem. These 1mm thick socks by Simms are our favorites, by far.
On South Andros you should wear real wading boots with a closed toe. Sandals are OK on some of our hard white sand flats, but because other areas of our island have lots of little pieces of jagged limestone, we don’t recommend that you show up without real flats boots.
It’s last on the list because it’s in your boat bag most of the time – but don’t forget your raincoat. When it rains it rains hard, and on a bumpy boat ride boat spray can get a little old. Light weight and breathability are key.
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