Men’s Fishing Board Shorts Review

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Today I’m reviewing the best board shorts for fishing. There are a lot of board shorts on the market that claim to be great for fishing, but only a few companies actually “get” what a fisherman really needs in a board short.

You won’t find any of the “name brand” board short companies on this list because they don’t make shorts that are suitable for fishing. Features such as a reinforced pocket for fishing tools as well as a stain-resistant fabric are some of the features the big brands don’t include in their board shorts.

Stain-resistant and water-resistant fabrics are top priorities when looking to purchase a pair of board shorts for fishing. You don’t want your board shorts trashed after getting some fish guts on them, you want them to last.

Many companies will just label a pair of shorts as “Fishing Board Shorts”, but the title is meaningless because they are just a plain old pair of shorts. Well, I waded through the deceiving titles and  I have the definitive list of must-have board shorts for fishing.

So, if you are passionate about fishing and love the style, comfort and feel that board shorts offer then this is the review for you. I am going to go through what you need in a proper pair of fishing board shorts and what pairs are the best option for you.

But before I begin, you really need to ask yourself if you want shorts that are more for style than for functionality. If you are serious about fishing, I’ve included some great hardcore options for you.

Let’s do this!

The Top Board Shorts For Fishing: Grundens Men’s Fish Head Board Shorts

Grundens Men's Fish Head Board Short, Monument Grey - 38

Out of all the fishing board shorts I’ve reviewed, the Grundens Men’s Fish Head Board Shorts have the best combination of features. The reinforced tool pocket really is a great feature on these board shorts.

When you are talking about fishing gear and apparel, you really do need to start with Grundens. If you’ve ever watched Deadliest Catch or been around fishing for any amount of time, you know that Grundens is a leader in durable fishing gear. They were founded in 1911. Their Fish Head board shorts are the latest incarnation of their iconic brand.

These shorts have a lot of great features, such as:

  • 4-way stretch fabric that is a quick-drying 93 % polyester/ 7% spandex blend.
  • The fabric is stain-resistant and water-resistant and features UPF 50 sun protection as well.
  • Multiple pockets for storage including two front hand pockets and a ceramic armor-plated SuperFabric tool pocket.
  • Nine designs to choose from.

Next Up: HUK Men’s Freeman 21″ Board Shorts

Marolina Outdoor H2000061-392-36 Huk Freeman 21

The Huk Men’s Freeman board shorts have a lot of similar features to the Grundens board shorts. They have plenty of pockets including one for pliers, stain-resistant, antimicrobial, water-repelling fabric, and sun protection as well.

Also, these boardies are made by the fine people at Huk Performance Fishing, an up-and-coming fishing apparel brand founded in 2013 in Charleston, South Carolina. For being the “new guy” in the fishing apparel space, they certainly are making some waves. (sorry, had to do it)

The Freemen board shorts are a quality pair of fishing board shorts.

What do the Huk Men’s Freeman 21″ Board Shorts bring to the table?

  • They are designed with a quick-drying, 91% Polyester, 9% Lycra lightweight, 4-way stretch fabric for easy movement in and out of a boat.
  • +30 UPF Sun Protection, which is necessary for long days out on the water.
  • Made from Antimicrobial, stain-release fabric, a must-have feature when fishing.
  • A zippered, secure pliers pocket, two pockets up front, and a pocket in the back.
  • Five different designs to choose from.

Check out my review of board shorts from HUK Performance Fishing.

Also Good: PELAGIC Hydro-Lite Pro Board Shorts

PELAGIC Hydro-Lite Pro Abyss Boardshorts | Size 36 | Blue

The definiton of Pelagic means “relating to the open sea.” The company PELAGIC is a high-performance fishing brand out of Newport Beach California. Founded in 2002, they’ve been providing fishermen with the gear they need to get it done on the water.

Their Hydro-Lite Pro Board Shorts have all the features you want in a board short:

  • 22″ Outseam with a 12″ Inseam.
  • 8-way Super-Stretch, 88% Polyester/ 12% Spandex blend fabric that is super-lightweight and quick-drying.
  • Patented Stain-Repel and Hydro-Repel coated fabric that will keep them stain-free and dry.
  • 5 All-Purpose Pockets, dual-front sonic-welded zippered pockets, and a right-hip pliers pocket.
  • No mention however of the UPF Sun Protection

I Had To Include These: The AFTCO Pivot Board Shorts

AFTCO Pivot Boardshorts - Navy Heather - 40

AFTCO, or the American (formerly Axelson) Fishing Tackle Company, is a family-owned and operated company that was founded in 1958. They started their apparel division in 1989, so they know what a fisherman needs in a short.

The AFTCO Pivot Board Shorts probably are the most casual-looking board short out of this group and look similar to a hybrid short. See my full review of the AFTCO Pivot Board Shorts here.

  • 21″ Outseam/ 10″ Inseam
  • AFLEX 4-way stretch, 88% Polyester/ 12% Elastane fabric.
  • AFGUARD stain release technology that helps repel stains.
  • Quick-dry moisture-wicking technology
  • A pliers pocket
  • No mention of UPF Sun Protection

Honorable Mention: Tormenter Waterman 5 Pocket Board Shorts

Tormenter Waterman 5 Pocket Boardshorts, Gray Camo 38

The Tormenter Waterman 5 Pocket Board Shorts have a lot of things in common with the top fishing board shorts above. They have plenty of pockets, one of which is a reinforced pliers pocket as a cell phone pocket. However, and this is a big exclusion, they aren’t stain resistant. Sorry, I need that extra safety when I go fishing. I’ve had too many pairs of shorts stained and ruined while fishing.

Still, they are nice board shorts with some nice features and you might find the Tormenter style a little more appealing.

Buyers Guide: What To Look For In Fishing Board Shorts

These are the critical things that every pair of fishing board shorts should feature.

What kind of fabric are they made from?

Generally, most stretchable board shorts will be made of a mixture of polyester and spandex or elastane. The determining factor in how stretchable they are is usually the latter of those two materials. If it has a higher percentage of spandex or elastane the shorts will have more stretchability to them.

Is the fabric stain and water-repelling?

In my mind, this is probably the most critical element to look at when buying a pair of board shorts for fishing. You can have a pair of shorts with all the reinforced pockets, bottle openers, or whatever bells and whistles you want, but if you have to throw them out because you can’t get fish blood out of them then what’s the point?

Do the board shorts have a UFP Protection rating?

If you are going out fishing for the day you will be exposed to plenty of ultraviolet light. Shorts that offer protection and actually state their level of UFP are a good sign of a quality board short manufacturer. If you’ve ever been sunburned through your shorts you know how important this detail is.

Pockets, pockets……….pockets

Pockets. Preferably at least one reinforced one for fishing tools.

Final Thoughts

If you want a pair of board shorts to wear while fishing you will have to stick to the brands that know fishing the best. Names like Grunden, PELAGIC, and AFTCO have been outfitting fishermen for decades. They know that you need a durable, stain-resistant short with pockets for fishing tools to succeed on the water. You can’t really go wrong with any of them. Now, go catch some fish!