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Fishing and Hydration

by: Lloyd Tackitt 7/10/2014
The 100 degree days are here again.  Staying comfortable while fishing can be a bit of a challenge.  Following are a few things I've learned about that.

1.  Shade is a wonderful thing.  If you can find some and fish from within it, by all means jump on the opportunity.

2.  Taking shade with you may be next best.  Wide brim hats, kerchiefs that hang down over the back of your neck, long sleeve shirts of light cotton, and long pants of light cotton, will help you a great deal.  I grew up in the South, spent a lot of time on farms and ranches.  People who worked outdoors in the summer did not wear shorts and tank tops.  Or sandals.  Or baseball caps.  They wore work boots and wide brimmed hats.  There were good reasons for all of that, and those reasons haven't changed - although work boots on a boat might be a bit much, still stay away from sandals.

3.  You hear this all the time "If you wait until you're thirsty to drink you are already too late."  I have to call BS on that one.  Your body knows when it needs water, just listen to it and do what it suggests.  When you get thirsty, drink until you're not thirsty.  Simple basic logic should tell us that our bodies know best, just gotta pay attention.

4.  I love beer, I truly do.  But beer and being out in the heat can be a bad mix.  An ice cold beer every now and then as a treat works well for me, but when it comes to staying hydrated water is king.  Beer has the opposite effect of water, it can really make you sick if you try to use it for hydration.  I know this from experience, believe me.  The best way to drink beer while out fishing is to have a few on ice, the small beers are best.  Nothing is quite as good as that first swallow of frigid beer sloshing against the back of your throat.  The small beers don't warm up as fast and will help to keep the quantity down.  

5.  Soak a hand towel in ice water, wring it out a bit, then drape over the back of your neck.  This will block the sun off the back of your neck and cool you down.  You'll have to soak it in ice water again every now and then, but it is well worth the trouble.  I get the ice water from my beer cooler, making it a double duty type thing.

6.  Not quite as good as water but still pretty darn good is ice tea.  Ice tea on a hot day is a blessing.  Carry some in your ice chest, drink it out of a cup with ice cubes in it.  Wonderful stuff.

7.  I think that sun block is probably a good thing as far as it goes, but wearing the right clothing is about a million times more better.  

8.  Sun glasses are an absolute must.  Over time we get cataracts, and largely from exposure to UV rays.  Sun glasses will diminish those rays considerably, and since you won't be squinting you'll see more clearly and won't get those sun head aches nearly as much.

9.  Sweating is a good thing, a very good thing.  If it is hot outside and you are doing anything at all you should be sweating.  The more you do the more you should sweat.  If you stop sweating you are quite likely in serious medical trouble.  That is one sign of heat stroke.  I've had heat stroke, I don't want no more of it.  Learn the signs and symptoms and stay aware.

10.  At the end of the day there is nothing better than a cool shower to make you feel better.  I will admit to drinking an ice cold beer in the shower from time to time also.  But, as I said before, I do spread them out few and far between during the heat exposure time.  

Hot days are here, but with a few precautions, the right clothing, and a laid back attitude you can have some of the best fishing all year.  Tight lines and bowed rods!
Blog content © Lloyd Tackitt
Member comments
Ajax5240, CO   7/10/2014 11:03:09 AM
My favorite solution... Night fishing. Plenty of beer. Haha Our cool Rocky Mountain rivers and streams do a great job cooling the legs off. I am still wearing sweat pants under my waders. Time for a trip north Lloyd!!
Dave Mauldin, TX   7/10/2014 2:16:28 PM
Night fishing in hot summer months is especially good the three days before the full moon, (right now) not as good the three days following the full moon. I take a large thermos of strongly brewed iced tea, which also keeps me alert. On a full moon, you can begin to see pretty darn well out there. I also carry a small clip-on LED lamp on the brim of my cap....
Attila64, TX   7/10/2014 3:22:40 PM
Good advise. Also monitor urine color. Dark urine is a sign of severe dehydration. Multivitamins especially the B variety produce bright colored urine but the dark is dehydration and means you are close to heat stroke or other severe problems. Not a good thing while on the water.
Catfish Johnson, CO   7/10/2014 5:59:56 PM
Caffeine can act as a mild diuretic just as alcohol does causing your kidneys to create urine. Coke (and other caffeinated beverages) can remove more water from your body than it puts in - especially if you do not consume it on a regular basis. It's hard to beat the hydrating power of plain old water.
NoNick, CO   7/10/2014 7:04:22 PM
""If you wait until you're thirsty to drink you are already too late." I have to call BS on that one." Colorado folks shouldn't listen to this.. In our altitudes, you HAVE to drink water on a consistent basis when you are active outside. No one said you have to guzzle it, but sipping here and there with a bottle or a Camelbak will do worlds for making your day outdoors a good one. It is better to drink a little more water here than not enough.
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX   7/10/2014 7:04:45 PM
Great comments. I should add that I don't drink sodas when I'm hot, they just make me thirstier for some reason - and I drink decaffeinated ice tea as I like the flavor a lot better. In fact I'm real particular about ice tea, I make sun tea and use one sweet and low per glass, only added into the glass, not into the pitcher. Sun tea has no bitterness and is very refreshing. Sugar tastes fine but it is hard to dissolve and if you put it in the tea pitcher it will turn the flavor pretty quick. But that's just me. But overall I drink ten times more water than tea and probably a hundred times more water than beer. Years and years of being a carpenter in the Texas heat has made me wise to the signs of heat stroke, and dark urine is a definite warning signal of dehydration. We used to use a lot of salt tablets on the construction sites and I still believe that they are a good thing, in moderations, when you are sweating heavily for long periods of time.
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX   7/10/2014 8:14:11 PM
NoNick I'll agree with you that it takes an insane amount of water to cause harm, I think maybe only martathoners need to worry about drinking too much water. But I'll stick by my guns on how your body will let you know when it wants water, and how much it wants. I've lived in the Arizona desert and on the southern Florida coast, and more years than I care to admit here in Texas, and never had a problem knowing when to drink. Maybe the thin air in the mountains changes things, don't know, never stayed there long enough to find out.
Dave Mauldin, TX   7/12/2014 5:46:43 PM
I also work in construction, and fish in the Texas heat. Question: Are there any drinks better than water to protect us from the severe heat? Gator Aid? etc? Thanks in advance for your advice.
IceFishingFool, CO   7/12/2014 6:37:18 PM
Water Dave, doesn't even have to be cool/cold, just plain water.
Lloyd Tackitt (Lloyd Tackitt), TX   7/12/2014 7:35:35 PM
For working in the heat all day you need water first. An occasional Gatorade is a good thing, but Gatorade all day I don't think is optimal. I still believe in salt tablets in moderation when the sweat is just flowing out of you. One trick to cooling off when you're taking a break is to pour ice water over the insides of your forearms from elbow to wrist. Never pour ice water over your head though, it can make you come close to, or to actually in some cases, faint.
Lloyd Tackitt
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