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How to Wash Fishing Shirts

May 18, 2019

Is fishing a sport? This question has stirred up a lot of debate over the years. Contrary to popular belief, the activity does require physical exertion. You’d be surprised just how tiring it can be to haul a 50-pound tuna out of the waters! 

Sure, it might not always be competitive (people fish for leisure all the time), but there are tournaments out there that attract plenty of fans. Take the Bassmaster Classic, for instance—it’s been held every year since 1971. There’s a good reason why it’s popular too, the winner takes home a six-digit cash prize!

What Kind of Gear is Needed for Fishing?

This goes without saying but you’ll need a fishing rod. As you might be aware, there is a great variety out there, all of which are designed for different uses. For instance, casting rods allow you to accurately place the lure in a specific spot whereas trolling rods let you drag a bait behind a moving boat. In addition to that, you’ll need other equipment such as lines, hooks, floats, spears, traps, sinkers, and nets.

different types of fishing gear

As far as apparel goes, there’s no specific “uniform” that you have to wear (unless you’re competing in a tournament, of course). With that said, it might be a good idea to invest in a proper fishing shirt—these garments will protect you from the elements while enhancing your performance.

How is a Fishing Shirt Different From a Regular Shirt?

Fishing shirts generally have several pockets (sometimes up to six)—these allow convenient access to your gear. Not only that, but they come with a high collar, which acts as a form of protection against the sun. Roll-tab sleeves are also common—you wouldn’t want them to fall down constantly and get wet, after all. 

The shirt itself is also made for a full range of movements. In other words, it allows you to easily cast and pull out your rod. More often than not, they feature vented panels, which helps with cooling. While it depends on the shirt, most will also provide protection from the cold, bugs, and sweat. Don’t forget—fishing often involves spending many hours outside!

Top Brands of Fishing Shirts

Fishing shirts, like most clothing, are manufactured by a number of companies, some more well-known than others. We’ll be going over some of the more popular ones below. How many of them have you heard of?


Columbia Sportswear sells a variety of outerwear including fishing gear. In addition to fishing shirts, they also sell pants, shorts, vests, hats, and accessories, all of which are geared towards the sport. Aside from that, they manufacture footwear and camping equipment as well for outdoor enthusiasts. With that said, they are best known for their jackets. In fact, it was thanks to their jackets that they grew rapidly many years ago.

Costa Del Mar

Costa Del Mar is a Florida-based company that manufactures polarized sunglasses. They sell a wide range of products—including a line meant for anglers. More specifically, they sell items that are specifically designed for saltwater fishing, bass fishing, and fly fishing. In addition to sunglasses, they sell fishing shirts that are made from technical fibers.

Field & Stream

A subsidiary of Dick’s Sporting Goods, Field & Stream sells an array of outdoor recreation gear including those for fishing. Not only do they sell shirts, but their catalog also includes shorts, vests, bibs, gloves, sunglasses, hats, and more. It’s probably worth mentioning that they sell accessories as well such as coolers, nets, scales, bait knives, holders, and more.

Magellan Outdoors

Magellan Outdoors is a brand that operates under the Academy banner. They offer a variety of fishing tops including ones that are short-sleeved and ones that are long-sleeved. On top of that, they also sell shorts, pants, hats, and more, all of which can be worn for fishing as well. In fact, they even have their own line of outdoors wading boots!


Pelagic is a company that is devoted to the ocean lifestyle—that is, they’re deeply rooted in dive, surf, and fishing culture. As such, it’s not surprising to know that they offer a diverse selection of high-performance apparel, all of which are designed to be worn in the vicinity of water. Some of the products that they sell include shirts, footwear, headwear, sunglasses, and gloves.


Orvis is a company that specializes in fly fishing gear. In addition to their apparel, which is designed for unbeatable performance, they also sell rods, reels, waders, fishing packs, vests, fly boxes, and more. They even manufacture fishing boats, which you can take out with you into the water!

How to Wash Fishing Shirts

It’s probably a good idea to wash your shirt after coming home from a fishing trip. No matter how careful you are, chances are, some of the water would have gotten onto the fabric. Not to mention there’s also the issue of sweat—especially if it’s a hot summer’s day.

washing fishing shirts

Don’t want your shirts to develop a smell? Then be sure to give them a good wash! That will help to prevent odors from compounding over time.

We’ll be going over a couple of ways on how you can wash your fishing shirt.

Washing Machine Instructions for Fishing Shirts

We mentioned this earlier but most fishing shirts are made from technical fibers such as nylon and polyester. In other words, it’s perfectly fine for you to pop them into the washer! As a general rule, however, you might want to check the care label first.

The first step in the washing process is to turn the shirt inside out. What good does this do, you ask? As it turns out, this is actually helpful in a couple of ways. For one thing, it will prevent the surface from wearing out; it will also make it easier to wash out the dirt and grime that’s embedded in the fabric. Want the shirts to last longer? If so, you might want to place them in a net laundry bag as well (a clean pillowcase is a great alternative).

using laundry net

Note: You can wash your fishing shirts with other garments as long as the colors align. The last thing that you’d want to do is to mix a white shirt with a pair of black pants! You can probably guess why.

Load your fishing shirt into the washer. From there, you’ll want to add the soap—pour in a scoop (or two scoops, depending on the size of your load) of ACTIVE detergent into the dispenser. Once you’ve done that, select a gentle setting and press start. Remember to always wash your shirts with cold water; hot water will likely cause the material to deteriorate quickly.

Wait for the machine to finish the cycle before taking out your fishing shirts. Remove them from the laundry bags if necessary and line them dry. Avoid using the dryer—the shirts are not designed to withstand extreme heat; doing so will cause the fibers to wear down, not to mention that there’s also a chance of shrinkage.

Washing Your Fishing Shirts by Hand

Don’t want to go through the hassle of using the washing machine? No problem! How about washing your fishing shirts in the sink? It’s not as tedious as it sounds, trust me.

To begin, you’ll want to fill a bucket or sink with water (don’t make it too full, otherwise, you risk spilling the water later). Next, add the ACTIVE detergent—half a scoopful will suffice. Agitate the liquid with your hand to mix and dissolve the powder. Once that’s done, place your fishing shirts into the mixture. You might have to press down on them to make sure that they’re submerged fully. Let them sit for 15 to 30 minutes.

hand wash fishing shirts

Pick up the fishing shirt once the time is up. Remove any remaining debris by rubbing the fabric gently against itself. Swirl it in the solution a few times before putting it under the faucet—the goal is to rinse off all of the detergent. Remember, having leftover detergent on your clothes is never a good thing as it can irritate your skin! Transfer the shirt onto a clean towel once the water is clear; you can use it to blot off some of the excess moisture.

The last step is to hang it up to dry. Once again, avoid putting your fishing shirts in the dryer at all costs!

Best Way to Remove Stains From Fishing Shirts

It’s not uncommon for fishing shirts to get stained—after all, you’ll be dealing with floppy fish! Luckily, it’s easy to wash them out. Here’s how.

Fill a small bowl with warm water. Pour in a bit of ACTIVE detergent and mix; you should get a bubbly mixture. Dampen a cloth or soft brush and use it to saturate the problem area with the solution. The key is to soak the entire stain—apply it from both sides of the fishing shirt if you have to.

Let the solution sit on the fabric for 20 to 30 minutes—that will give the detergent time to work its magic. Once the time is up, check the stain. Launder the shirt as normal if it is gone. If it is still visible, you might want to repeat the above steps again.

The Best Laundry Detergent for Fishing Shirts

Wondering what type of laundry detergent you should use for your fishing shirts? Consider ACTIVE detergent—it’s formulated specifically for activewear (yes, fishing shirts fall into this category).

active detergent for activewear

Unlike conventional detergents, which are made with old school fabrics in mind, ACTIVE detergent contains the right ingredients that will allow it to break down and dissolve sweat, dirt, and body oils. Chelating agents will also return the fabric back to its original state once the washing is complete. What does this mean? Your fishing shirt will last much longer! Wouldn’t you want to get your money’s worth?

Another great thing about the product is that it is all natural. That’s right, ACTIVE detergent does not contain any harsh chemicals. You won’t have to worry about it irritating your skin or polluting the water supplies! Speaking of which, it does not contain any fillers or fragrances either. This makes it an ideal choice for individuals with sensitivities.

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Picture of Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant

Sophia Grant brings her extensive knowledge of laundry and clothing care to the masses with her intensive cleaning guides. Her thorough understanding of fabrics, detergents, and washing techniques helps readers master the art of maintaining their wardrobe. Sophia's advice ensures that anyone can achieve professional-level results at home, keeping their garments looking pristine and lasting longer.

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