Our hands are possibly the most underappreciated part of our bodies when angling. They are exposed to the harsh elements throughout the fishing days and are also exposed to sharp stuff that can cause serious trip ending injuries. Here’s why you should get yourself a few pairs of good quality fishing gloves for your next big fishing trip.
“Comfort is important. If your gloves fit nicely and are comfortable on the hands, the more likely you are to keep them on throughout your fishing trip.”
Reasons Why You Should Get Fishing Gloves
1 Gloves protect our hands from harmful UV rays which can cause bad sunburn and potentially skin cancer. Sunburn on the back of your hands can be extremely uncomfortable as well and can cause irritation throughout the trip. It’ll be hard to comfortably hold your dinner forks let alone eat, imagine fishing the whole day the next few days. Although the salty dogs won’t have an issue with this as their skin are already used to it, but it is wise at least to keep your hands protected by applying sunscreen every few hours throughout the day.
2 Keeps the skin on our fingertips. Braided fishing line will easily cut through unprotected fingers, especially wet and softened fingers. And they can cut through to the bone.
3 Protects our hands from getting uncomfortable blisters. Too much friction from fishing hard from day one can cause some blistering on exposed skin. Your palm and fingers will be gripping tight on rods and reel handles, may it be when casting, jigging, popping and when finally battling a fish you’ve hooked. Ungloved hands will get much abuse and pain and discomfort will automatically follow.
4 Having gloves on can add to your confidence. Confidence to climb and fish from the rocks as you won’t be afraid of damaging your soft hands on the sharp rocks and dead coral. Confidence to cast hard, because you won’t get your fingertips chopped off by the braid. Confidence to grab the fish without fear of getting spiked, bit or slashed by gill rakers.
Types of Gloves
Full Fingered Gloves
These gloves should always be in your fishing bag. A couple of pairs should do as you’d need spares. These are used for the bulk of the fishing you’ll be doing may it be casting or jigging. Full finger coverage is great for protecting the tips of your fingers when casting heavy lures with heavy braided line. Most fishing brands will have these in their catalog, and you should try which ones you like the most.
Expensive gloves will have leather panels which are more durable than synthetic materials, but any brand should do the job well. My personal favorites are the Fisherman brand gloves and the Shout brand gloves, but Shimano and Daiwa make great gloves that are budget friendly and of great quality. There are plenty of other fishing brands that have gloves of their own so please check out your favorite fishing brand’s website to see what they offer.
Sun Gloves/Fingerless Gloves
Made out of lighter materials like neoprene and synthetic leather panels for palm protection, these fingerless gloves are the fly fisherman’s choice. The lack of finger coverage allows us to tie knots, rig lures, use our phones and cameras with ease and dexterity. Stripping fly line is also easier with exposed fingers for more control and a more tactile feel. The main purpose of theese gloves are sun protection and most brands will have SPF protection for maximum effect. Some will come with leather palms for added hand protection, which is my personal choice. Check out the Simms SolarFlex Guide Glove as it is one of the favorites worldwide.
Deckhand Gloves / Utility Gloves
The Aftco Wire Max gloves are specifically designed for leadering in billfish and grabbing onto their bills. The extra padded protection for the back of the hands are great for wrapping the leader around your hands, providing 360 degree protection for the decky’s hands. If you want to give your mates a hand and leader the fish in for them, get a pair of these. They are priced well and are of great value. A must have on any fishing boat.
A pair of general use utility gloves are great to have as spares for your main set of casting and jigging gloves. My favorite is the Mechanix Original gloves as they are very affordable yet super durable. I’ve had mine for more than 3 seasons and have yet to find the need to replace them. The synthetic leather palms are grippy even when wet, plus the back panels are well ventilated providing breathability keeping your hands cool and comfortable. Great to have not just during fishing but when fixing boats, trailers, or any job that can be tough on the hands.
Things to Consider when Buying Fishing Gloves
1 Sizing and Fit
Buying online is the easiest way to purchase fishing gear nowadays but for stuff like gloves, it is best to head to your local tackle shop and try on the gloves personally to ensure you get a comfortable fit. Comfort is important. If your gloves fit nicely and are comfortable on the hands, the more likely you are to keep them on throughout your fishing trip.
No standardized fitting system is yet in place so expect different sizing from different brands. You’ll eventually find your favorite brand and model as you go through numerous pairs throughout your fishing career and you’ll be able to do online purchases then as you already know the best size for your hands, but to start we highly recommend that you try them out in store first before buying. Also consider the closure systems of the gloves. I recommend going with hook and loop closure systems or Velcro, as they are adjustable, which is very important. I don’t recommend fast fitting systems as the elasticity of these kinds of systems wear out fast and you’ll find yourself struggling to keep the gloves on for a long period of time.
I don’t recommend fast fitting systems as the elasticity of these kinds of systems wear out fast and you’ll find yourself struggling to keep the gloves on for a long period of time.
2 Materials and Breathability
The usual materials will be mesh fabric, neoprene and synthetic leather. The more expensive the glove the more premium the materials will be. Premium materials like real leather are softer and better to the touch but at the end of the day, won’t make any difference when fishing hard. You’ll want to get a pair of breathable gloves with large mesh panels for ventilation to keep your hands cool. Neoprene and spandex are great materials but can get hot as they are not as breathable as mesh. Get a pair that you are the most comfortable with, just make sure you get good quality ones that can last you a week of fishing in a harsh tropical environment.
3 Padding and Protection
Some gloves will provide the bare minimum in terms of padding for the palm, which is more than enough for the average fishing situations you’ll be exposed to. No need for motorcycle gloves style padding as we won’t be crashing into asphalt anytime soon. A small amount of extra material in the palm where it meets the reels and rods can prevent unwanted blistering and hand pain at the end of the fishing day. The palms will also be exposed to the spiny fins, teeth, and sharp scales ang gills of fish that you’ll be grabbing so take this into consideration as well.
Obviously, you’d want gloves that are suited to the destination you will be fishing in. There are cold weather gloves and warm weather gloves. Pick a few pairs that will suit the location you will be fishing in. Last thing you want are frozen hands leaving you fishless and distraught. Warm weather gloves usually have some sort of SPF protection to help protect your hands from harmful UV rays, and most will have breathable mesh materials for ventilation and comfort.
5 Phone Compatibility
This is the least important thing to consider when buying fishing gloves, but I understand how some people need to be constantly connected may it be for business, family, or just addiction to social media. Fishing glove manufacturers understand this need to be connected and they’ve made gloves that are designed for smartphone use.
Here’s a lowdown on what to look for when buying your fishing gloves and honestly, there is not much else to talk about as this essential accessory is primarily for the protection of your hands. Nothing technical and sophisticated about them so no need to overthink when buying them. As long as they are comfortable for you, they will be perfect.