Fall Fishing Gear Picks | Kayak Angler Magazine | Rapid Media
Fall Fishing Gear Picks Photo: Courtesy Columbia Sports

Favorites for cool weather and hot catches

Jacket, sweatshirt, neck gator, breathable shirt, paddling pants, river shoes, ball cap, dark sunglasses…dressing for a fall fishing trip is like gearing up for an Everest expedition. Cool nights and hot days put fish on the feed and anglers on the water but dressing for late-season swings in the weather can be complicated. Packing a ton of gear isn’t an option for kayak anglers and if you mess it up, you’ll be miserable. Get it right and you’ll be hooked up and happy.

After years of trial and error, I’ve come up with a system that covers the bases, from freezing water to hundred-degree heat. Starting with the base layer, nothing I’ve tried beats UnderAmour (www.underarmour.com) for thermal protection. I’ll start the morning with a ColdGear top that offers moisture control and insulated warmth, but is light enough to pack into a gallon-sized Ziploc bag and throw in the bow hatch.

As the sun comes up and the temperature rises, I switch to summer gear that wicks moisture and keeps me cool. Columbia’s (www.columbia.com) new Omni-Freeze Zero line of shirts, shorts, pants and accessories use small blue dots on the inside of the fabric to mechanically cool the shirt. When the material gets wet from persperation, the dots improve evaporation, which lowers the temperature of the fabric—and the angler. When I need a little more warmth with out adding a few more layers of clothes, I slide on a pair of arm gators by Swiftwick (www.swiftwick.com). These 3/4 sleeves keep my arms toasty while providing compression to support my forearms and biceps on a long paddle. 

Finding the perfect pants is always a challenge. For sit-on-top kayak anglers, shorts expose sensitive areas like the inner thigh and lower calf to extreme sunburn. Instead, wear a set of light weight, quick-drying long pants that protect from the sun and biting insects.

When it comes to footwear, I’ve fallen in love with Sperry’s (www.sperrytopsider.com) new H20 Escape shoes. Not only do these kicks protect my feet from snapping fish and swinging hooks, but they shed water and dry fast. Best yet, they look like classic jogging shoes, so I can wear them on the street without looking like a dork.

When the water cools, or the rain falls, I add an outer layer of light breathable waterproof fabric. Kokatat’s Tempest pants (www.kokatat.com) have stocking feet that fit inside my Sperry sneakers and the matching jacket is light enough to wear through a summer thunderstorm and warm enough to keep out biting wind and morning chill. When the skies clear, I can take the pants and jacket off, roll them up and store them in my seat pack without leaving the kayak. 


Even though the air gets cooler as the days get shorter, the sun is still a significant adversary in the fall. Save your skin with clothes that are rated at least UPF 30. Add a neck gator and light breathable gloves to further protect against solar fry and blasting wind. Any remaining exposed skin can be covered with a high quality sunscreen. Neutrogena’s Ultra Sheer liquid is non-greasy and unscented. I can slap some on in the morning and stay protected for hours. To top it off, nothing is more important than a cool hat and a pair of shades. Look for a cap with breathable mesh that circulates air and a dark-colored brim to keep the sun from reflecting into your eyes. A hat with a wrap-around brim, such as the Navigator by Madrone (www.madronegear.com) provide the best protection. The Navigator be folded up for storage and it even floats.  


Regardless of the season, or the weather, a quality pair of sunglasses is an angler’s most important piece of gear. Not only do high-quality shades protect from the sun’s harmful rays, but high-impact lenses will ward off flying hooks and swinging rod tips. Each angler needs a couple pair of sunglasses. For low light conditions, yellow tinted lenses will brighten the scene and improve contrast. As the sun rises, amber shades work best for inshore anglers while grey lenses cut through the glare that reflects off blue offshore water. Costa Del Mar's (www.costadelmar.com) new Tuna Alley glasses combine a large lens with a vented plastic frame to completely protect the eyes without incresing the bulk and weight of the sunglasses. Non slip pads and an ergonomic fit make them comfortable to wear all day on the water. 

Remember, when dressing for changing seasons, the key is to be ready for anything, without packing everything you own.

Links to fall fashion that we like: 



Kokatat Tempest Jacket and Pant: www.kokatat.com

Base Layer

Swiftwick Compression Sleeve: www.swiftwick.com

UnderArmour ColdGear shirt: www.underarmour.com

Cool Clothes

Columbia Omni-Freeze ZERO: www.columbia.com


Sperry H20 Escape (available 2014) www.sperrytopsider.com


Costa Del Mar 580 sunglasses: www.costadelmar.com                                                                                                                                           

Buffs neck gator: www.buffwear.com

Pelagic Offshore Cap:  www.pelagicgear.com

Madrone Navigator Hat: www.madronegear.com 




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