If you’re an avid fisherman, you know the importance of having the right gear. Choosing the right rod, reel, lines and bait is crucial; that goes without saying. While everything I just listed is essential on the water, so is one piece of gear you don’t often think about: your sunglasses.
Polarized sunglasses allow anglers to see much more clearly in the water, which helps spot more fish. Not only does it provide a better approach to fishing, but it also protects your eyes from harmful UV rays and glare from the water.
We know that ultraviolet rays cause massive damage to our eyes, leading to miserable conditions such as cataracts, pterygia, and macular degeneration. UV rays cannot pass through the lenses of your sunglasses, giving you an extra layer of safety. While polarizing lenses doesn’t add much UV protection, it does allow for clearer vision. Some studies show that it is linked to less eye strain.
101 Polarized Fishing Sunglasses
Glass or polycarbonate sunglasses
If you’re shopping for fishing sunglasses, you’ll notice that most brands offer both glass and polycarbonate (plastic) models. For a long time, glass has always reigned over quality. However, with the new lens technology, the two are very comparable.
Glass lenses are generally more expensive. It’s logic. Glass is a more expensive material than plastic. The glass is also very scratch resistant, which every angler knows is essential. We put our equipment in tough conditions.
I remember trying a pair of Costa glasses and poly years ago and noticing how much better the visibility of the glass lenses was on the poly. Last spring, I had trouble telling the difference between my glass and poly lenses.
With the clarity quality of poly lenses these days, it’s hard to find a downside to choosing poly over glass. They are cheaper and difficult to decipher. However, they are much more prone to scratching, so that’s a trade-off you’ll need to consider.
A lens color for every scenario
If you thought lens color had more to do with style points, you’re not alone. However, the color of your lenses can be critical to your performance on the water. This is not a unique situation, however. Different colored lenses will work best depending on where you are fishing. Choose your lens color based on how much contrast you want to see.
Grey – A neutral lens like gray will give you the most natural vision contrast. This is a great universal choice for anglers who want one type of lens to work well in multiple scenarios. Gray lenses won’t make any difference. However, they are probably the best at blocking light, making them the perfect choice for those very sunny days offshore.
Copper & Pink – Copper and pink lenses are best for spotting fish at depth. They provide greatly improved color contrast and higher red light transmission while blocking harmful blue light that causes haze and blur. The copper and pink lenses are my favorites for fly fishing for rockfish in saltwater flats.
blue and green mirror – Having a mirror in front of your lens allows less light to pass through your eyes. This helps prevent eye strain and fatigue. Blue and green mirror lenses are fantastic offshore options that will tone down more neutral water colors and enhance blues and greens, allowing you to spot fish more effectively.
silver mirror – Silver mirror lenses allow plenty of good light making them great lenses for dusk, dawn and cloudy days on the water. They are also excellent at blocking harmful UV rays, making them a complete choice for anglers.
Here are some of my recommendations based on the type of fishing you do.
Maui Jim – Southern Cross
Lens Color – Green Mirror
Material – Glass
The Southern Cross by Maui Jim is one of my favorite offshore sunglasses. Maui Jim’s “SuperThin” glass offers some of the best clarity of any lens I’ve ever experienced. The wraparound frame reduces glare and the green lenses make it easier to spot fish offshore.
Smith – Choice of Guides
Lens Color – Copper Mirror
Material – Glass
Most fishing trips are for spotting license or tarpon along the saltwater flats, and the Choice of guides by Smith is always my reference. Copper lenses with Smiths ChromaPop+ allow you to see deep in the water while blocking out harmful rays that could disrupt my journey.
Bajio – Swash
Lens Color – Silver Mirror
Material – Glass
Bajio is a newcomer to the world of sunglasses. After their big buyout, a group of people left Costa and wanted to start a business focused on protecting flats from salt water and making great looking sunglasses. The Swash is my favorite frame and I feel weightless while fishing. I love the silver mirror lens – its patented LAPIS technology provides unparalleled clarity. This is a great pair of sunglasses for the angler looking for a single pair for most situations.
People often underestimate the value of a good pair of polarized sunglasses for your fishing experience. Not only are they a necessary safety measure for your eye health, but they also improve fishing and allow you to spot more fish. You are about to catch them if you can spot them.
There are several different options on the market today for fishing sunglasses. Whichever mount and lens you choose will depend on the type of fishing you do. Get yourself a nice pair of polarized shades of blue light blocks. Trust me. You will change your fishing experiences for the better.