It takes one to know one, we guess. When I first talked to Kent Hickman I was ready to talk to a guy who had spent more time using a sewing machine. This is not what I found. The company he owns and founded was a company made by a guy who had spent his time chasing fish. Not just chasing them, but chasing them for money. Speaking as somebody that decided that fishing for the big bucks was not in my genetic structure. For guys like Hickman the chase is only made better by the coin. The change is a side effect of tournament fishing. It is the competition that makes their blood run. And blood running is no rare happening in tournament fishing either. For some reason wire is sharper, hooks more out of control, and the chance stuff will go wrong and draw red high.
Great Gear Designed for the Real World
When we first found out that Kent's company was going to be working with us, we visited their site to find out a little bit about them. Some publishers do not write about the companies they work with. Not in a true sense of the word. They go to the clients' sites, copy some text, connect it to a really original story somebody else wrote for the guy or girl's company, and glue them together to create what Google considers plagiarism. We actually try to talk to people. Us talking about why we personally admire a product or service means something to our readers. And it took us all of two blinks of our eyes on Hickman's beautiful and simple web site to see something new. Something that addresses a problem we had clearly noticed in other high-end (and usually high priced) fishing shirts and face covers.
|Products from Breathe Like a Fish were designed by a tournament angler|
Mesh. The shirts had sides built from mesh. Imagine that. A shirt that let my skin breathe. Breathe like a fish. But as cool as the shirts were, it was the face covers that really got us going. Going so hard we already fish with them. They let you breathe too - actual fresh air.
Protecting the skin
We have written about micro fabric before and with good reason for our fishing community. The sun is dangerous. Many of us on the site who have some decades behind us and many hours spent on the water have had bouts with skin cancer. It has killed a friend or two. And looking back, the time they spent having the star our planet circles turn them into handsome, leathery outdoorsmen probably spawned those first deadly cells. We still spend too much time on the water without sufficient sun screen. It can be made of mother's milk, but it's a liquid that you have to put on and one that sweats off quickly and needs constant reapplication. We hate to say it, but we are of the "do as we say, not as we do" school of outdoors writers. Like that cooking lady teaching you how to make hamburgers with donut rolls while she injected insulin in her thighs below the oven, we have spent thousands of hours being burnt. It is only through God's good grace that we did not develop melanoma. But you just might.
Gills on the company's neck collar products let the material breathe around your neck and
shoulders while you can breathe from your nose and mouth.
The reason we are talking about dying on a fishing site has to do with those micro fabric shirts. They changed the industry, and maybe saved a lot of angling trips. They provide a 50 level protection from the sun's potentially deadly rays and take about thirty seconds to dry like they were made by heavenly silk worms. They are the best thing to happen to fishing since circle hooks. When they first appeared on the market about a decade ago, a lot of us bought them. And using and wearing them protects us far more than diluted, disgusting, and largely unused liquids.
Within a year of the shirts showing up, they began to be accompanied by matching neck and face covers. Since we tend to spend a lot of time looking in the same direction the sun is shining, an Angler's neck is the target for more sun than the rest of their body. You might burn your legs, and you might burn the tops of your feet, but most of all you burn your neck. Both sides. I can remember entire pieces of flesh coming off the back of my neck in one sheet after six hours in Belize chasing those big, fat, and relatively stupid bonefish. Essentially an open sock, the apparel slides over your head and covers your neck and the front of your face below your eyes and sunglasses. The concept is wonderful, and further protects you from the dangerous light.
The beauty of the Breathe Like a Fish product line - especially the face pieces - is that they are open. The mesh covers enough of the skin surface to protect you, but if you have ever been stuffed into a competitive neck piece and been unable to breathe, and had the humidity of your breath soak the clothing like a napkin, you will appreciate the idea behind Kent's product fast. These gators as they are sometimes called have openings or 'gills' on the side that allow you to..... wait for it.... Breathe Like A Fish.
We started out about talking to a tournament fisherman. Kent Hickman almost laughed when I asked him if he came from an apparel background. I had asked him why the heck he thought about a shirt and apparel business. "Fishing, Gary. I was on the bow of a boat one day, I could feel myself burning, my face was sweating in a sock, and I asked myself why the hell somebody didn't make these micros with breathing space. Why couldn't I feel more comfortable in this stuff? I know it protects me, but it wraps me and I cannot breathe. Or at least my skin can't."
I asked if going into the apparel business was a good idea. "The business is three years old, and has grown every year since day one. It is a success. I hardly thought about the business compared to how convinced I was in making the best fishing shirt and gear on the market. I needed the product myself, and we're blessed with success because we make a really functional, safe, and comfortable product. I believe in it."
And so do we. Check out Kent's outstanding 100% Made In The USA products. Considering the quality, Breathe Like A Fish apparel is very competitively priced. And make sure you get involved in our weekly giveaways by getting on our mailing list. You just might win a set for yourself :)