One of the things that I’ve preached for a long time is being aware of and to protect yourself from the sun, especially when you are on the water.  In my 2012 post, What To Bring On An OvernightI mention among other things, a hat (So Cal Salty Lucky Yellowtail hat preferred), my Costa Sunglasses, a hoody, and both sunscreen & lip balm with SPF protection.

Most of those items are still standard checklist items to bring on every trip…hat, hoody, Costas…that will probably never change.  I still have sunscreen and lip balm in my bag, but to be honest, I don’t really use them a whole lot.  I found that with the sunscreen, I might apply it once and it wouldn’t happen again the rest of the trip.  I’d get too involved with the fishing.  My hands would get nasty from handling fish/bait and it just wouldn’t happen.

AFTCO_sun_fullbodyIt also started to sketch me out when I was bait fishing for sensitive species like tuna, yellowtail, and white seabass.  I’ve seen guys apply sunscreen, then “wash” their hands with bait (like literally mashing up anchovies in their hands) to mask the sunscreen.  I didn’t want to go in that direction.

Instead, I’ve taken to wearing a sun mask and long sleeve sun shirts by AFTCO  (see above and right).  I don’t have to think about it as much and I’m not dealing with applying sunscreen.

It’s a very effective way to avoid being overly exposed to the sun…as long as you wear it.  I still find my face and ears, sometimes my forearms getting a little burnt because I get caught up in fishing and forget to pull up the mask from around my neck or didn’t go long sleeves.  I literally have to remind myself to pull up the mask sometimes, especially when it’s low light and other anglers want to accuse you of just trying to be cool with your L.A. facemask thing going on (Anjard).  But I digress…

IMG_0522Earlier this year, I was contacted by a company called Waxhead.   Waxhead makes sun defense products, sunscreen, masks etc., but what struck me was their Sun Defense Nutrient Bars.  “How can a snack bar offer sun protection?” I asked myself.  Waxhead explains it here, but essentially what it comes down to is the bars are packed with anti-oxidants.  When you ingest the anti-oxidants on a regular basis, your own sun self defense is activated.

I was curious, so I accepted their offer to give it a try.  They sent me enough bars to have one a day for 2 weeks.  They say it takes a week to kick in, but I’ve been averaging twice a month to go fishing since I got my current job, so 2 weeks was perfect.  For a baseline, I went out and didn’t wear any sun protection – no mask, no sunscreen.  By the time the trip was over and I had gone home, I was feeling pretty crispy.

Then I ate the bars, and went out again.  This time, not so much.

IMG_3043Turns out I wasn’t the only one to field test the product.  Overall the results were similar.  I understand that the field testing wasn’t exactly a clinical trial, but my personal experience has me believing there is a positive effect to the bars.

The nice thing is the bars are pretty good (dark chocolate banana is my favorite) and they work well for me as a quick breakfast that tides me over until lunch (which is great on the water too!).  I like that this is something I can do, that doesn’t involve me thinking about it when I’m fishing.  It also just fits into my normal morning routine.

Give them a try.  I’ll also have some product on my June 9th Eclipse offshore trip, so you can try a bar then too.  See you at the rail!







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