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Old Fishin’ Hats

I recently took stock of some of my fishin’ stuff and ended up culling a few notable items from active duty. Among them were a few old fishin’ hats. Looking at these old friends, I had to think back to some of the great experiences (and maybe a few not-so-great experiences) wearing and depending on these hats. I can’t just toss them in the garbage unceremoniously, can I? I think it just wouldn’t sit well, bad karma, and all that. While I ponder the fate of my old fishin’ hats, let’s consider the all-important fishin’ hat for a few minutes.

trusty old fishing hat
This old friend has been a trusty tool and a valuable accessory to me over quite a few years. A baseball-style cap is most suitable for many fishing situations where a full brim isn’t needed.

A Good Fishing Hat

Fly fishing sometimes requires a different hat than most other types of fishing. Warm water fishing types usually wear a baseball cap-style hat. Fly fishing types can and do wear baseball-style caps, but if there are elements like driving rain and wind, an excellent water-resistant wide-brim hat is the ticket. When Mr. Sun comes out, the wide brim provides some shade on the neck, face, and shoulders and virtually eliminates the prospect of self-piercing your ear.

A good hat protects your head

A good hat shades your eyes, along with a good pair of sunglasses helps to minimize UV, permitting you to see the fish you seek underwater glare-free. Many breathable hats have an SPF rating which blocks the sun’s effects on your scalp too. The brim also helps protect the eyes and ears from stray hooks if the brim goes all the way around the head.

A Pair of Old Friends...Retired Fishing Hats
If old hats could tell stories, these two retired caps would have a lot to say.

A good hat gives you a place to put stuff

My up close eyesight is terrible, so a magnifier is absolutely essential for me to tie flies and to see them well in my fly box. I’ve tried to use magnifiers on my reading glasses but that just doesn’t work for me. The very best solution is to use the bill of the hat to clip a fold-down magnifier onto. Always there when I need it, flipped up and out of the way when I don’t. Many folks use the hat to clip other stuff onto as well including lures, spare hooks, even sheepskin patches to hold wet flies as they dry. Also, a good little bungee clip connects the hat to the collar of your shirt for those extra strong wind gusts. Those clips have saved my hat’s many many times.

Some people like to accessorize their fishing hats with pins or other bling. Others may use the hat as a place to keep lures or flies at the ready. But, this fold-down magnifier (pictured) receives constant use as I change out tiny flies or tie on a fresh leader or tippet material during the day. After using the lens, I flip it up and entirely out of the way with a flick of the fingers. Indespensible!

A good hat travels well

The very best hats can be smushed flat for packing and traveling and then pop right back into place for service when you arrive at your fishing destination. Some hats tend to look rather gnarly when treated this way, but as long as they function well, I’m good with that. Fishing trips can be rough on gear, and hats are no exception. So the excellent fishing hat needs to be rugged enough for travel.

A great hat for fly fishing
This hat has a wide brim to protect from sun and pierced ears! It’s seen a lot of duty, but has lots of trips left in it!

A good hat functions in all weather

Cotton hats are ok, wool too, I suppose. But give me a good tin cloth wide brim hat any day, and I’m ready for any weather mother nature has in store for me. Water needs to bead and roll off in a downpour. With the proper rain gear, you’ll be just as comfortable as the fish in rainy conditions. A large brim hat will divert the rain out and away from your neck as an aid to keeping you dry under your outerwear. Hats can’t do much for you in lightning, though, so when you hear the crack of thunder, you need to boogie on out the stream or wherever and get to a safe spot to ride it out.

A good hat helps you catch fish

Being able to put some floatant on your line and fly, then wipe your fingers on the hat, is just good thinking. You must brush your fingers on something, so why not your hat? My hat tends to stay dry enough throughout the day that I use it to wipe dry my hands and fingers constantly. Trying to get that selfie with a nice trout usually means needing to wipe some slime off so the old smartphone or camera will work properly. Again, the hat comes to the rescue. Who needs a towel?

Very useful gear and attire for mountain fly fishing
The gear and clothing are an essential consideration for your health and comfort while fly fishing high in the mountain streams of the Rockies.

A good hat keeps you comfortable

Drying your sweaty brow in the hot summer, acting as a fan while aiming an occasional mosquito, the trusty hat is there for you. On those chilly fall mornings and cold winter outings, the lid helps to keep you warm by keeping your head warm.

What to do with old fishing hats?

Well, I suppose I’ve stalled long enough about what to do with my old fishin’ hats. I think a great solution revealed itself (thanks to Kelly!). The best part is that it’s a solution that enables me to keep my old stuff around to remind me of the great adventures and many fishing experiences we shared. What’s the big idea? How about a wall display of old fishing gear that featured an old rod and my old fishin’ hats? Trump may not have gotten his wall, but I got mine! Perfect.

Fishing Wall Display
Why not display a collection of old fishing stuff along with a few photos? Here on the “fishing wall” are some framed trip photos, some retired hats, fishing rods, and reels, and some miscellaneous bits and bobs picked up over time. What a great way to display those old fishin’ hats.

Tight lines,


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