Fishing in style – Fishermen’s clothes go high-tech
September 11 – For a very long time, “fishing shirts” were usually washed out and dirty, with the word “style” never spoken in their presence.
There were beer labels, stock cars, or silly sayings draped over the chest, and many of these clothes appeared to be a few laps of laundry from the rag bag.
This is no longer the case. Fishing clothing has become high-tech, practical, functional and downright sartorial. Anglers are fishing more than ever and they are fishing in style.
“These are really good performance shirts that protect you from the sun, keep you cool on hot days, and they look really good, too,” said Bob Barnhart, owner of Maumee-based tackle supplier Netcraft.
Barnhart recently renovated its Briarfield Boulevard showroom to make room for a large floor-to-ceiling display of fishing shirts, hoodies, hats, shorts and gloves from Huk Gear, an industry leader. performance fishing clothing, AFTCO, which offers a full range of high-tech clothing and clothing labeled Netcraft.
“And a lot of that stuff has an SPF rating – something we wouldn’t have talked about years ago,” he said. “Wearing long-sleeved shirts is like having double sunscreen, and the way these shirts are so light and breathable you won’t be uncomfortable even on a hot day.”
Huk (pronounced hook) burst onto the scene half a dozen years ago, marketed his brand aggressively, and the separate name and logo have now become commonplace on Lake Erie in recent summers.
Pete Angle, Marketing Director of Marolina Outdoor, the parent company of Huk and supplier of hunting clothing Nomad, said Huk is focused on creating fishing gear that allows anglers to enjoy the outdoors no matter the weather. weather report.
“It’s important that there is SPF protection in a lot of their clothing and what they offer – shirts, gaiters, hats,” he said. “Even their hoodies cover the nape of the neck for extra protection. They are designed to be worn in direct sunlight, in hot and humid conditions. With the technology, you stay cool and dry. These are very fishing clothes. techniques.”
Fishing guide Corneilus Harris, whose company Guru Outfitters leads fishing trips for huge largemouth bass in land reclaimed from surface mines in southeast Ohio, said the new clothing technology combines style and functionality.
“I love my Huk gear for the comfort it provides throughout full days of fishing on the water,” said Harris. “I prefer the breathable long sleeves to help protect my arms from the sun, especially during mid-day hikes when the sun is at its peak. Not only is it a great look, but it’s also useful at the same time. time. “
BlacktipH, a niche company known for its prolific production of extreme fishing videos, offers a contemporary line of clothing and accessories.
Barnhart said some of his younger Netcraft staff have been instrumental in bringing new brands of fishing gear to the store and into the big online side of the business.
“They have helped me evolve and recognize these brands as a lifestyle,” he said.
“It’s more than a dress style. They love to be trendy and wear the new brands. You want to put things in your store that people love, and those brands are readily available. The brands are well established and they have done such a good job of marketing that they generate a lot of consumer interest. “
Angle from Marolina Outdoor said the goal of the Huk line is not just to make fishing shirts, but to develop what anglers and others recognize as something whose utility extends beyond some water.
“These are high quality and much more of a lifestyle brand,” Angle said. “We offer contemporary designs, with a much more elegant feel and look than traditional fishing gear. Huk is designed to connect directly with anglers, and it does what it says it would. do. Fishermen understand and appreciate it. “
Barnhart said that while the new, high-tech fishing gear costs more than what would be classified as traditional fishing gear, the benefits of comfort and built-in sun protection more than justify the difference. Huk’s high-tech long-sleeved fishing shirts cost an average of $ 40 to $ 50.
“There is now a lot more awareness among fishermen about sun exposure and the dangers that can be involved,” he said. “So when you start talking about your skin health and the built-in sun protection that comes with these labels, they’re not that expensive. These shirts are really good looking and that aspect of performance – sun protection, keeps you cool. , easily washable – all factors point in the right direction. “
Marolina’s Angle said the target market for these sleeker lines of fishing gear goes far beyond the water.
“We see the Huk brand conquering a market much larger than fishing,” he said. “I see kids wearing these Huk clothes around town, going out on dates, going to the mall. They identify with this brand, and they know it looks good and it looks cool. . “