Hats keep the sun out of the face and rain out of the eyes…for the most part.
The addition of style makes the hats purpose ambiguous. Gangs adopt certain baseball teams because of their colors or names; people leave their stickers on, and bills flat. There are probably tens of thousands of Yankee hat wears that couldn’t tell Derek Jeter from Derek Zoolander.
Hats can tell you the genus and species of fisherman in most cases.
“Orvis” – fly fishing
“Shakespeare” – spin or cast fishing
“Bass Pro Shops” – Duh
“Women want me, fish fear me!” – Probably a crazy old dude, but fishing for fun which is the point.
A “fishing hat” should never be used near the word “outfit”. It is an integral part of fishing gear. We all know how certain hats are just fishy and to wash off that luck would be akin to breaking your rod over your knee. At the same time, a hat is just a hat. If you want non-verbal communication, do it with eye-contact and a smile. Not, “Look at my gear, I am obviously better than you.” Some treat hats as billboards, touting a brand to put emphasis on their premium dedication to the sport or premium bank account. I’ve seen dudes in brand-new duds with a premium brand sewn in block letters across a hat. It all topped off what looked like a kit on how to look like a pretentious jerk once he started cursing for all of earth to hear for getting his fly caught behind him, then in his waders, then in another tree. Just like retro hats with straight bills and hologram stickers, it’s about image even for fishermen. That dude looked like a fishing model, but he was more of a baby.
I saw a guy in brand new Simms waders fly fishing with his son.
His hat said, “No. 1 Dad”. I liked that guy. The hat was probably cheap and maybe even uncomfortable, but that wasn’t the point.
I got this hat at The Hook Up fly shop in Ketchikan, Alaska a few years go. I wore it for a few weeks before I thought it was river ready. It has the trucker mesh in back which makes it breathable when it’s warm, but raining and you need a hood. The bill is slightly longer than others and isn’t a “topper” – hats that sit on top of the head and don’t come down the sides. Many trucker hats I have tried have been toppers because of the short bill and lack of space to fit the head. Toppers fall off in stiff winds. Toppers get caught on branches. Toppers aren’t for fishing.
I got the same hat in the camo model at The Fly Shop from a Simms rep during the Trout Season BBQ last spring. It took awhile to put the same trust in the new camo hat, but after a few months it earned its casts and I fish them equally. It is also better suited for formal occasions around town since the orange hat has become…uh..river-chic?