David Legget opened the lid on the front storage box of my boat and reacted as though he had uncovered a snake. “This looks like a grave yard for empty bottles of Bullfrog sunscreen!”

Some of them were in fact empty and ear marked for the garbage, but I store both empties and full bottles in a plastic shopping bag that had obviously not survived my inattentiveness. I learned long ago that most every brand of sunscreen will eat up everything from reel seats to upholstery so I try to keep them in quarantine.

I also learned the hard way that the cap on a bottle of sunscreen will blow open and spew its contents all over the seat of your truck if left parked in the sun too long. Those, however, are problems that can be avoided and there is no substitute for applying lots of sunscreen to exposed skin if you are going to survive the summer sun.

I don’t tout any particular brand because I don’t know enough about SPF ratings and spray vs. gel, but I haven’t had anything burned or cut off my face to date and I use Bullfrog gel every day. I put it on the kids as well and they return the same color that they were when they left the dock.

My only complaint is that every brand I have ever used, including Bullfrog, turns the collars on my white shirts orange and I haven’t found anything that removes the orange. Trey Smith, an avid bass tournament fisherman and I were discussing that problem recently and he said that he has just quit wearing white tournament jerseys for that very reason.

I can assure that it won’t be the sunscreen that gets eliminated as he has already had more than his fair share of skin cancer problems. Trey was also the first person that I ever fished with that actually wore a Buff as it was intended to be worn. I had seen the guides in Florida and some of the California pros wear them, but I am a little reluctant to jump on board with a California idea!

I have since discovered that the Buff is indeed the real deal for comfortably protecting your face, neck and ears when worn as it was designed to be worn. It is nothing more than a tube made of a thin fabric that slips over the head and still covers just the neck area when not in use.

Even if you simply left it wrapped around your neck it would afford some protection, but it more than earns its stripes when you slip the top of the open end over your head and pull the opening down just enough to expose your nose and eyes. You obviously have to put your sun glasses on first and when in place, there is virtually no exposed skin left to burn. You can also pull it over the nose, but I find that exhaled air will sometimes fog up your lenses in cooler weather.

I wear mine in the winter as well as it also keeps the wind from blowing down my neck and breaks the chill on those long boat rides. I was a little concerned that the kids would not buy into wearing these as it is difficult enough to get most of them to even hold still for sunscreen, but that hasn’t been the case.

I really think my own grandson wears one because he likes the ninja look, but any reason will do as long as he wears it. When worn properly, you could possibly even eliminate orange collars and sunburn to the face and neck without applying sunscreen. The key would be keeping it on at all times.

I carry several different brands on my boat and some of them are not as user-friendly due to the thickness of the material. A friend that reps for FinzOMine clothing gave me a thinner version several weeks back and it is much cooler and protects just as well. They also make the performance long sleeve SPF T-shirts that don’t absorb sweat and offer even more protection.

The bottom line is that there are products out there that will enable you to enjoy summer outings without damaging your skin if you will use them. At the very least, make them a must for the kids!

We had to deal with the wind and incredibly high tides last week, but the trout bite on the lake has just been phenomenal. Limits of very solid fish were easy to come by and chasing the gulls wasn’t necessary most days. Bone patterns in topwaters and four inch tails in slammin’ chicken, geaux gleaux, and glow chartreuse have all been good producers.

I still haven’t nailed down a consistent redfish bite, but if the shad continue to find their way into the open lake, that will all change very quickly. The flounder bite has also been better than expected, especially for the folks fishing finger mullet in the river and ICW.