A good fishing shirt has to be like a best fishing buddy – always there and ready for any trip, comfortable to be around, protective during hard times and in harsh conditions, tough and strong yet soft and light, and able to lend a hand and hold onto things when required.
Of course, it also helps if a fishing shirt brings a little bit of luck too! Today, anglers are indeed lucky that several great companies are answering the need for specialized fishing shirts, and new fabric technologies are stepping up to provide superior sun protection and long life in conditions where snags and tears, dirt, stains, and smells are all just part of the game.
We checked out some of the top rated fishing shirts money can buy and put together this list of what we think are some of the best fishing shirts.
The venerable Columbia sportswear company is certainly no stranger to the outdoors, so it should come as no surprise that they put out a fishing shirt that is very fairly-priced yet ranks with the top-of-the-line in form, fit, and function.
The first thing that sets the Bonehead apart from many other fishing shirts is that it is an all-cotton fishing shirt. It is made from an ultralight 100% cotton poplin that breathes well and is very comfortable.
This is the kind of shirt that breaks in to become a favorite that is difficult to keep from wearing constantly. Sure, it lacks some of the moisture-wicking and quick-drying properties of the high-tech artificial fabrics, but it feels so good against bare skin and is easy to care for as well.
The biggest downside to this type of fabric is wrinkles, and the pocket flaps may drive you crazy with their tendency to curl up. Users who see this as a problem will be ironing, but a tip for on the road is to wash and dry the shirt, then steam it in the shower, lay it flat and sleep on it. In camp, who cares?
The back venting on this shirt is excellent, and the fit runs large and relaxed. Pocket design is good, with stacked double pockets on each side of the chest that are big enough to hold small items yet lie flat when not in use.
One of the pockets is a flapless fly box pocket and all pockets feature Velcro closures that are easy for one-hand operation. Plenty of grommets and a couple of utility loops help you handle tackle. A Velcro strip rod holder is also provided for the few fishermen who find these things useful.
Supporting local small-town brands is always a great thing to do, and it’s easy with a company like Southern Fin that comes straight out of the all-fishing all of the time lifestyle of the Southern Florida Atlantic coast with an excellent all-around fishing shirt.
The fishing shirts by Southern Fin are nice long-sleeve t-shirts that work hard on the boat and look good in the bar as well. Made of light-weight, ultra-soft 100% microfiber Dri Fit fabric, this shirt stays comfortable all day.
It wicks sweat away, and provides UPF 50+ ultra violet ray protection. The shirts comes in a unisex design with a relaxed fit and sizes from x-small up to xxx-large, a range wider that what most other fishing shirt brands offer.
One thing we really liked about Southern Fin shirts was the beautifully-colored fishing art prints based on work by native Floridian artists and applied using dye sublimation techniques so they will not fade with washing.
This is the kind of fishing shirt that can hold up to a lot of hard wear, but will break in so soft and light that it can be used to sleep in. The sizes and designs are perfect for the whole family, and for a kids’ fishing shirt, this is one of the best.
The only cons we can find with this shirt are the lack of pockets and a collar that some fisherman may feel is a little restricting in hot and humid conditions. Other than that, Southern Fin shirts come with excellent style and utility at a very attractive price point.
The Jekosen Dri Fit Hoodie fishing shirt attracts interest with its high-zip collar and generous hood that converts it from a casual hooded t-shirt look to a serious sun protection fishing garment.
Another unique point is the shirt’s construction from a new artificial fabric known as ice silk, made by combining polyester fibers with natural cellulose, often from wood or cotton. Production of this fabric is a venture into the area of manufacturing less petroleum intensive artificial fibers.
Ice silk is known for having a cool feel against the skin, along with a smooth drape, more breathability than traditional polyesters, and good anti-static and colorfast properties. The Jekosen Hoodie Dri Fit fishing shirt has a loose comfortable fit and generous length that will keep the lower back covered.
Another unique feature of this shirt is the attached semi-glove cuffs that guarantee full coverage for the wrists and the back of the hands, something that has been overlooked in other shirts designed primarily with sun protection in mind.
The shirt is light and allows easy movement, the two things most important to all-day comfort. It offers UV protection up to UPF 50, and like most of the specialized sun protection fishing shirts, this one has no pockets.
We also noticed that the stitching does not appear to be reinforced or taped, and the durability of the new ice silk fabric under repeated uses and washings is still in question. However, it is a very functional fishing shirt at a good price point, and the glove-cuffs show an innovative spirit that we like to see in our sport.
The AFTCO Samurai fishing shirt strikes a good balance between the hard-core protection of the Fish Ninja and the stylish, casual comfort of a hoodie.
Made of 100% Matte Polyester fabric with the same great performance features as the Fish Ninja – AFGUARD stain release, AFBLOCK UPF 50 sun protection, AFCOOL fabric that wicks moisture and dries quickly, the Samurai is one of the great fishing shirts on the market.
Loose, flexible fit gives all-day comfort and good range of motion, reverse seaming prevents chafing and irritation, while the generous hood sizing and wrap-front collar area block the sun well yet still allow freedom and air-flow around the face. The hood fits over a ball cap and sunglasses like it was made to do so, because it was made to do just that!
The Samurai is a rugged, functional piece of fishing wear, but it also works well as a comfortable cover-up for lounging around the water, boating, river float trips, and anywhere that easy-to-use sun and abrasion protection is needed.
The only cons we noted with this shirt are the lack of pockets and ventilation openings. The hood has no capability to be tightened for running in the boat on those windy days, and the loose fit and the nature of the fabric call for caution against snags on fishing tackle and getting caught in boat lift cranks or other machinery. Other than these minor details, AFTCO scores another hit in their line of great fishing shirts with the Samurai hoodie.
Any list of world-class fishing gear has to start with AFTCO – American Fishing Tackle Company – at the top. AFTCO began making hand-made specialty salt water fishing tackle in Newport Beach Southern California in 1958.
Since then, AFTCO gear has earned a place as the standard on top offshore boats across the globe. AFTCO opened their Fishing Clothing Division in 1989, and now, AFTCO is the professional’s choice when it comes to high performance, sun protection, usability, and stylish rugged good looks.
We are going to begin here with a focus on sun protection, because good times fishing is all about staying safe from harm while on the water. The AFTCO Fish Ninja leads our list of top-flight fishing shirts first of all because it is the choice of elite Key West fishing guides and the professionals who work on sun-baked waters around the world.
Serious sun protection and skin cancer prevention is a must when you spend hundreds of days every year on the water, and that is what the Fish Ninja does best. Made of AFBLOCK fabric, the Fish Ninja provides full head, neck, and face coverage at UPF level 50, and extra-long cuffs ensure wrist coverage in every position or range of motion.
The 88% Polyester/ 12% Spandex fabric wicks moisture when you sweat and dries quickly after a splash or dip. Laser-cut ventilation holes on the side seams keep the cool air flowing through and AFGUARD stain release technology keep the shirt looking good trip after trip.
The biggest downsides we uncovered with the Fish Ninja were the tendency for the hood and face cover to bunch up around the neck when the user wants to go with less than full coverage. Also, the shirt has no pockets, maybe because it is especially made for offshore boat fishing. Finally, the seaming could use some reinforcement, particularly in the high-abuse areas such as under the arms.
AFTCO maintains its dominance on this list with the Cumulus buttondown fishing shirts. Available in long- and short-sleeve models, these shirts are perfect for the angler who likes a combination of high-function features and the ability to go dressy when needed.
The Cumulus features AFTCO’s new UV-blocking AFLITE polyester that cuts out 98% of harmful ultraviolet rays while still looking good with stain resistance, wrinkle-free wear, and hidden snaps that keep the collar nicely in place.
Adding to a look that would be right at home in a professional tournament, the Cumulus has a wealth of features that let it add value as a fishing accessory. Vertical rear vents let the shirt breathe well and also support the free shoulder movement needed for long casts and hard fights, while front chest vents allow the cross-flow of air that is essential in hot and humid conditions.
The two generous, zippered chest pockets, one vertical and one horizontal, hold items securely in place when you bend over to net a fish or pull on an anchor line.
A feature we really liked on the long-sleeve model was the snap system that keeps the sleeves rolled up when it gets warm. And users all rave about the micro-fiber lens cleaning cloth that is built into the shirt tail.
This shirt only had two negative points that we could see. Being natural-fiber type fishing guys, we don’t usually go for 100% polyester fabric. However, the no-wrinkle, easy care aspect may outweigh this factor for many users.
The other item is the price point – it is on the high end for a fishing shirt that many will want several different-colored copies of, but that may be balanced out by durability and value.
When they made the Sirius line of fishing shirts, the pros at AFTCO must have had in mind the guy who wants to be able to sneak straight from work to the fishing hole.
This shirt looks snappy with its small-checked pattern and traditional button-down collar, and would fit right in at the office. But take a closer look to see features like the expandable snap-closure chest pockets, the vertical rear venting and articulated shoulders, and AFBLOCK fabric that offers UPF 50-level sun protection.
Small details like roll-up buttons on the long-sleeve models, pocket grommets to hold a lure or fly when needed, and a built-in micro-fiber cloth to keep sunglasses clean let you know that this shirt is from AFTCO, a company that has been refining their gear on the water for over 50 years.
The Sirius is a lighter-weight shirt that is comfortable in warmer weather and easy to wear any time or place. AFGUARD stain release technology and moisture wicking 100% lightweight polyester fabric keep the shirt clean and wrinkle free.
This top-quality fishing shirt hits the sweet spot between urban style and outdoor utility. The only cons we could find were the all-polyester construction, which can give an unnatural feel when the shirt is worn over bare skin, and the traditional-style shirt buttons, which are almost sure to get snagged on things and pop off. Other than that, the AFTCO Sirius easily holds down the number 4 spot in our list of the best fishing shirts.
One thing to be said about a fishing shirt by Under Armour is that the fabric and construction is backed by a reputation that is deeply respected in the world of field and outdoor sports wear.
Known primarily for their layering undergarments, Under Armour has entered the fishing shirt arena with an offering that combines utility with casual sporty looks.
This button-front shirt is made from 100% polyester, but it has a high-quality silk-like feel to it and is a woven fabric that is stretchable and breathable.
The Fish Hunter comes in an appealing range of colors and solid, plaid, or simple stripe patterns, with a straight-cut tail that is not meant to be tucked in. Utilitarian features include a mesh-backed shoulder vent system, a 50+ UPF rating, and sweat-wicking functionality. Anti-odor and stain-release technologies are built into the fabric to prolong the life of the shirt.
The chest pocket system is simple but useful, with one snap-closure flap pocket and another vertical zipper pocket that offers completely secure storage. A negative point of this shirt is the lack of any loop attachments.
Overall, this fishing shirt goes more toward the sporty, stylish end than to the region of serious fishing functionality. But it is a nice, comfortable shirt from a reputable maker, so if it fits your situation, it is undoubtedly a good fishing shirt for the money.
We hope you enjoyed browsing through what we think are some of the best fishing shirts for the money.
Take a look at your personal fishing style and needs, whether for a sun protection shirt, a highly-functional multi-pocketed fishing shirt, or a stylish fishing shirt for everyday fun, sporty wear.
Then, follow our advice to choose a high-quality fishing shirt that might just turn out to be your lucky shirt!