By John P. Lopez

There really is no reason for a God-fearing American-made man to own anything but a fishing shirt.

I’m a Columbia man myself, but whatever your preference, it will do.

You can fish in a fishing shirt, of course. But don’t be silly. You can do everything from get married, to meet foreign dignitaries, to work out or dig a trench in a fishing shirt.

But to get the most from your fishing shirts, there is a technique and strategy to be employed.

You must know the Four Stages Of A Fishing Shirt.

STAGE ONE: The dress fishing shirt.

For formal affairs and first-dates. This shirt must be crisp, clean, pressed and probably purchased within the previous three months.

I’ve done my TV show and gone to church in my dress fishing shirts. I plan on walking my daughter down the aisle wearing one, someday. Slap a nice sports coat and slacks on and — bingo — formal wear.

Here is one of mine…

wp image 1153879752 John Lopez Four Stages of a fishing shirt

STAGE TWO: The sporty casual. Once a dress fishing shirt, it still is a solid, mostly sharp fishing shirt to be worn at backyard barbecues and get-togethers or nights out on the town. It simply has a few miles on it, but the collar tends to droop and it’s not quite as crisp as before.

Still, it’s vented, bright and versa-style.

Here is one from my closet…

wp image 1451800392 John Lopez Four Stages of a fishing shirt

STAGE THREE: The actual, you know, fishing shirt. This is the one you actually fish in. No longer suitable for Stage Two, its color is faded, like the one below, there may be a pit stain (like the one shown) and it’s seen its share of fish guts, spilled barbecue sauce and been used as a napkin and/or handerchief multiple times. It has a faint scent of bay/sweat that makes it divine.

Here is an example… Which is wrinkled and faded from months of wear on the bay.

wp image 852423422 John Lopez Four Stages of a fishing shirt

STAGE FOUR: “If you wear that shirt one more time, I’m leaving you.”

But of course, you do wear it. And she doesn’t leave you, because if she forces you to make a choice between her and this shirt, she knows the odds are not greatly in her favor.

This shirt is stained. Faded. Torn. It smells like a crabber’s laundry basket. It’s seen it all. The one shown has a cigar burn — on the shoulder, for some ungodly reason. It’s had so many fish guts wiped on it, it’s turned white in some areas. Good stains on both lapels — trust me on the right lapel, because the pocket is torn almost completely off. Oh … I wore this shirt in the backyard about a week ago.

wp image 4592877 John Lopez Four Stages of a fishing shirt

Four stages, one style of shirt. Learn them. Live them.


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