Best Fishing Clothing For The Surf

Hey there my fellow fishing enthusiasts. Today we are going to get stuck into the wardrobe and check out the best fishing clothing for the surf to protect us this year. Now, in opposition to this, if you are anything like me, in most cases you will throw on a pair of board shorts, a t-shirt and head off to the beach.

That is all well and good, but as we know the weather can change dramatically on the coast so in many cases we end up either cold, or sunburnt, or both. It probably goes without saying then that the reason we may need to leave the boardies and t-shirts at home is that we are generally looking to protect ourselves from two elements – the sun and the cold (oh, and rain, and wind too hahaha).

Now with that all in mind, let’s have a look at some of the clothing options we can consider as we head down to the water’s edge to get amongst them. Think I’ll start from top to bottom to make it easier to track…

1. Fishing hats

Obviously these are our first line of defense against the sun as well as keeping our heads warm if we look at the beanie options.

So, starting with the daytime, I would highly recommend a good wide brimmed hat to ensure that your face and neck are protected from the sun – one with an adjustable chin strap would be good in case the wind pops up as well. These options include:

  • Wide brimmed straw hat – I personally like the straw variety as they are lightweight and don’t get too hot.
  • Boonie sun hat – These are UPF sun rated options made of polyester or a nylon compound. They are extremely light in weight and often come with elastic size adjustments and mesh ventilation sections as well. Some can also be fitted with neck and face protection guards too.
  • ‘Legionnaire’s’ hat – We call them mullet caps here as they are business in the front (a standard baseball cap brim) and party in the back (a long neck protector). They probably don’t look as cool as some of the others but will certainly do the job.

When the sun goes down, I reach for a beanie. There are hundreds of these out there but my advice it to choose one with the fishing headlamp included – I have one and love it!

Best Fishing Clothing For The Surf - hat and shoes

2. Neck scarf

If you do wish to just stick to the good old baseball cap, then a polyester neck scarf can certainly be of assistance as well. These are effectively a single, seamless material ‘tube’ that you pull down over your head to protect the neck.

In most cases, they are light and cool and as with the Boonie hats above, have a UPF rating as well. They can be used to cover just the neck, neck and face or even your whole head if it gets cold. Oh, and in hot weather you can wet them first to keep you nice and cool too!!

3. Fishing shirts

As with the hats above, there are a number of fishing shirt options out there and again, the type you choose will generally be based on the whether you are looking for sun protection or warmth. Of course if you are looking for a bit of both then you can just throw on a long sleeved t-shirt however if you need something a little more effective, then you can try:

  • UPF rated fishing shirts – These are what happens when you cross a long sleeve t-shirt with a ‘rash’ shirt. Most are made of polyester (some with spandex) and UPF rated for ultimate sun protection. Some come with collars and hoodies as well meaning can can protect the neck with them too.
  • Button down pocketed fishing shirts – There was a time before the t-shirt styles above became popular that these were the ‘go-to’ for general fishing. Most UPF rated with the added advantage of pockets and elastic hooking bands to hold keys etc. They are collared with long sleeves and, base on my experience, hook resistant as well.

When the weather gets cold, then there are a couple of options here:

The first is to look for a lined fishing shirt – I have seen these in my local fishing shop and are great for when the temperature goes south. Alternatively, you can also get yourself a good fishing jacket as well. Most are waterproof for the rain and contain some extra zips and the like too.

4. Pants

In my opinion, when it comes to fishing apparel it is the lower half of the body that appears to be neglected. Again, it comes down to need however the problem is that unless you are planning to not go near the water at all, your pants will generally get wet.

This means that from what I can see you have two options here:

  • Waders – These are completely waterproof and cover everything from the chest down to and including the feet. In times past they were made of rubber but technology has moved these to the point where they are now made of a waterproof ;breathable’ fabric and moulded, lined boots. Many waders come with extra zips, hooks and dry pockets as well making them a good option if you are planning to stand in the water for any length of time.
  • Quick drying pants – Our next option here basically consists of using outdoor type pants (such as those for hiking or camping etc.) that are quick drying, UPF rated and will keep you a little warmer as well. Many have the added bonus of removable leggings meaning that can be worn as shorts during the day, and then convert to long pants as the temperature drops in the afternoon.

One of my friends also wears lightweight ski pants as well and swears by them for keeping his little legs warm and dry whilst fishing in the surf…

Best Fishing Clothing For The Surf - surf fishing shirt

5. Shoes

Now, I am probably going to be a little biased here as I do not like having cold feet so wear shoes when fishing on the beach a lot of the time. Most of my fishing buddies however wear flip-flops (we of course call them thongs). Shoes are also great if you are fishing in areas that are rocky or corally as well so there are obviously a number of reasons to wear them. Let’s look at the options:

  • General wet shoes – These are good for those what want to protect their feet rather than for warmth etc. Available in all levels of quality, they are generally made of a light, “meshy” type top and rubber sole. Great if there are rocks, coral or oyster beds around where you are fishing/
  • Wet suit shoes – Wet suit shoes are what I wear. They are great as they not only protect your feet, but as per their full body cousins, will keep your feet warm even when full of water.
  • Rubber sandals – These are another great option if you want to protect your feet rather than keep them warm. They are usually made of rubber, EVA or the like and will allow water to run through them.

Oh, Crocs can be good too.


And there it is, my outline of the best fishing clothing for the surf to protect us this year. I hope it has been helpful and as usual, please let me know of your experiences or any other tips you may have.

Also, please do not hesitate to comment below if you have any questions, concerns, corrections or would like me to check anything else out for you.

Until next time

Have fun


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Hi, I'm Paul

I am a passionate fishing, camping and four wheeled driving hobbyist who researches, tests and educates around issues and equipment relevant to them.

I am by no means a professional however my passion is to assist you in making informed decisions about buying and using awesome gear that will give you the best chance of success at whatever you are doing for the best price.

Please get in touch if you have any questions.