While sea fishing in the warm summer months can see anglers wearing t-shirts, jeans and trainers, other fishing situations such as winter cod fishing or fishing on exposed rock marks will require anglers to wear specially designed clothing in order to cope with the conditions. Read on to find out more about the clothing and footwear available to UK anglers. Some products also have links to Amazon or Sea Angling Shop where they can be purchased (links open in a new window).
Flotation suits are essential for winter fishing. They are designed to keep anglers warm in the most challenging fishing conditions and protect against rain, wind and the cold. Flotation suits are not just about warmth, but also about safety. Flotation suits are so called as they aid buoyancy in the water and, although they are not designed to replace life jackets, they do help keep people afloat – meaning a flotation suit could potentially save a life. There are two choices with flotation suits, a one pieces ‘onesie’ style suit, or a two piece consisting of flotation suit jacket and separate trousers with shoulder straps. One piece suits are seen as less fiddly as there are no shoulder straps to worry about and some anglers find them to be warmer. However, two piece suits are more versatile and there is the option of just taking the jacket when the weather is warmer, or wearing the full suit in freezing conditions. Some manufacturers offer their suits in the option of one or two piece versions. Flotation suits which meet the European Safety Directive (which all the ones from major manufacturers do) come with of the features such as foam padding or lining (which can be zip out), a detachable lined hood, elasticated and waterproof cuffs, reflective tape and a safety whistle. Flotation suits start from around £70 going up to £200 with major manufacturers being Sundridge, Penn, Fladen and FishEagle. A flotation suit will see an angler through many winters of fishing and is a wise investment indeed. View a range of flotation suits available from Amazon.co.uk by clicking here.
When the weather is a little warmer, but still cold, a good quality jacket makes more sense than a full flotation suit. Stores specialising in outdoor pursuits sell a wide range of jackets, with online retailers offering a good choice which will suit most sea anglers needs. Padded or lined jackets are best for colder weather, while lighter, breathable soft shell jackets are better for warmer weather or to put on over a warmer jacket when it starts to rain. Adjustable neoprene cuffs, an adjustable hood and fleece lined pockets are all features that a high quality sea fishing jacket should have. There are also a whole range of sea fishing smocks from a wide range of manufacturers which many anglers prefer to wear, such as this Fladen smock which is available from Amazon.
Waders: Waders are essentially chest-high waterproof trousers with built in boots that let anglers wade out into the sea to get extra distances on their casts or get closer to the fish they are targeting. Bass anglers in particular often use waders to cast past the breakers are locate the feeding bass. Waders come in a variety of types with nylon and neoprene being the two main materials. Generally, nylon waders are cheaper than the warmer and longer wearing neoprene designs such as these. Neoprene waders can also be worn along with a jacket or top half of a flotation suit for cold weather fishing. More expensive waders will also have adjustable shoulder and chest straps, as well as hand-warming pockets. Neoprene waders need some care as they have to be dried and stored carefully after fishing sessions. Leaving them in a heap will see them lose their shape. It is best to carefully hang them up once they are dry. Less expensive waders are available to buy on Amazon.co.uk by clicking here, with prices starting from just £14.99.
Walking Boots: For general beach, pier or accessible rock mark fishing some anglers wear trainers while most prefer some kind of walking/outdoor boot. This kind of footwear is ideal for the more active work of walking to a venue and casting while also being comfortable to wear for extended fishing sessions. Anglers wearing trainers can also find themselves having an uncomfortable time the rain comes down during their fishing session. Hi-Tec’s Eurotrek Hiking Boots are an excellent choice, being high quality and waterproof – click here to view them.
Wellington Boots: When fishing in winter many anglers wrap up warm in a flotation suit but neglect how cold their feet will become. Thermal lined wellingtons are the answer here – especially if a larger size is chosen so they can be worn with a few pairs of thermal socks. Avoid wellingtons without the thermal lining, as they get very cold very quickly. The advantage of wellingtons when fishing a beach is that they also protect feet from getting wet by the incoming tide while packing up or moving back up the beach. Dunlop Universal UPC Wellingtons are a good choice due to the quality and price and are available from Amazon by clicking here.
It is always wise to wear a pair (or two) of high quality thermal socks when fishing in very cold weather, as feet can get very cold indeed – especially if an angler is wading out or stepping into near-freezing water. Gloves are obviously important to fish effectively in winter. Modern neoprene gloves are a good choice for fishing, with some anglers also preferring to take fingerless neoprene gloves as they allow knots to be tied, hooks to be baited and other fiddly jobs completed without taking the gloves off. However, in the coldest winter weather they may not be enough and anglers often take a massive pair of thermal ski gloves as well as these can be worn over the top of other gloves and taken off when jobs such as baiting up or tying knots need to be carried out. Thermal hats – such as this one from Thinsulate – are obviously essential in winter, and it is worth investing in a decent one, with some anglers preferring thermal balaclavas instead. Peaked, fleece lined hats which have flaps which can be pulled down over the ears are also popular with some anglers, and in summer an inexpensive baseball cap – such as this one from WSB Tackle – can be handy to have when the sun is setting. Polarised sunglasses are also useful when fishing in bright sunlight, and the anti-glare properties of this type of glasses also help anglers spot fish such as mullet feeding just below the surface of the water. These sunglasses from Daiwa are an excellent choice for sea anglers.