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Best Fishing Shirts Reviewed for 2022: Sun Protection, Comfort, and Stain Resistance

Written by: Pete D
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While you can throw on any old t-shirt and hit the water, that’s not a smart choice.

As seasoned anglers can tell you, sun protection is critical to avoid long-term problems, and skin cancer is nothing to play around with.

Moreover, you need real comfort like venting and micro-light fabrics to take hours in the baking heat of the summer’s sun. And bloodstains, general grime, and smells need to be easy to remove in the laundry, whether you're throwing your shirt in a machine or washing it in the sink of your fishing camp.

Add all that up and you've got a tall order.

But the best fishing shirts can deliver, and we’ve put together complete reviews of some of our favorites:

Related: 

Best Fishing Shirts Reviewed

HUK Icon X Camo Long Sleeve Performance Fishing Shirt - Best Fishing Shirt

Huk Men's Standard Icon X Camo Long Sleeve Performance Fishing Shirt, Kenai, X-Large

HukGear.com | Amazon 

Huk’s Icon X is a serious contender for the best fishing shirt we’ve ever worn. 

The Icon X is vented at the underarms and back, offering superior airflow when the sun threatens to become unbearable, and with a 50+ UPF rating, there’s no better protection from UVA and UVB radiation available other than staying home!

This long sleeve shirt is designed to wick moisture to dryer areas, improving cooling and keeping you comfortable longer.

And while perhaps not quite as stain- or stink-resistant as the Pursuit, it’s definitely the more comfortable of the two in sweltering heat.

It’s machine washable, as you’d expect, but also no problem to wash by hand in a sink or shower. It dries quickly and should be ready for your next day on the water by the time you wake up.

Huk’s Icon X is available in a wide color palette, each with a subtle camouflage design, and sizing is usually spot-on.

Pros:

  • Unbeatable sun protection
  • Very light and cool
  • Durable and easy to wash
  • Great color choice
  • Runs true to size

Cons:

  • Perhaps not as stain resistant as the Pursuit

HUK Pursuit Vented Long Sleeve 30 UPF

Huk Men's Pursuit Vented Long Sleeve 30 UPF Fishing Shirt, White, X-Large

HukGear.com | Amazon 

Huk is a staple on the water, and their fishing apparel has won a dedicated following with its no-nonsense performance.

Huk’s Pursuit line includes a vented long sleeve that provides excellent sun protection, offering a 30 UPF shield against both UVA and UVB radiation. 

Designed to be worn in hot weather and punishing sun, the Pursuit vented long sleeve has been treated with a stain-resistant compound as well as antimicrobial additives, helping you keep your shirt clean and fresh.

Easy to launder normally and just as easy to wash in a shower or sink with simple soap and water, it’s an excellent choice for anglers on multi-day fishing expeditions. Durable and pretty darn stain resistant, blood will usually wash right out, and fish slime and scales are no sweat.

This long sleeve shirt should easily dry overnight in most climates.

This shirt is offered in a wide array of color options, including lots of light hues to ward off intense sun.

Huk’s Pursuit long sleeve runs true to size, so order your usual shirt size, and you’ll be happy with the fit.

Pros:

  • Great sun protection
  • Light and cool
  • Durable and easy to wash
  • Treated with stain-resistant and antimicrobial chemicals
  • Great color choice
  • Runs true to size

Cons:

  • Not as cool as the Icon X

Columbia Mens Terminal Tackle 1/4 Zip

Columbia Men's Terminal Tackle 1/4 Zip Shirt, Black, X-Large

Amazon 

Some anglers don’t like the way crew-neck shirts ride on their throats, and Columbia has an awesome solution for that.

Their Terminal Tackle ¼ zip shirt offers a perfect zippered front that can leave your neck untouched by the fabric up front. Just be aware that this also exposes your neck and upper chest to sunlight.

Made from a moisture-wicking weave of polyester, the Terminal Tackle ¼ zip is cool and comfortable in the sun, but not the equal of the incredible Icon X in this respect. 

It offers 50+ UPF protection, preventing UVA and UVB radiation from contacting your skin.

Machine washable, this long sleeve shirt does have a tendency to pick up odors, so a little extra care may be in order. That makes it less-than-ideal for multi-day trips, even though it’s easy to launder by hand with simple soap and water.

Available in a wide array of colors, including sun-bucking shades of green, white, yellow, and blue, the Terminal Tackle ¼ zip generally runs true to size.

Pros:

  • Unbeatable sun protection
  • Light and cool
  • Durable and easy to wash
  • Great color choice
  • Runs true to size

Cons:

  • Not as cool as the Icon X
  • Can hold smells

Habit Fourche Mountain Short Sleeve River Guide Fishing Shirt

HABIT Men’s Fourche Mountain Short Sleeve River Guide Fishing Shirt, Sahara, 2X-Large

Amazon 

For anglers who just can’t stand long sleeves, we recommend Habit’s Fourche Mountain Short Sleeve River Guide shirt. 

Made from light, comfortable polyester fabric, it features a vented cape back that really does keep you cool. Draining front pockets, durable buttons, and a rugged color complete the shirt.

While not offering the sun protection of a long sleeve, the areas it does cover are shielded by a 40+ UPF rating against both UVA and UVB light. Just watch your arms and neck carefully, and be sure to apply sunscreen.

While not created, these shirts are easy to wash by hand or machine, and the light fabric dries quickly in most climates.

Habit’s Fourche Mountain Short Sleeve River Guide shirt comes in a wide range of fishing-appropriate colors, and you can expect these shirts to offer a loose fit that’s generally true to size.

Pros:

  • OK sun protection
  • Very light and cool
  • Durable and easy to wash
  • Great color choice
  • Runs true to size

Cons:

  • Simply can’t offer the sun protection of a long sleeve shirt

Columbia Men's Bahama II UPF 30 Long Sleeve PFG Fishing Shirt

Columbia Men’s PFG Bahama™ II Long Sleeve Shirt, White, XL

Amazon 

Columbia’s Bahama II PFG fishing shirts are popular on the water, especially among anglers who don’t like the look of Huk’s often heavily-branded apparel.

A traditional button-down, the Bahama II is made from durable and lightweight nylon with hidden vents at the shoulders. It offers simply excellent comfort in hot weather, though the open neck design can cause problems if you forget to wear a gaiter or apply sunscreen.

The chest pockets provide some useful storage, and they’re easy to access and close with velcro tabs.

The material offers a 30+ UPF rating against both UVA and UVB radiation, and the long sleeves provide plenty of coverage.

The Bahama II is machine washable, and it generally comes clean easily. Blood can be a problem, though, and it’s not as stain-resistant as the Pursuit. Washing by hand is simple in cool water, and this shirt will hang dry very quickly, making it a great choice for multi-day fishing adventures.

This shirt generally runs true to size with a relaxed, comfortable fit.

Available in plenty of cool-wearing color options, Columbia’s Bahama II PFG fishing shirt is a traditional option that won’t disappoint.

Pros:

  • Good sun protection
  • Very light and cool
  • Durable and easy to wash
  • Great color choice
  • Runs true to size

Cons:

  • Simply can’t offer the sun protection of a crew neck shirt
  • May stain after contact with blood

Columbia Men's Blood and Guts III Long Sleeve Woven Shirt

Columbia Men's Blood and Guts III Long Sleeve Woven Shirt, Cypress, X-Small

Amazon 

Columbia’s Blood and Guts III long sleeve is an excellent choice for anglers who don’t like Huk’s crew-neck style. 

Made from durable, light polyester, the Blood and Guts III offers excellent sun protection with a UPF 50 rating against both UVA and UVB radiation. The only weakness here is at the buttoned neck, where it’s possible to receive sunlight on your bare skin. 

Don’t forget to apply quality sunscreen to this area or instead wear a gaiter!

The back of this shirt offers hidden vents at the shoulder and generous back mesh, making it very cool to wear even when the sun is trying to cut your day short. 

The Blood and Guts III has been treated with a stain shield that repels blood really well, and it’s easy to machine or hand wash. Stains disappear, and these shirts hang dry overnight in most climates, making them a great option for multi-day adventures.

Generally running true to size, there are a few good, sun-bucking colors to choose from.

Pros:

  • Good sun protection
  • Very light and cool
  • Durable and easy to wash
  • Treated with a stain-resistant shield
  • Good color choice
  • Runs true to size

Cons:

  • Simply can’t offer the sun protection of a crew neck shirt

Buying Guide: How to Pick the Best Fishing Shirt

Sun protection

Getting a sunburn is nothing to shrug off as just part of fishing.

Too many of us ignore the danger of excessive sun exposure, at least until it catches up with us and a trip to the dermatologist reveals cancer.

Ask Mark Davis all about it. “The sun damage it’s accumulative, adds up on you, once I knew I had a problem, it was too late.”

That’s a squamous cell carcinoma (skin cancer) on Mark’s lip.

His advice: “I want people out there, especially the guys to don’t be dumb, protect yourself, every part that is exposed including your lips.”

The best way to do that isn’t sunscreen or lip balm but fabric. 

Ever get a sunburn through your pants, shirt, shoes, or hat? I didn't think so…

That’s why the experts at skincancer.org say, “sun-protective clothing is the simplest way to stay safe; unlike sunscreen, you never need to reapply!”

But not all fabrics offer the same level of protection, and obviously, thick face coverings and the summer sun don’t add up to a pleasant day on the water.

So let’s break down what you need to know.

You’re probably familiar with SPF ratings - the number system on your sunscreen. That rating reflects your own sun resistance: the higher the number, the longer you can protect yourself from sunburn.

For instance, if you're very fair and would normally burn in 30 minutes, an SPF of 50 means that you’ll have 1500 minutes of sun protection provided ideal conditions. Add sweat, water, and contact - all elements present in the real world - and that number will go down. And, of course, you’ll require reapplication.

UPF, by contrast, is a measure of how much UV light is blocked by a fabric. This isn’t a multiplier of your natural protection from sunburn but rather an absolute measure.

Now you’d think that all neck gaiters and sun masks offer high UPF numbers - but they don’t!

Many of the products we researched offered minimal UV protection despite covering the face and neck.

Always check for the UPF rating of any product!

Some facts to keep in mind from skincancer.org:

  • Brighter and darker colors absorb more UV light, offering better protection
  • If you can see through the fabric, UV radiation can get through it
  • Stretching will open the seams in the fabric; you need a looser fit
  • Wet fabric can let UV radiation penetrate

Durability

A good fishing shirt can take the abuse that sun, rain, wind, and wear dish out, and at the end of the day, get thrown in a washer and come out clean and fresh.

You should look for fabrics that offer some stain resistance, as blood is an inescapable aspect of handling fish. You want your shirt to look new long into the season, and that typically demands a special shielding layer that repels stains and dirt.

You also want a shirt that can drip dry in the event that you need to wear it again the next day.

Comfort 

Comfort is somewhat subjective, but look for soft materials, light fabrics, and plenty of venting.

The sun is going to punish you as much as it can on the water, and from direct sunlight to reflections, you’re going to take a beating from the heat.

Our Pick: HUK’s Icon X Camo Long Sleeve Performance Fishing Shirt

Huk’s Icon X is as close to the perfect fishing shirt as you’re likely to come.

It offers unbeatable sun protection, covering you from wrist to throat with UPF 50+ protection. It’s cool and comfortable, offering great venting. And it’s sized true and available in a great range of colors.

Anglers who don't like the crew-neck style can take a close look at Columbia’s Blood and Guts III, which offers nearly as good sun protection in a button-down shirt. It’s just as easy to clean and wear and a strong competitor for our top spot.

We hope we’ve helped you find the right fishing shirt for your next adventure, and as always, we’d love to hear from you.

Please leave a comment below!

About The Author
Pete D
Born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio, Pete grew up fishing on the Great Lakes. When he’s not out on the water, you can find him reading his favorite books, and spending time with his family.
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