Fishing Shirts: Why Polyester Is Better Than Wool

This is an unabashed plug for a fishing shirt. I pay retail for these things--no free samples, darn it--and do so happily. They are just that good.

merwin shirt

Cabela's Worsterlon II shirts are made of a heavy, brushed polyester that is very warm, comfortable, and dries quickly when wet. The fabric is also very tough, so the shirts last a long time. For late fall/early winter fishing (as well as early spring), these have become my go-to garment.

They are also available in big-and-tail sizes. As I am 6’2” and 240 pounds, the Cabela’s model accommodates both my ample girth and height. And at around $40 - $50, the price, if not cheap, is at least fairly reasonable.

I say all that a little painfully, because for decades previous I was a wool-shirt fan. A Pendleton shirt, for example, was always high on my Christmas list. Well-made and wonderfully warm, these were--and still are--great products. But unlike polyester, they itch. And if wet they take forever to dry.

In switching from wool to polyester, I sort of feel as if I’m switching from single-malt to screw-top Thunderbird. A sartorial traitor, in other words. But it works, and it’s hard to argue with warm and dry...

-John Merwin