A Hard Lesson About Using Sunscreen On The Water

Ask anyone who fishes with me, and they'll tell you that I am usually very smart about sun exposure. I wear hats. I wear long sleeves. I slather on sunscreen. I know the stakes, and have had many friends fall victim to the harmful effects of the sun.

But all it takes is one goof, and you can pay the price. I'm proof of that. When I was in Argentina, I slipped up and got fried. When I got home, my face was burned so bad it started to blister, and I had to go to the urgent care center to see the doctor, who prescribed antibiotics to fight off an impending infection. I looked like I nuked my face in a microwave oven on "high" for a couple minutes.

But I had worn sunscreen. So what went wrong?

Best the doc can tell, I was probably using expired sunscreen. Lesson number one: Check the dates on the lotions you use.

Not all sunscreens are alike, and some are plain worthless. Ask your doctor about the best choices. When in doubt use zinc oxide.

Lesson number 2: Apply your sunscreen at least a half hour before you get in the sun. If you wait until you're sweaty and the sun is beating down on you, it might not work.

And lesson number 3: Don't trust the sunscreen by itself. Wear a Buff, which offers 95% UV protection, as well as long pants and sleeves.

If you're going to get injured on a fishing adventure, odds are, you're going to do it to yourself by being careless. Sun poisoning is no laughing matter. Trust me, I learned the hard way.