Not too long ago, over on the Honest Angler blog, my esteemed friend John Merwin brought up a really good point about choosing the right fishing lid for your head, and how making a smart choice could [ ultimately save your life](/blogs/ fishing/2010/06/merwin-right-fishing-hat-could-save-your-life ). He was right, of course.


Fishing in the outdoors can be a photo damage hazard. “Photo damage” is a sexy way for describing the precursors to skin cancer. And I, too, have learned that a baseball cap that only covers your beak might still leave you (sometimes painfully) half-exposed (neck, ears, and so forth) to the harsh rays of the sun. Considering how much time I spend on glistening waters, I now usually cover all my bases… especially in midsummer. And that means sweat-proof SPF 30, applied at least 30 minutes before I step out into the glare… and also wearing the full-brim hat.

I’ve dabbled with the French Foreign Legion look… the baseball cap with the synthetic mullet. I’ve tried the “boonie hat” (Romano likes the boonie; on me, boonie is goony.) And now and then, I sport the Mexican straw-design cowboy hat… but that’s sometimes sweaty and heavy on the river. Besides, I was once told by a guide friend in Montana that the brim diameter on a cowboy hat is directly proportional to your perceived I.Q. The bigger the “toilet seat,” the more “waste” (and he didn’t describe it quite like that) between the ears… I’m not saying I agree with that, but that’s what I was told.

As such, I’ve landed on a very plain and practical Amish design… which cost me about $20 at the Kutztown Folk Festival in Pennsylvania several years ago. Light straw. Solid brim. Plain black band, that holds grasshopper flies better than any sheepskin patch on a vest.

I even fish in it on Sundays.