Protect Your Skin: How to Use Sunscreen and Keep it Off Your Lures

"If you get any of that stuff on your lure, you won't get another bite," said Florida guide Terry Shaughnessy as he watched me slather on some sunscreen. And I think he's right. Fish dislike the sunscreen smell. But sunscreen is pretty much essential protection while fishing. So there's a conundrum for you.

Happily, I've found some ways to use sun-protection goop without screwing up the fishing at the same time. Some sunscreen products come in applicator containers that allow use without getting the stuff on your palms and fingers. That in turn means you won't be contaminating your lures or flies when changing or handling them.

I've shown two such products in the accompanying photo. One, from Dermatone, is a squeeze-tube with a spongelike applicator at the end. Treating my face, neck, ears, and backs of my hands is very easy with this device. A 2-ounce tube costs $5 to $6 and is widely available online (which is why I haven't given a specific link).

The other is a Neutrogena Sunblock Stick, a semi-hard wipe-on stick that I use most often for touchups to my lips, nose, and backs of my hands during the day. I think I paid around $7 when I last bought one a year ago. These are found in most chain-type drugstores.

I've written occasionally about the dangers of skin cancer. My general impression is that younger guys ignore the warnings. And some, but not all, older guys pay attention to them. But there's nothing that gets your attention better than when a dermatologist starts jabbing your face with lidocaine-filled needles, preparatory to cutting out a tumor. Been there, done that. And it's no fun.

And that all makes the decision to consistently use various sunblocks very simple.