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house, that I felt that tight tingly sensation signaling the onset of a bad sunburn. Then it dawned on me that in my haste I had forgotten to put sunblock on my back.

That turned out to be the worst case of sunburn I ever had, forcing me to miss work and take medication for the pain. My back peeled for weeks, and I still cringe when I think about the damage to my skin.

Such oversights aren't rare among fishermen, who often let the anticipation of the trip overshadow their need to take care of themselves. Similarly, we sometimes don't properly prepare for being outdoors for an extended period of time. You might not think you'll need that extra sweater if you're planning your trip while sitting in a comfortable, climate-controlled living room with a full belly. (Heck, it's springtime!) But get out there on the streambank, with a damp, cold wind working its way down your spine, and you'll wish you had brought two sweaters.

Here, then, are some rules, tips, and recommended gear to make your fishing trip a comfortable and safe one. Shoes and Boots

No matter where you'll be fishing, don't ever assume that your footwear will remain dry. Banks and shorelines get muddy; boats get sprayed; it rains. And there's always that rock just offshore, that great-looking spot to cast from, that you can probably reach if you take a running jump

Forget it. Plan on having to walk in water, or at least on getting your shoes wet, when fishing. This narrows down your choice considerably.

Calf-high lace-up rubber boots are the all-around (if cliched) preferred footwear for bank and shoreline anglers. Even if you're not planning on wading (covered next), you can step into water past your ankle and not worry about wet feet. You can buy a very good pair of boots for less than $50, and they'll probably last you a decade.

In hot weather, where wet feet won't be a problem, an old pair of shoes or sneakers will work just fine (and will be more comfortable than rubber boots anyway). I save my worn-out running shoes for this purpose, changing into them when I get to the water. I've tried the recent water shoes, which are made of stretchy lightweight nylon with a thin sole, and found them to be fine for strolling the beach but lacking in support and protection when fishing.

Fish Recipes

Fish Recipes

This is a great collection of delicious fish and shell fish recipes that you will love.

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