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Shore Fishing
home : features : shore fishing
August 8, 2022

7/29/2022 12:59:00 PM
Shore Fishing

Kimball & Les Beery
Angler's Guide to Kayak Fishing Southwest Florida

My Favorite Fishing Hat
I guess most of us have a favorite something we associate with good times and fun fishing. It may be a rod or reel, a lure or tackle bag, or even a pair of cargo shorts. They’re just “things” but many anglers get superstitious about these things and suffer psychologically when they’re missing. Especially if their absence is associated with fishless days. This is my tale of woe about a favorite 40-year-old hat that finally gave up.
My parents lived in Venice and during one of our visits, my mother bought me a weird-looking hat to protect my balding head, face, and neck from the Southwest Florida sun. It grew on me though (almost literally) as I began to appreciate the oversized bill, adjustable bungee sizer, and the bungee chin string on windy days. That chin string kept the hat with me during fast runs across our local bays. When we evolved from boats to kayaks, the chin strap could be tucked up inside the cap, out of the way.
For forty years I have worn it on the beach and kayaking in the sun. It has stood up to lots of dunkings when I dipped it in the water and put that magically cool cap back on. I suspect the constant dunkings and sweat took their toll on the fabric.
The final straw came when Kimball, the love of my life, coauthor, and fishing partner for 54 years, decided it was just too grungy and needed a wash. So, my smelly old fishing hat went into the washing machine and set on the delicate cycle. That’s where it died. The fabric dissolved, and the bill detached from the cap. It has a Columbia™ label on it but a search for a duplicate on their website came up empty. I find a lot of products that seem perfectly designed for the job get removed from production and replaced with an inferior “re-engineered” knock-off that must be a few pennies cheaper to make. After scouring the Internet, we still couldn’t find a similar replacement. It’s still barely serviceable so we plan to put some patches or duct tape over the holes.  
Of course, I have other fishing caps and hats but none with the same features I came to rely on. While wearing any of these other caps, Kimball out fishes me 10-1, including trips where we use the same lures in the same areas, and I still came up fishless. I’m not a superstitious person but it seems a stretch to blame coincidence for my bad luck since my favorite old hat died.
To put this theory to the test, I’m going to wear my holey, stained, and soon to be patched old cap on our next trip. I don’t know who or what I’ll blame if my string of fishless trips continues while wearing my lucky cap. Of course, I could be less stubborn about using only artificials and try a few of Kim’s live shrimp. That might be another reason she is catching more fish. We’ll see how it goes but, meanwhile, don’t let anyone wash your lucky old fishing hat.
Update: We went kayak fishing yesterday and I wore my old cap in its dilapidated condition and had much better luck. I actually kept pace with Kimball on bass, but she landed a tilapia on an artificial worm to pull ahead in the “most species” category. I did get sunburned through the big hole in the top, but some duct tape will fix that for now. And if I’m lucky, Kimball, who’s a talented seamstress to boot, will make me another one just like the old one minus the holes. Hopefully, my new cap will have the same magic as the old one. I need all the help I can get.

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