If you’re out on the water 11 days (I try to at least) a week like I am, you’ve probably figured out that some kind of weird fisherman’s/farmer’s/whatever tan is inevitable unless you cover up. Long afternoons on the poling platform can leave your shins, forehead, and forearms red as a freshly boiled lobster if you dont wear your lucky fishing hat and some long sleeve gear. Recently ‘buffs’ have become very popular and are worn by many fisherman out on the flats, and it has even spread to offshore and freshwater fishing.
Fishing the humid Florida weather with a standard buff can leave your sunglasses fogged up. It’s happened to you before- stalking up on a nice school of fish only to let out a deep breath from all that excitement and all of a sudden your Costa’s become blinders from the fog that you just created on the lenses. This is where Breathe Like a Fish or ‘BLAF’ products come in.
BLAF has created light weight and breathable fishing apparel that aims to solve the issue of fogging and overheating in your standard microfiber gear. I spoke with the owner of BLAF a few months ago and he was kind enough to send over a sample of their shirt and mask for us to test out on the water. Another plus? All products are MADE IN THE USA!
The BLAF Mask
The first piece of gear you need to hear about from Breathe Like a Fish is their version of the ‘buff’ mask. Nowadays the standard ‘stretchy-cotton-stocking-looking-thing buff’ is something any company can get made- but it has its downfalls. After a few washes a standard buff begins to curl on the edges, get itchy when worn, and fade. Not to mention the fogging issues above when you have your nose and mouth covered up on a super hot afternoon. The material which is BLAF is made out of doesn’t experience these issues. After several washes, the mask has kept it’s shape, not curled at the edges, and allows you to…wait for it…BREATHE! Sorry, I had to say it.
While wearing the BLAF mask you can now breath out with your nose covered and not experience fogging of your sunglasses. This is due to the mesh netting sewn into the front of the mask. To me, this is a win right here. Of course, if you repeatedly breath heavily in quick succession your glasses will then fog up, but let’s try not to do our day’s cardio routine on the poling platform and you’ll be ok. The mask did have one issue for me, though. Due to the nature of the material it’s made out of (as opposed to the standard buff material) it was very easy to slide back down my head on its own. I found that I had to stretch the mask pretty far over the corner of the rear of my head while wearing a hat for it to stay put.
Note: The review model did not contain the ‘gills’ that the new revision of the mask has.
The BLAF Shirt
The Breath Like a Fish shirt is another innovation in the BLAF line to the standard microfiber shirt. The BLAF shirt also has mesh netting sew into it, but much more than the mask of course. The mesh netting extends down the sides of the shirt, under the sleeves, and also on the built-in mask. You heard right- the BLAF shirt we reviewed had a built in buff/mask too! They are also available without a mask, and in short sleeve if you so desire.
The BLAF shirts are light, and super breathable. On a day with a slight breeze, you can feel it going right through your shirt. If you’ve ever worn a Columbia PFG type shirt with the mesh back hatch on a windy day, this has a similar effect.
The long sleeves are great for those days on the water where you would normally get a nice sunburn on your forearms, and the shirt has enough material in the waist section to not ride up on your midsection while reaching up and down on the push pole.
Get to Breathing like a Fish…
All in all I would say Breathe Like a Fish products are a worthwhile investment if you’re serious about cooling down out on the water. If you spend hours in the hear of the day on the platform, the BLAF products may just be the ticket you’re looking for. Did I mention they’re reasonably priced? Only $21.99 for the mask and $44.95 for the long sleeve shirt with built in mask that we reviewed here today. Get yours on their website here.