Advanced sun protection for enjoying Costa Rica angling is essential. Due to the close proximity to the equator, reflection of the sun from water, and reflection of the sun from white surfaces on our fleet of Costa Rica boats, most anglers visiting Quepos are presented with a generous dose of the Costa Rica sun while fishing on their Costa Rica Vacation. As a result, sun safety precautions taken from the start ensure you can fully enjoy your stay here!
Let’s assume everybody knows rule number one….repeated sunscreen application throughout the day while fishing, the most important factor of sun protection, and move right onto advanced topics of enjoying your Quepos fishing adventure safely under the sun, from head to toe: Sunscreen Type: Minimum of SPF 30. Make sure the sunscreen has avobenzone as an ingredient to reduce risk of long term sun damage from UVA rays. If you are allergic to most sunscreens, consider sunscreens that both contain zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, and make sure the sunscreen has both ingredients in it, typically labeled under “baby” ,”sensitive”, or “100% natural” brands of sunscreen. Remember rule number one…any area of skin that is not covered 100% of the time needs sunscreen application and reapplication throughout the day! Wide Brimmed Hat: Wide brimmed hats definitely have extra protection coverage needed for your temples, ears and neck compared to a ball cap. The standard bearer for wide brimmed fishing hats is the Columbia brand “Bora Bora” booney hat, with an adjustable headband and vented crown. A wide brimmed military style booney hat from your local Army/Navy Store will do the job just as well. Sunglasses: High Quality, polarized sunglasses are a must to cut down the glare, and protect your eyes from UV damage. There are many options to choose from, such as the crew favorites Costa Del Mar and Maui Jim, to a simple pair of polarized sunglasses at your local sporting goods store.
Bottom line; make sure your shades have at least 99% UVA AND UVB protection! Polarization of the sunglasses is just as important too, so you can watch the water without the glare. Face shield: Most of the captains and mates here in Quepos now wear a face shield, and for good reason. They are highly effective in blocking the sun! This is commonly used in addition to sunscreen on the face for extra protection. The Buff brand, the brand that started it all, has UV Angler series Buffs that are great at keeping your face and neck cool, staying in place throughout the day, and are very comfortable, constructed with no seams. When purchasing a face shield, buy a light color shield to reflect the sun, as the dark colored ones tend to get a little warm in the sun. You can purchase a face shield right here in Quepos at Quepos Sailfishing Charters when you are on your way to the marina. They are very comfortable and kept my face cool. Long Sleeve Shirt: The extra sun coverage on the biceps and forearms from a light colored long sleeve shirt (vs. a short sleeve shirt) goes a very long way in keeping cool with the added bonus of sun protection. Many options to chose from here, from technical fishing shirts and t-shirts with moisture wicking and built in SPF protection made of polyester and nylon blends, to a standard light colored long sleeve cotton t-shirt. Shirt brands include Columbia, Montauk Tackle Co., Aftco, Simms, and the list goes on and on.
For those who prefer 100% cotton shirts that do not have SPF built in, you can use SunGuard as an additive when you wash your fishing clothes to provide added SPF protection, Sun Gloves: Hands are often neglected when it comes to sun protection in general. In addition, sunscreen applied on hands is washed off due to normal hand washing, hands in water, etc., and is one of the first places that sun damage becomes obvious throughout life. There are a few brands such as Glacier Glove and Buff who provide lightweight fishing gloves for sun protection, with added features such as sticky palms and reinforced stress points on the gloves to allow long wear of gloves and reduced fatigue when fighting fish. Pants: Much like long sleeved shirts, warm weather fishing pants not only offer more you coverage over shorts, but can keep you cooler as well! The Columbia brand is by far the most common fishing pant manufacturer for warm weather, and most Columbia fishing pants have zip off option to convert the pants into shorts as needed.
Under Armour has begun manufacturing fishing pants as well. Shoes: An angler friend of mine explained he never goes barefoot on boat after a fishing outing left him sunburned on his feet; it was an easily overlooked area of skin. You can never go wrong with non-marking boat/deck shoes such as Sperry or Sebago as they are specifically designed for wet boat surfaces. Non-marking water shoes offered by brands such as Simms or Keen with open/hybrid sandal design can allow direct sun exposure, so you will need to apply sunscreen if you wear open shoes. Athletic/tennis/cross-training shoes are not recommended, they have a tendency to slip and slide on a wet deck during a fish fight.