Angling Fashions Through The Years

From ties and trilbies to camo and hoodies, angling attire has come a long way. Here’s our look at fishing’s trendsetters.

Angling Fashions Through The Years

by Angling Times |

TIES, HATS AND PIPES - 1950s

Exactly when ‘modern angling’ began is a debate for another day, but we’ll start in the 1950s – the era of the Mitchell 300, Dick Walker and the launch of Angling Times.

One of this magazine’s founders was Bernard Venables, whose original Mr Crabtree Goes Fishing book was published in 1949. A look at his angling clothing of choice – which remained largely unchanged until his death in 2001 – is indicative of the time.

A heavy jacket, some form of hat and a tie were the order of the day, while both Mr Crabtree and Bernard loved to smoke a pipe.

TIES, HATS AND PIPES - 1950s
TIES, HATS AND PIPES - 1950s

EVOLUTION NOT REVOLUTION - 1960s

It might have been the Swinging Sixties on Carnaby Street, but on the riverbanks things were more sedate.

A move away from stiff jackets and ties was beginning, with the emergence of man-made waterproof materials, but thick jumpers and warm hats were still common.

EVOLUTION NOT REVOLUTION - 1960s
EVOLUTION NOT REVOLUTION - 1960s

THE MAN IN RED - 1970s

River Trent ace Jan Porter made a deliberate plan to stand out from the crowd in the late 1970s and became ‘the Man in Red’.

It began with a red beret bought by a girlfriend, then a bright-red Coca-Cola tracksuit, before developing into a fully fledged look.

THE MAN IN RED - 1970s
THE MAN IN RED - 1970s

THE WILSON WAISTCOAT - 1980s

John Wilson’s Go Fishing TV series brought angling to millions, and with it came the host’s trademark chuckle, thigh-high waders and – most notably – his waistcoat.

It became the must-have item and key accessories included an angling club badge, clipped-on forceps and Polaroids.

THE WILSON WAISTCOAT - 1980s
THE WILSON WAISTCOAT - 1980s

RETRO RETURN - 1990s

A Passion for Angling is responsible for igniting many angling careers, but its TV debut in 1993 also helped fuel a retro revival thanks to Chris Yates’s distinctive appearance.

The eccentric angler’s love of wicker creels, split-cane rods and old-school clothing captured anglers’ imagination in the 1990s.

Waxed Barbour coats, deerstalker hats and fingerless gloves became fashionable again.

RETRO RETURN - 1990s
RETRO RETURN - 1990s

AGE OF REALTREE - 2000s

We can once again thank trailblazer Jan Porter for helping propel this trend. He led Shimano’s Tribal team of specimen-hunters who were dressed head-to-toe in American-inspired Realtree camo.

Even his van was covered in the stuff, and for a couple of years all serious big-fish anglers waddled around like walking reedbeds.

As the patterns faded in the wash, so did the Realtree appeal.

AGE OF REALTREE - 2000s
AGE OF REALTREE - 2000s

FROM THE SWIM TO THE PUB - 2010s

Fishing fashion has generally trodden a different path to actual clothing trends, but the boom in carp angling’s popularity in the 2010s saw the emergence of dedicated clothing companies trying to bridge the gap between the bivvy and the high street.

Diem, founded by top skateboarder and angler Mark Munson, was the first to make it work and other brands such as Fortis, Navitas and Wofte have followed suit.

FROM THE SWIM TO THE PUB - 2010s
FROM THE SWIM TO THE PUB - 2010s

THE PRESENT DAY - 2020s

Hi-tech materials have had an impact on fishing clothing, but perhaps we’re in a bit of a lull when it comes to trends.

Speci-hunters have settled into dull greens and browns, while matchmen tend to sport a splash of colour.

We’re in the era of the brand advocate, with even non-sponsored anglers wearing the name of their favourite manufacturers on every trip.

THE PRESENT DAY - 2020s
THE PRESENT DAY - 2020s
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