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 as they aid buoyancy in the water. Although flotation suits 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 a 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 features such as foam padding or lining (which can be zipped out), a detachable lined hood, elasticated and waterproof cuffs, reflective sections and a whistle. Flotation suits start from around £85 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 by clicking here.
When the weather is a little warmer a good quality outdoor jacket makes more sense than a full flotation suit. Stores specialising in outdoor activities 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 jackets are the best choice for warmer weather. Adjustable neoprene cuffs, an adjustable hood and fleece-lined pockets are all features to look out for – view outdoor jackets on Amazon by clicking here. Smocks are a popular alternative to jackets and many sea fishing companies such as Imax, Sundridge and FishEagle manufacture smocks – view them on Amazon by clicking here.
Waders: Waders are essentially chest or thigh-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 and 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 but neoprene waders are warmer and longer lasting. 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 handy pockets. Neoprene waders need some care as they have to be dried and stored carefully after fishing sessions and leaving them in a heap will see them lose their shape. Inexpensive waders from manufacturers such as Lineaeffe are available to buy on for as little as £30 by clicking here,whereas neoprene waders can be viewed and purchased by clicking here.
Walking Boots: For general beach, pier or accessible rock mark fishing some anglers wear trainers while most prefer to wear boots which are designed for hiking or outdoor pursuits. Proper outdoor boots are the safest type of footwear when fishing from rock marks as they offer the best grip. It is always a good idea to invest in a pair of boots which are waterproof (but breathable) as this will keep feet dry during rain or bad weather. Brands such as Karrimore and Hi-Tec make relatively inexpensive boots which many anglers find suitable for fishing, although much more expensive boots are available. Click here to see a range of boots available on Amazon.
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, especially if anglers are stepping into the surf to land fish or get extra distances on their casting. 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. View the range of thermal wellingtons 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 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 are essential in winter, and it is worth investing in a decent one, with some anglers preferring thermal balaclavas instead. In summer an inexpensive baseball cap 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.