Top Picks for Weather as Hot as the Conditions of the U.S. Open

with U.S. Open champion Cliff Pirch

Bassmaster Elite Series pro Clifford Pirch knows a thing about fishing in warm weather. The Arizona pro has won the WON Bass U.S. Open on the blazing-hot Lake Mead three times and moved up the ranks by dominating desert fisheries in the hottest conditions bass anglers fish anywhere in the country. He knows the importance of protecting himself from the sun and takes it seriously.

As summer hits, he has a system for protecting himself from the elements and always makes sure that he is ready for anything.

Get in the Habit

Pirch likes to discuss to fellow anglers the importance of protecting his hands from the sun while fishing. He's a big proponent of covering up and stresses this to all anglers, especially younger anglers.

"I am a big proponent of wearing gloves to protect the tops of your hands from sun damage," he said. "I've worn gloves for a long time and love the AFTCO Solago Sun Gloves. They have an open palm and most of your fingers are exposed so you can still fish comfortably with them on and it is pretty easy to get used to fishing with them on."

While not necessarily protecting him from the sun, he also preaches to anglers the importance of wearing some sort of ear protection while driving the boat. For the past ten or 15-years, he has worn earplugs while operating his boat.

"My Suzuki is dead silent, but it is the wind noise at 70 miles per hour that will add up over time," he said. "I got in the habit of wearing them a long time ago and now it is just second nature to put them in my pocket when I am fishing and back in my ears when I start up the outboard. Long term, that added noise can really add up and create long-term hearing damage."

As an avid hunter, this is especially important to Pirch.

"I want to be able to hear the turkeys calling and elk bugling," he said. "Your hearing is something you don't appreciate until you lose it. I always stress that to anglers, especially the young guys just starting out."

The Right Protection

As an angler from the desert southwest, Pirch has learned that clothing can significantly impact how you perform on the water and adds that proper hydration is another key to his success over the years.

"Back in college, I would drink sodas on the water and that is the worst thing to do," he said. "Staying properly hydrated will allow you to fish and think better and that comes from drinking more water than you think you need. Tournament bass fishing is hard on your body and you need to do everything you can to stay hydrated."

Along with hydration, he makes sure that he wears the proper clothing when on the water in summer and beyond.

"I like the AFTCO Samurai Long Sleeve Sun Protection Hoodie," he said. "It keeps the sun off of you. It also keeps you very cool and still has good sun protection."

In addition to wearing a hooded sun shirt, he likes to cover his face with an AFTCO face mask.

"I've worn a bunch of different brands, and I really like how they fit," he said. "They have better material and you can wash them over and over without them getting little burrs and damaged. It's a sleek material and they come in some cool patterns."

Pants and Outerwear

The final piece of Pirch's top picks for spring and summer gear is having the right pants and raingear to withstand the elements. One of his favorite pairs of pants is the Pact Technical Fishing Pants.

"They are very comfortable and you can wear them in all weather conditions," he said. "They are really good when it is hot outside and you can wear thermals underneath them when it is a little colder out. That makes them great for this time of year when the weather is always changing."

For raingear, he has a set of all of the latest and greatest from AFTCO, but the Anhydrous fishing jacket and bibs are his pick for spring to summer fishing.

"Most of the time during the spring, that's what I'm wearing," he said. "I like the Hydronaut during the colder months and switch to the Anhydrous when it gets a little warmer."

As an angler from Arizona, Clifford Pirch takes sun protection more seriously than most. He's spent his life fishing in the desert and knows that proper hydration and the right gear can make all of the difference in staying on the top of his game while on the water.