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Which fishing shirt is best?

The best fishing shirts are comfortable, breathable and nonrestrictive, so you can move about as needed throughout the day. They should also be quick-drying and, ideally, able to wick away water and sweat. For fishing trips that involve a lot of exposure to the sun, the shirt should also have a high enough UPF rating to protect your skin from potential burns. A top fishing shirt is the Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle UPF 50 Long-Sleeve Fishing Shirt.

What to know before you buy a fishing shirt

Comfort, flexibility and breathability

Whether you enjoy fishing for recreation or commercial purposes, your clothes should be comfortable for the activity and environment. One advantage of fishing shirts is that they are usually lightweight and somewhat stretchy. This keeps them from getting in the way as you cast the line, reel in the fish and more. It also sets these shirts apart from standard T-shirts, which are sometimes designed more with style than practicality in mind.

Unlike regular shirts, fishing shirts are also typically more breathable than others. Most are made to let air through them, which is often essential for those who fish in hotter climates. Many of these shirts have built-in vents or perforated holes strategically placed throughout the shirt, such as in the back or under the arms. These vents let air circulate more freely and prevent heat and moisture from getting trapped against the skin.


Most athleticwear has moisture-wicking properties, which can move moisture from the skin to the outer layer of the fabric. Once the moisture reaches the outer material, it can dry more quickly than if it was trapped against the skin. This prevents you from feeling clammy, hot or sticky.

Moisture-wicking does not mean the shirt is waterproof, though. For example, if the garment is soaked in water or sweat, it can still take time to dry fully.


Most fishing shirts offer at least basic protection from environmental factors such as the sun. Some of this is achieved with long sleeves, thicker materials and full coverage, but many modern shirts also have built-in ultraviolet protection.

Certain high-performance fishing shirts have an ultraviolet protection factor rating of at least 50. The higher the number, the greater the percentage of the fabric blocking the sun’s rays and protecting the skin.

Even if you choose a shirt with ultraviolet protection, it’s still wise to wear sunscreen if you plan to be outdoors for a while. You can also wear a sun hat, sunglasses and a lightweight undershirt for additional protection.

Besides sun protection, some fishing shirts also are water-resistant, which can help keep your skin dry longer. This is especially helpful when wading into waist-deep water or reeling in larger fish that tend to splash.

What to look for in a quality fishing shirt


Many fishing shirts, including performance ones, are made from synthetic materials such as polyester. These fabrics are great for outerwear and athleticwear because they are usually:

  • Moisture-wicking
  • Stretchy
  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • Tear-resistant
  • Shrink-resistant
  • Quick-drying
  • Long-lasting
  • Resistant to pilling

Some fishing shirts consist of other materials, such as:

  • Wool: Wool is breathable, moisture-wicking and easy to clean. It’s usually found in warmer, heavier garments.
  • Cotton: Low-maintenance, breathable and hypoallergenic, cotton is a good choice for casual activities, especially in cooler temperatures. It doesn’t wick away moisture well, though. Depending on the shirt’s thickness, it could also tear more easily than other materials.
  • Nylon or spandex blends: Some athletic attire uses a blend of materials, such as nylon or spandex, to make the clothes stretchier. These garments are often less restrictive and more resistant to tearing.

Consider the environment, temperature and type of fishing you’re going to do when choosing the right clothes.

Size and fit

When choosing the right shirt for fishing, look at the size and fit. In terms of fit, there are several options, including:

  • Slim fit
  • Classic fit
  • Regular fit

The fit mainly determines how the shirt conforms to the wearer’s body. It can also affect the garment’s comfort in key areas, such as around the upper back, chest and under the arms. Not every manufacturer lists the fit, so keep this in mind.

As for size, fishing shirts come in virtually every size, including:

  • Extra-small
  • Small
  • Medium
  • Large
  • Extra-large
  • Extra-extra-large

Most shirts come with a sizing chart you can use to compare different options and find the best one for you. If you’re not sure which size to select, measure around the widest part of your:

  • Shoulders
  • Arms (run the tape measure across the top of your shoulders, ending at the wrist or where you want the shirt cuff to be)
  • Chest
  • Waist (start about an inch below the belly button)


There are short-sleeved and long-sleeved fishing shirts. Choose longer sleeves if you want more environmental protection or if it’s chilly out. If you’d prefer something nonrestrictive or expect to get your arms wet frequently, go with shorter sleeves.


A few shirts for fishing come with two to six pockets. These are usually water-resistant and can hold important accessories such as a cell phone, wallet or keys. Some have zippers or buttons.


Some of these shirts are button-ups, while others are pullovers. You can also find shirts with larger or smaller collars, which can affect coverage at the neck and serve an aesthetic purpose.

Color and pattern

These shirts come in many colors and prints, such as:

  • Bright, dark, neutral or pastel colors
  • Solid colors
  • Patterns, such as stripes or checkers

How much you can expect to spend on a fishing shirt

Fishing shirts cost $15-$45, on average. Those on the higher end are typically made with performance and protection in mind.

Fishing shirt FAQ

What other accessories should I get for fishing?

A. Besides having the right outerwear, such as the shirt and pants or shorts, wear closed shoes, sunglasses and a sun hat. Consider wearing wader pants with closed pockets if you plan on getting wet.

How long do fishing shirts last?

A. This depends on material and environment. Fishing in saltwater, for example, can cause the garment to deteriorate more quickly than if you were to fish in freshwater. A high-quality performance shirt should last for months or even years with proper care.

What is the best fishing shirt to buy?

Top fishing shirt

Best Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle UPF 50 Long-Sleeve Fishing Shirt

Columbia PFG Terminal Tackle UPF 50 Long-Sleeve Fishing Shirt 

What you need to know: This heavy-duty shirt is durable and offers excellent protection from the sun, making it perfect for all-day fishing trips.

What you’ll love: It features Omni-Shade, which blocks UVA and UVB rays, and Omni-Wick technology, which can remove moisture and keep the skin cool. With a UPF 50 rating, it can also help prevent sunburns. It comes in 18 sizes ranging from extra-small to 6XL.

What you should consider: The shirts run large.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon and Dick’s Sporting Goods

Top fishing shirt for the money

Best Baleaf Long-Sleeve Shirt UPF 50+ Quick-Dry Fishing Shirt

Baleaf Long-Sleeve Shirt UPF 50+ Quick-Dry Fishing Shirt

What you need to know: Lightweight, stretchy and durable, this shirt can last a long time for recreational fishing.

What you’ll love: It’s available in 25 colors and comes in seven sizes, from extra-small to 3X-large. It’s polyester, making it moisture-wicking, fast-drying and reliable for athletic wearers. It also has UPF 50 sun protection. Design options include pullovers and zippers.

What you should consider: The shirt is not shrink-resistant.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Best Paramount Outdoors Eag Elite Short-Sleeve Button-Down Performance Fishing Shirt

Paramount Outdoors Eag Elite Short-Sleeve Button-Down Performance Fishing Shirt

What you need to know: With a UPF 50 rating, this performance shirt is ideal for anyone who wants all-day comfort in any environment.

What you’ll love: It has laser perforated holes in the back and sides for maximum breathability. Plus, it’s polyester and spandex, so it’s quick-drying, stretchy and moisture-wicking. With a button-down style, you can wear this shirt when not fishing as well. It comes in coastal blue and silver.

What you should consider: It has limited pockets.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon


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Angela Watson writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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