Sitting on a lake and waiting for a bite is one of the most relaxing, tranquil experiences you can have. It gives you the chance to get away from the stress of real life and lets you focus on nothing but the ripples of the water, the sounds of nature, and enjoy the sun beating down on you. If you’re going to sit there, you need the right gear, the right accessories, the right outfit, and no outfit is complete without one of the best fishing shirts.
When fishing, it’s not just any old shirt that will do. You need something to protect you from the sun, to keep you cool in the day and warm at night, and somewhere to keep your fishing gear that’s easy to access. We’ve compiled a list of the essential fishing shirts anyone should own, so why not have a little nibble and see what we’ve got for you? Just be sure to put up a sign to let people know you’ve Gone Fishin’.
The Best Fishing Shirt
Our best choice in our list of great fishing clothing is this Columbia Terminal Tackle Long Sleeve Shirt. Coming complete with Omni-Wick technology, it pulls moisture from the body to ensure dryness throughout your fishing trip and ensuring comfort when you’re out waiting and waiting (and waiting) all day long. If you like to spend your fishing trips in humid areas, this is a great shirt at a great price to offset any sweat or dampness.
Columbia fishing shirts are well-known for their quality, and the Terminal Tackle brings this quality in abundance. It provides the perfect fit for anglers with neither sleeves nor sides that will interfere with your fishing, and the breathable material makes it great for both day and night time fishing, keeping you cool, warm, or somewhere in between. The material doesn’t shrink in the wash, and it has a good sleeve length that gives it versatility for more than just a fishing shirt.
Omni-Wick technology pulls moisture
Perfect angler’s fit
Columbia PFG logo at sleeve
Breathable material with quick dry fabric
- Weight1 pound
Good sleeve length
Does not shrink in wash
Offers ideal protection from windchill and sun
Spots may stain if not treated
When taking part in water sports or any activity close to water, you need the right apparel to keep you warm, but also not something that’s too heavy, too. The O’Neill Basic Skins Short Sleeve Shirt is just the ticket to make this possible. Constructed with 6 ounce polyester, it provides the lightness required for protecting you but also not weighing you down when in the water.
Providing UPF protection over 50, it’s an excellent option for a day out on the boat, or on the shore as you wait for something to bite and is even recommended by the Skin Cancer Foundation, giving you further trust in keeping you safe from the sun’s rays. It also has comfortable and durable stitching, contributing to long life where other fishing shirts could fall apart if you’re not careful, while the four-way stretch helps it mold to your body shape for a form-fitting feel.
Slim fit design
Provides UPF 50+ sun protection
Minimal seam placement reduces abrasion and rashes
Comfortable and durable polyester with 4-Way stretch
- BrandO’Neill Wetsuits
- Weight12.6 ounces
Not too tight despite slim fit construction
Ideal for a variety of water sports and activities including surfing, fishing, and swimming
Recommended by Skin Cancer Foundation
Lightweight for wearing in water
Short sleeves won’t provide full upper-body protection
Runs slightly small
For anybody who’s out on the boat and in the sun for most of the day, (as well as anybody who doesn’t like sunscreen) long sleeve fishing shirts are an essential addition to any fishing kit. While most fishing shirts have levels of sun protection built into the fabric, you can only really ensure full body protection by covering as much of your skin as possible. A long sleeve shirt eases any fears of burning, or irritation, or sunstroke.
The Southern Fin Apparel Performance Fishing Shirt provides exactly what you need for full days on the water. The long sleeves and UPF 50+ gives you almost unrivaled sun protection, while the ultra-soft material – achieved with microfiber and Dri Fit moisture wicking systems – ensures comfort for as long as you need, morning, noon, and night. Unlike some fishing shirts or shirts designed for water activities, this is not too loose or too tight and comes with a relaxed fit for help you feel, well, relaxed. Imagine that.
UPF 50+ sun protection
100% microfiber Dri Fit material wicks sweat and moisture
Ultra soft material keeps you comfortable
Relaxed fit doesn’t feel too tight or too loose
- BrandSouthern Fin Apparel
Dye sublimation prevents fading
Will not shrink in wash
Long sleeves provide full body protection
Some of you may not like fish design on back
Fishing apparel is a lot more varied than you thought, right? This Columbia Tamiami II Shirt is yet another unique and quality product designed to make your day out on the lake comfortable, relaxing, and most importantly, successful. It doesn’t provide the same amount of UPF protection (only guaranteeing up to 40), but still consider it when looking at its additional features. It still has moisture management through the Omni-Wick system, uses antimicrobial material to prevent bacteria, fungi, and other kind of gross microbes flourishing should it get wet.
What’s most useful, though, is the number of pockets and further accessories to ensure you have everything you need for your fishing trip. On the chest, there are two large, deep pockets ideal for holding gear, tackle, and your smartphone – in a waterproof case, for extra security – as well as a rod loop, which allows for hands-free fishing as you crack a beer or shoot the breeze with your buddies.
Omni-Shade provides UPF 40 protection
Omni-Wick manages moisture
Loose and breathable fit
- Weight1 pound
Deep chest pockets
Stitched-in rod holder
Doesn’t look exactly like it does in pictures
Sticking with the wide range of Columbia products focussed on fishing gear, this Low Drag Offshore Short Sleeve Shirt is another useful piece of fishing attire giving you some options for when you next get out to the lake – they do call it Offshore, after all. By now, you expect a fishing shirt to come with moisture-wicking fabric, so we’ll happily tick that off, but the Offshore also comes with an adjustable vented back to help with airflow and comfort when sitting around waiting for a bite.
You’ll also get those two handy chest pockets, however, there’s no rod loop, which could be a deal breaker if you like to point, wave, and have a drink out on the water. If you’re not too fussed about this, then you might be onto a winner. The pockets come with small drainage holes at the base – like on a pair of swim shorts – if you end up in the water of your own volition or a potential catches, and the material is fast drying anyway, so the day won’t be ruined should that happen.
Omni-wick technology for moisture wicking
Two chest pockets for storing gear
Adjustable vented back to increase comfort
Sleek and durable look
- Weight4.8 ounces
Clean lines and subdued details offer versatility
Built-in sun protection
Sturdy collar protects back of neck
Runs large, so be careful which one you order
In terms of giving you pretty much everything you could need from a fishing shirt, this NAVISKIN Long Sleeve Dry Cooling option has it all. From the UPF 50+ fabric to its lightweight and breathable design – enhanced by a mesh lining on the back – you won’t be uncomfortable before, during or after your fishing trip, and won’t be able to wait to get back out on the water again.
To ensure you have everything within arm’s reach, there are two chest pockets and a rod holder loop under one. You’ll also have the option to roll up your sleeves and keep them there if it gets too hot, with the sleeves supported by a small tab to keep them from flopping and flying around when casting a line, and there’s also a stitched-in polishing cloth inside the button flap at the base hem. It’s basically everything you’ve ever needed from a shirt, whether or not you knew you needed it.
UPF 50+ fabric protects the skin from sun
Lightweight, breathable, moisture wicking material
Two chest pockets for gear storage
Mesh-lined vented back for breathability
- Weight7 ounces
Rod holder loop on pocket
Roll up sleeves and secure with tabs
Polishing cloth around base hem
Buttons may fray and fall off after too much wear
Our premium choice for the best fishing shirt is this American Outdoorsman Blackfoot River, a long sleeve and multi-functional garment that works for so much more than merely fishing, while also being an essential choice for any serious fisherman whether you’ve been brought up with a rod in your hand, or have only just recognized how calming and enjoyable it can be.
Quick Dry moisture wicking technology ensures you’ll stay dry all day long, while the UPF 30 sun protection, despite not being the best in the show, is still more than enough to protect you on fishing trips, you can always let sunscreen do the rest. There’s also a ripstop fabric that allows for simple and easy mobility without risking tearing the stitching while underarm eyelets ensure breathability to provide comfort on long, hot days in the sun. with four pockets in total, there’s ample opportunity for storing gear, and unlike most fishing shirts, the Blackfoot River comes with a reliable, sturdy, and waterproof zipper pocket for more precious and delicate items.
Quick Dry moisture wicking technology
UPF 30 sun protection
Stretch ripstop fabric for ease of movement
Four total pockets for gear and device storage
- BrandAmerican Outdoorsman
Waterproof chest pocket
Utility loop and rubberized grommets / buttons
Underarm eyelets allow breathability
Torso fit may be too short for taller customers
Under Armour are more well known for intense, high-adrenaline activities, but they also make one heck of a great fishing shirt, too. This Tide Chaser Long Sleeve Shirt has a loose and full cut for a wide range of movement and expression while also giving you the breathability required for a day on the lakes. Who knew sitting around all day doing (almost) nothing could get you so sweaty? Luckily, the Moisture Transport System (which is a bit too much of a technical name but whatever) wicks moisture and dries you as fast as possible, so sweat won’t be an issue after a while.
Even though it is a little looser than what Under Armour are typically known for and has the right amount of breathability, this doesn’t mean it’ll get chilly once the sun sets. The French Terry design provides warmth and comfort when you need it, but not all the time, giving you an all-climate shirt suitable for wherever your next fishing trip takes you. The chest pockets also double as hand pockets from the side while the pockets themselves are safely secured with a trustworthy button and long seam that covers it entirely.
Loose, full cut for increased comfort
Moisture Transport System wicks moisture and dries faster
French Terry design provides warmth and comfort
- BrandUnder Armour
- Weight14.4 ounces
Thin and breathable material
Prevents sunburn allowing for full days in the sun
Some differences in picture versus in person
AFTCO (American Fishing Tackle Co.) is a leading designer in performance fishing shirts and this Jigfish Long Sleeve Shirt is no different. Coming to you with a moisture wicking system, you’ll stay dry on the boat – unless you fall in – and the long sleeves block up to 98% of harmful UV rays with UPF 50 protection, giving you the confidence to stay out on the ocean for as long as you need.
If you get too hot, the breathable stretch fabric will ensure that you don’t overheat, and this works in the opposite way, by keeping you warm on cooler nights with no need to add heavy layers. The shirt itself is lightweight, which is excellent for traveling fishermen and means you can wear it with comfort or throw it in your suitcase without adding too much to the weight and keeping baggage costs down where they belong. This lightweightness doesn’t mean it’s poorly made, though. It has high quality construction and stitching, meaning it will last more days on the water than you’d expect.
Moisture wicking system keeps you dry
Blocks 98% of UV rays
Breathable stretch fabric
UPF 50 sun protection
Keeps you warm on cooler nights and cool on warm days
High quality construction and stitching
Lightweight material makes it easy to wear and transport
Shiny finish differs from other AFTCO shirts
Reeling in our final pick of fishing shirts, the Hanes Cool Dri Long Sleeve Shirt is also our choice for the best value. With this, you get not one shirt, but two, and can even mix and match colors to give your fishing wardrobe some much-needed variety all for an awesome, almost unbelievable price. This deal may make you think you’re getting scammed, that something must be wrong, but you’re not. All Hanes are offering are top quality shirts for a price that really cannot be beat.
Crafted with UPF 50+ protection, you’re protected in 99.9% of fishing conditions, while the double needle stitching on the neck, sleeves and lower hem ensures they’ll last you trip after trip. The essential moisture wicking technology is present and allows for fast drying and excellent comfort whether you’re diving straight in or sitting on deck all day in the baking sun. As with all Hanes product, they’ve also included a tag-free collar, which while not a massive thing, always provides further comfort and prevents rashes.
UPF 50+ protection
Double needle neck, sleeves, and hem stitching for durability
Moisture wicking technology for fast drying
Tag-free collar to prevent rashes and discomfort
- Weight1 pound
Two shirts in one pack
Contemporary and stylish fit
Long sleeves protect from insects as well as elements
Some sizing issues both too large and too small
Fishing Shirt Buying Guide & FAQs
How We Chose Our Selection of Fishing Shirts
While looking for the top men’s fishing shirts, we didn’t have the chance to try every single shirt on a weeklong fishing trip (we kind of wished we had done, though). That being said, we still did our research thoroughly to ensure we selected the absolute, number one best fishing shirts on the market and we did this using these primary factors:
Brand - There are more than a few quality fishing shirt brands out there, and we’ve picked what we believe are the very best of the bunch. Some of them might surprise you, being more associated with other sports and disciplines, but if we think it’s worth putting in, we do so. We also believe sometimes you’ve got to look beyond the most obvious ad popular brands to find a real diamond that others may not know about. Who knows, you could start a trend.
Reviews - We didn’t have the time or the tackle to get out on a lake in different weather to test these shirts out, so we let the reviews from those who had done all of that do the work for us. Reviews are great for gauging the effectiveness and reliability of a product while also helping up identify common problems and positives that can better inform us of how good the products we’ve selected are. We think you’ll agree that the reviews we’ve looked at are a massive factor in helping us to help you.
Price - Fishing shirts aren’t an especially expensive investment, but as with most products - especially clothes - there are levels of pricing that determine quality, features, and effectiveness. Typically, the higher the premium, the better quality you’ll get, but we know this isn’t within everyone’s budget, especially with the holidays fast approaching. To find a balance, we checked out a variety of fishing shirts within a variety of price ranges to give you the best selection available.
Features To Look For In Fishing Shirts
We’re sure you’re positively itching to get your new fishing shirt ordered, but before you rush into it, make sure you understand the most important features and deal breakers that can improve your fishing shirt without having to purchase something that might be out of your price range, or just not viable right now.
Sun Protection - When out on the water without tree cover and shade, sun protection is a must and so finding a fishing shirt that provides excellent and consistent sun protection is one of the first things you need to think about. The best fishing shirts will ensure this protection through a variety of methods whether through a long sleeve design or a sturdy collar. You can get short sleeve fishing shirts (which we’ll get to), which won’t give you adequate protection on the forearms, and so this is up to you to fix either with a long-sleeved undershirt or sunscreen.
Comfort - Comfort is another thing to think about before buying a fishing shirt, but isn’t something you’ll know until you actually buy one and get a feel for how comfortable it. In the meantime, you can recognize what makes a shirt that’s comfortable based on the size, breathability options, material, and general fit, all of which we discuss further down). Some shirts may have awkward stitching along the seams or collar tags, which can also impede comfort and transform your fishing trip something fun to something you wish you’d never done. (That was not supposed to rhyme).
Breathability - While the lake or ocean breeze can cool you down, sometimes it may feel a little stuffy which gives the potential for overheating and other issues. A fishing shirt with excellent breathability will ensure excellent comfort all day long, and some better fishing shirts will have built-in vents around the armpits and back, where most of the sweat comes from. This helps to keep the shirt and you as dry as possible and helps you enjoy fishing like you should.
Fit - There are two types of fits you need to look for in fishing shirts: tight and loose. This might sound stupid, but when you factor in the levels of mobility fishing requires, it makes sense. Tighter shirts feel like provide less overall restriction as it would if you weren’t wearing a shirt at all - but then you’d spend a fortune on sunscreen - however loose-fitting shirts also provide this. When casting a line, you need a wide range of motion to get enough power and control over the rod and line. It may come down to preference and the demands of where you’re fishing regarding weather and climate. Speaking of which...
Water resistance - Being right next to water, you want a fishing shirt that offers at least a tiny bit of water resistance. This is where tighter shirts come in useful as you cannot expect a loose-fitting shirt to keep water out. There are also shirts which have special waterproof pockets, which is great for when you want to bring your smartphone to take a middle-of-the-lake selfie, but are scared about it getting damaged.
You have no doubt also noticed the moisture wicking features present in all fishing shirts. While this isn’t the same as water resistance, it helps to keep you dry by absorbing and then evaporating and sweat or splashed water gets onto the shirt.
Material - From polyester to cotton to somewhere in between, there’s a variety of different material options for fishing shirts. Depending on where you’ll wear it, you need to consider which material will be best for you. We’ve already mentioned the moisture wicking features present in all shirts, so think about warmth and coolness (not like Hey, you look cool but temperature-wise) to ease any issues with the sun or wind and the weight of the material. You may not think a heavy shirt has the chance to weight you down, but wearing it all day in the sun can cause problems.
Types of Fishing Shirts
There are two primary types are shirts that are dedicated solely to fishing. While you can get by with regular shirts, these typically won’t offer you the same movement or accessibility that a proper fishing shirt will.
Long sleeve shirts are like t-shirts in that they are simple pullover garments. There are no buttons, no zips, and no collars and there are usually no pockets either - although designs may vary. These shirts are made of tight fitting and lightweight material and can often double as diving or swimming shirts. The long sleeves offer the most protection from the sun, but in terms of functionality, that’s about the only thing they can always do better than a button-up shirt.
The button up fishing shirt is the traditional garment you think of when thinking of someone going fishing - usually coupled with a puffy vest, fishing hat, and shorts, no matter the temperature. Although some people may not consider them as modern or stylish as the long sleeve shirts, they have a wide variety of functions and features that make them something to consider when planning everything for your next fishing trip.
This includes features like pockets and rod loops while still giving you the same sun protection and moisture wicking as long sleeves. Some button ups are long-sleeved, giving you versatility you don’t get with long sleeve tees and you can simply roll the sleeves up if need be.
Fishing Shirt FAQs
Q: What is a rod loop on a shirt?
A: A rod loop is a part of the fishing shirt that holds the rod in place, giving you hands-free fishing options. These loops are mainly found underneath one of the chest pockets and are stitched in permanently, or with a piece of velcro on one side to make it easier to loop the rod through. While they’re mainly to hold your rod in place, you can also keep your glasses, clipper, and forceps there, too.
Q: What are PFG shirts?
A: PFG stands for Performance Fishing Gear, which we’re sure you’re just a little disappointed not to figure out yourself, right? It’s exclusive to the Columbia brand, so you’ll only see it on their products such as ordained along the sleeve or on the chest. As you can probably guess, it gives lets you know about the quality of the shirt and how well it ‘performs’ in the fishing environment. This can relate to breathability, comfort, warmth, and sun protection.
Q: What is a fishing shirt?
A: A fishing shirt is a shirt that - wait for it - is worn fishing! Aren’t you glad you waited? Fishing shirts are much more than any old shirt you’ve picked out of the bottom drawer, they are specifically designed to improve your fishing experience as well as protect you from whatever elements you’ll encounter when on the water, or next to it, if you don’t feel like getting your feet wet, although, fishing shoes, you know?
Anyway, they construct fishing shirts using materials that benefit you whether you're on a lake, on the shore, or in the middle of the ocean. These materials provide warmth, comfort, sun protection, waterproofness, breathability, and the right fit so you can cast your line as efficiently as you need. They’ll also have pockets and extra features to store gear, devices, and hold your rod, and built-in cloths to clean lures and similar items.
You can get by with not wearing a fishing shirt if you only go once or twice a year, but if you’re serious about fishing, then having a fishing shirt will not just make you feel more prepared, it will make you more prepared, too. You won’t have to worry about losing items in the water, and you’ll ensure that you have everything on hand, should you need it.
Q: How much protection from the sun do fishing shirts provide?
A: Fishing shirts offer several levels of protection from the sun. Going from UPF 30 to 50+. You might think you may as well get the 50+ shirt, as at least you’re guaranteed protection. However, if you don’t need it and it costs more money than a UPF 40 or 30, then stick to what you need. You can also improve your sun protection by wearing undershirts or applying sunscreen if you’re out on the lake all day. Not all fishing environments require sun protective clothing, but it’s a good idea to get at least some items just in case.