John Merwin in the Buff

No, not that kind of buff. I’m talking sun protection here, and I’ll get to the “buff” part in just a minute.

As I look around, it seems almost every fisherman I see is wearing a baseball-style cap. The brim shades one’s eyes and allows better vision, but does nothing to protect your ears and neck from the
sun. So I’m convinced that sooner or later there will be an epidemic among anglers of skin cancer on ear tips. This is no joke.

Jmbuff Sometimes I wear fully-brimmed hats, which offer more protection but tend to blow off my head in a breeze or fast-moving boat. So now—and most especially when fishing in the tropics—I’m sometimes wearing Buff Headwear [http://www.buffwear.com/], a kind of flexible fabric tube that can be stretched to cover from the top of your ball cap over your nose and face and down under your shirt
collar. I’ve included a quick self-portrait to show you what it looks like.

I thought this might be too hot and uncomfortable, but it’s not. I wore it all day every day during a week of recent tropical fishing and came home without my usual sunburn and swollen ears. Lightweight sun gloves, meanwhile, helped my hands.

Yeah, I know it looks funny. A skin-cancer tumor growing on your face looks funny, too.