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What Are the Best Polarised Sunglasses For Fishing?

What are the best polarized sunglasses for fishing? This is a question asked by many anglers who fish in the UK and around the world.

Firstly as anglers regardless if we are fly fishing on the flats, or offshore fishing in deep water or any other type of fishing, a pair of fishing sunglasses should always be worn for pure safety reasons. We are all only born with one set of eyes and with sharp objects like hooks flying around at high speeds, it is so so easy to end up with a very painful and life-changing ‘hook in the eye’ scenario.

We should never dismiss the actual damage done to our eyes from harmful UV rays from the sun. Lack of UV protection can be a big problem, especially when we are going to be out on the water fishing all day. Without the urge to squint, our eyes have no protection from UVA and UVB rays.

Being in the travel industry one thing that has never ceased to amaze me, is that customers will spend thousands of pounds on good quality fishing tackle for their dream holiday, but when it comes to sunglasses they go for either a cheap or middle of the road option. Now considering that most destination fishing relies on using our eyes, being able to spot fish on saltwater flats, lying in rivers, plus even spotting them free swimming while out big game fishing. So why do people consider it acceptable to skip on quality for our eyes? The best fishing tackle in the world will not catch us fish if we are fishing in the wrong place.

Another misconception people have are that all polarising sunglasses are the same! This is another mistake as they are far from it. Polarizing glasses are designed to remove the surface glare off the water allowing us to see further and deeper into the water which is where our target fish are. Cheap fishing glasses often use an adhesive film to cover the lenses in an attempt to reduce glare. While this does work to a certain extent, it doesn’t reduce glare properly at all angles and it can become warped or distorted because of the way it’s applied, resulting in poor polarization levels. Specialised polarised sunglasses, however, use their own patented polarization technique to embed the technology within the lenses giving 100% polarization as well as 100% UV protection.

Polarized lenses come in a range of many colours that suit different light and fishing conditions.

What is the Best Lens Colour for Fishing Sunglasses?

Everyone has their own opinion about the best colour, but copper is generally considered the best all-around lens colour for fishing in freshwater and saltwater.

  • Amber – an excellent all-round colour that delivers the brightest vision.
  • Grey – maintains colour saturation and natural contrast in medium to bright conditions, they are great in saltwater but not freshwater. In freshwater, the grey tint reduces all contrast between the fish and its surroundings. It reduces glare and is good for overcast days.
  • Sunrise – high contrast speciality lens designed for allowing maximum light to reach your eyes, which makes them ideal to use in the early morning or late night low light levels.
  • Copper – lenses are a great all-round colour made to cut glare and enhance both contrasts and colour in any light conditions are the most versatile colour for everyday wear.
  • Green – Enhances contrast for inshore fishing and on the flats for sight fishing
  • Blue – Most effective in full, bright sunlight especially in the harsh sun on open reflective water and offshore fishing and are the best polarized sunglasses for sight fishing.

When choosing a lens colour, it’s good to know where you’ll be fishing and what the light will be like.

Quality, specialist fishing sunglasses have mirror finishes that tend to be fitted over either the copper, amber or grey bases. Some say that the extra lens coating with a mirrored effect helps to improve the sight fishing even further and it helps by making them more scratch resistant, or maybe it’s that they look cool?

What Type of Lens?

There are 2 kinds of lenses for polarized sunglasses: glass and polycarbonate, I have excluded acrylic as they are cheap glasses and I have never found a pair suitable for a serious angler.

  • Glass lenses are by far the superior lens in terms of optical clarity and they resist scratches better than other lenses. But they are heavier, more expensive, and shatter more easily than other lens options.
  • Polycarbonate lenses are lighter weight, less expensive, and more shatter-resistant than glass, but they scratch more easily and don’t provide as much optical clarity.

Another consideration which is now also applicable to me, is what about prescriptions? This is easy, for as a rule of thumb when looking to choose a manufacturer for quality sunglasses something I have always looked for, even though before now I have never needed them. do they offer a prescription service? I have always found that any manufacture that does offer a prescription service only makes high quality sunglasses.

Finding the Right Fit

Taking all of the above points into consideration in the end the best polarized fishing sunglasses are the ones that you are comfortable wearing, as you would expect to be wearing them a good 8 to 10 hours per day.

Sunglasses are an essential part of the fishing holiday so make sure you buy glasses that enhance your holiday experience and not distract from it. You’ll be wearing your glasses all day long, so be sure they fit your face and are comfortable over your ears.

We all have different face shapes and sizes therefore some brands and models of glasses will fit better than others, so it’s important to try them on. Below are some pointers to look out for in terms of fit:

  • Make sure they don’t slip down on your nose – It’s completely distracting to have to push your glasses up on your face every time you look down. Non-slip nose pads can help with this and some glasses have rubber on the part that goes behind the ears.
  •  Make sure they aren’t too tight behind your ears – This will give you a headache after a while.
  • Notice if there is light coming in the glasses from the top, bottom or sides – Step outside when you try them on and notice where the light is coming in. Too much light from any direction is not good, and side coverage is especially important. You will find that glasses that bend to your face rather than sitting flat across it will provide better coverage for your peripheral vision.

Who Makes The Best Sunglasses?

My own personal choice is Costa Del Mar; I have worn this brand for many years and I have lots of pairs in various colours for all the different fishing situations. Having the right polarised fishing sunglasses has allowed me to catch more fish by improving the distance I can spot fish, especially on saltwater flats.

There are other many brands of polarised fishing sunglasses to choose from, Maui Jim, Oakley and Smith are all well-known manufacturers and make quality polarised sunglasses.

If you’re a destination angler looking for somewhere to use your new fishing sunglasses for sight fishing on the flats look at our Seychelles fishing holidays here

Tight lines
Peter Collingsworth

Contact Us

If you have any questions about any of our fishing trips or would like advice on the tackle or equipment we recommend for your holiday, even if it’s just about what sunglasses to invest in, then please contact us by email on or call us on 01603 407596 and our team will be more than happy to help you with any queries you have.


  1. Tracey Buckenham Sportquest

    I totally agree. Quite expensive to field test though!

  2. Mike Mogilnicki

    David Harrell hits the nail on the head when he says that everyone’s eyes are different. I have sold Wiley X and get on ok with mine but accept that they don’t suit everyone. Recommendations from others don’t always work for that reason. The trouble is, you don’t really know until you try them out on the water and in different conditions. I’m sure that all the brands mentioned suit the people using them but you will never be able to assess which is the best for you unless you have tried them all.

  3. Scott

    I have Costa, Smith, Serengeti, and Vuarnet glasses, all polarized, all have glass lenses. I’ve compared them all while driving in bright sun, overcast, bluebird winter skiing, ice fishing, boating, fly fishing – I’ve run the gamut with them.

    Costa: I’ve had 3 different pairs over the years, none of them really fit me very well. The 580g lenses were green mirror, copper, and sunrise silver. Excellent optics, but I found them too dark in most wading fishing conditions (except the sunrise of course). They were excellent for boating and bright winter days.

    Smith: Extremely comfortable, they fit me much better than the Costa models. Polarchromic copper mirror lenses are stunningly clear, and perfect for fly fishing. Another pair with the Low Light Ignitor lenses will open up a whole new subsurface world on the stream at sundown and on cloudy days, and while driving in overcast conditions. The polarchromic coppers are pretty damn good on the snow too. Highly recommended, and Smiths are my go-to glasses for all things inland fishing (except when I grab the Serengetis, see below).

    Serengeti: In a word – the lenses are superior to anything else I own. I have a couple of pairs, one with the famous Drivers lenses, the other with a Sedona bi-mirror. Look through these and be amazed at the clarity and contrast. The Sedona lenses are fantastic for open water and snow. They are just sooo soothing on the eyes. At least mine…

    Vuarnet: Mine are a modified aviator type, brown lenses, 8 base wrap. Beautiful, comfortable, and mineral glass lenses as clear as you will likely find. They seem extremely well made and are a pleasure to wear, on the water or off. Although marketed for fashion and also glaciers/snow/mountaineering (depending on the model), Vuarnet polarized lenses are fantastic on the water as well.

    I took several pairs in my fishing pack and compared them side by side on a sunny day on the river. For my eyes, the Smiths worked better than the Costas in that environment. The Serengetis were better than anything for seeing into the water. Although the Serengetis are not marketed to target fisherman, they are as good as anything and everything out there. They make models that are geared for sport use and have an 8 base wrap, so get you some – your eyes will love you for them.

  4. William Roozenboom

    If someone wants a very capable (surprisingly impressive) pair of sunglasses without paying the premium price, I highly recommend the new Kast King shades. I’ll be honest, I prefer them to my Maui Jim sunglasses and they were so much less expensive. My buddy who has the Costa fantails even said they were very impressive and bought a pair for himself.

  5. Emily Clark

    Wow! The article about Best Polarized Sunglasses is very nice. Its lens color and lens type are also nice. Shade Tree Sunglasses also provide such type of lens color and lens type. Thanks

  6. David Harrell

    Hello, I sell many makes of sunglasses. Maui, Smith, Costa, Oakley, Native. I have customers that swear by each of these brands. Everyone’s eyes are different, some tell me they can see better out of a darker lense than copper or Amber in a semi shaded area. And some just the opposite ocean or mid lake fishing without the grey lense. They all agree the glass lense is clearer, but more easily broken. I’ve yet to obtain the elusive SERENGETI. And my thrill of the versitile Wiley X, wasn’t shared by customers. So we let it go. Too my eyes, Maui, Smith, and Costa each have great qualities. Yet, I get very different results in different locations. But, these are our top sellers in Pigeon Forge TN.

  7. Top Tips On Sight Fishing | Blog | Sportquest Holidays

    […] but there are a few tips that can help along with knowing your quarry. Invest in a good pair of polaroid glasses as these will really help you cut through the glare on the water. Being able to concentrate on the […]

  8. Non Related Fishing Essentials | Sportquest Holidays

    Must have item when fishing anywhere abroad is sunglasses, even if you are travelling to a cold destination these are a must have.

  9. Derek

    Oakley used to do polarised with interchangeable lens I have blue photochromic, grey & bronze. Now using Maui Jim bronze readers with 2.5 x . I can see em but can’t catch em…

  10. Sean Duggan

    Seems to me that most people are simultaneously expressing preferences for frame manufacturers.

    For optically correct lens makers there are a pretty small number of Asian labs that make the lenses that go into all sunglasses, that pass the stringent safety tests of UV safety for one, and optical correctness for another.

    When it comes down down to prescription sunglasses number of labs reduces to around 10…..maybe 15? Essilor, Zeiss and Nikon catering for the majority of lenses that end up in all prescription lenses.

    All round I find that lightly tinted amber lenses suit for driving, as they increase contrast and are great for chalk streams, peat coloured water like Welsh streams, lakes and rivers, but I couldn’t comment on shallow marine environments…as I don’t get there often enough 😉

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest


      Thanks for sharing and some great comments which I and everyone else will find helpful.

  11. peter Collingsworth

    Never tried them do you rate them highly

  12. Bill Buckley

    Peter let me know what you end up with now you need prescription glasses (like me). I have prescription sunglasses but you cannot get the kind of curved tight fitting lenses and frames you need to eliminate light penetration around the sides of the frames in my experience. I compromise by using cocoons over my normal prescription day eyeware but i dont find them as good as proper polaried prescription lenses.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      No worries bill I will have a good look around and let you know what I and everyone thinks Regards Peter

    2. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Thanks for your comments

    3. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Costa gets many likes from our customers

    4. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      I know you have more than enough pairs of sunglasses my friend to want any more especially mine 🙂

    5. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      They are a new one on me, where can I try these glasses out?

    6. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Did you ever get to try any of these out?

    7. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Do you still think these are the best glasses ?

    8. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      I love copper as its a good all round colour

  13. carl ohrman

    Peter–as you know I have glasses for general use, glasses for reading— plus sunglasses for general use and sun glasses for reading.——plus the odd pair in case of loss or damage.
    I dread it when I have an eye test.and they say I need to upgrade.
    I have recently had eye lens and laser treatment—–costs.—-but apparently .that is it for life.

    Would you like to sell me your Costas—THEY SOUND GREAT. and all them different colours,
    Yours Gratefully—Carl Ohrman

  14. Critical Observer

    Side by side (neutral grey vs. neutral grey), the Maui Jim glass lens is clearly superior to Costa’s 580G; the polarisation is just better and colours are truer without looking washed out. MJ wins also for frame-quality and no wonder since Costas are made in Taiwan these days, while MJ frames come from either Italy or Japan.

    Personally, I have three pairs of Maui Jim Seawall, in all the available lens colours, as this frame fits me to the tee; I also have a pair of now-rare Kahunas with the rose lens, a pair of Smith Redmond with the Chromapop+ polarchromic ignitor lens (probably the best non-glass lens out there but Smith frames are pure garbage) as well as a pair of Costa del Mar Bomba with the grey 580G lens.

  15. Polarized Sunglasses

    Polarized sunglasses are for all men and women, young and old.

  16. Ed Sauter

    Has anyone tried Habervision?

  17. Tyler Williams

    Vicious vision all the way

  18. Francisco

    Maui Jim Peahi cooper, the best

    1. Francisco

      i mean copper.

  19. Anthony

    Anybody use Typhoons?

  20. Gregory DeAngelis

    I like to stream fly fish… Which would be better to spot fish…Amber or Copper?

  21. Greg

    I like to stream fly fish…please explain the difference between Copper and Amber for spotting fish?

  22. Mick Kempster

    Any thoughts on spotters ?

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Mick, I do not know much about them. maybe some of our customers on here can comment for you.

      Regards Peter

    2. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Thanks Mick I wonder if anyone on here has any views

      Regards Peter

  23. Tyler Thomas

    I have two pairs of Costas a pair of glass that are the green mirror and a pair of plastic lenses I love the glass lenses but am not impressed with the glare cutting and reflective cutting ability of the plastic 580 Costa lenses. My poly lense Oakley’s seem to do a much better job, I will also add that I have a pair of spy that do a good job and were much cheaper than either the costas or the Oakley’s they have proven to be durable as well, they reside in the front pocket of my fishing vest year round and get tossed around a lot. (They have a lighter gray lenses in them but I believe the exact model has been discontinued). My glass Costa’s or poly Oakley’s are my two go to glasses depending on where or how long I will be out.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Tyler thanks for a great detailed view. I am sure everyone will find your comments very very useful.

      Regards Peter

  24. Dave humphries

    I use coccoons in yellow & grey ,great for stalking e.g with no problems

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Thanks Dave, it is amazing just how many different ones people are using, but like you there are certain brands that seem to have the lions share of the market. Regards Peter

  25. chris meadows

    I use optilabs prescription sun glasses and have found them to be the best for spotting fish, expensive but good!

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Chris thats a new one on me I will check them out

      Regards Peter

  26. Dan

    Maui jims for me. Ultra lightweight, don’tove on my face and v strong. Lens definition is amazing. Amber lenses.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Thanks Dan

      Regards Peter

  27. Mel McDonald

    Just bought a pair of clip on polaroids for my prescription varifocals

    Fantastic service and feedback and very reasonably priced quality goods.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Thank you for sharing the information I am sure everyone will find this useful

      Regards Peter

  28. Perry Dack

    Costa’s are great
    Stylish to be worn everyday as well

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Thanks perry

  29. charles miller

    I wear glasses but can’t find any good clip-on ones in any color.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Have you thought about prescription sunglasses so you would not need clip on ones. Thats what I am now having to look at

  30. Sue Halewood

    I am looking for a good pair for wild life photography but its more confusing then when I used to buy prescription glasses

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Hi Sue, thanks for commenting. I would imagine sunglasses for what you require are very similar to ones we want for both shooting and fishing. But I do agree with you, nowadays its getting very confusing. Regards Peter

  31. Stuart Waudby

    This looks so much like a scam sungalsses seller, but it’s not. It’s just a websote promotion.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      HI Stuart Waudby thanks for commenting, I have added your comments to pour blog, as you can see its no scam as we do not sell any fishing tackle, we are a travel company that specialise in fishing and shooting holidays all over the world. Sunglasses is a question we get asked about on many occasions and as I now need to upgrade mine, I though it would make a nice discussion subject on our blog to get everyones views. We now have over 60 comments which is amazing and goes to show its something that everyone has a interest in. Kind Regards Peter

  32. Bruce Mahony

    Mine are bronze, photochromic, polarised, polycarbonate, scripts in titanium frames. Don’t ask how much there cost was but they are padlocked to my body.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Sounds expensive Bruce

  33. Peter Bristow

    Costa – the ones your looking at. They have a new product out for prescription glasses thats awesome.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Hi buddy, I know you love your costa, have you had any experience with other brands

  34. FRENOT

    Bonjour, j’ai une paire de WILEY X ROUT, et une paire de COSTA Caballito CL 41 la meilleure à mon sens.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Thanks for your comments

  35. Peter Spice

    I’m in the same boat as Peter, I need new prescription shades and it looks like Costa’s from these comments. Perfect timing.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      When you get back send me your prescription buddy 🙂

      1. Peter Spice

        Will do

  36. Darren Bremner

    It’s got to be Costa’s for me. I have a couple of pairs, amber and red mirror for darker days and copper with blue mirrored lens for brighter conditions.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      HI Darren that sounds the perfect combination Thanks for commenting Regards Peter

  37. Alex Frere-Scott

    Costas are great because the lenses are glass; but I always have used oakleys; which are fantastic too

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Another Costa fan 🙂

  38. Tig Andrin

    Loves Costa’s

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Costa’s defiantly seem to be mentioned lots of time

    2. bert krielaart

      srengeti piers divers PhD lenses

      1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

        Thanks Bert I will check them out on Google Regards Peter

  39. Andy Richmond

    Has to be Costas….

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Andy, I have used mine for years but its interesting to hear and find out about other makes some I have =never heard of before 🙂

  40. Keith Wallace

    i have got a pair of sun glasses and you will be amazed they beat oaklys hands down i sell these as well.

    1. Keith Wallace

      guys they have got to be polarized, what price would you pay for a good pair of polarized in fashion glasses, have a guess

      1. Fraser McConnell

        What about prescription ones ?

      2. David Deadman Jnr

        Cebe 1500, I use them for everything.

    2. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Thanks Brian I wonder if anyone else rates these ones

    3. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Thanks for your comments, what have other people found out?

    4. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Ok Keith what are they please share with everyone

      1. Keith Wallace

        Police wrap rounds for me, spot on.

        1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

          But how good are they for spotting fish

  41. Fly Fishing Location FortyTwo

    For me Kaenon, Costa del Mar and actualy use a smoke color in Oakley on a clear salt waters flats and work it so good!!

  42. Brian Kyrolainen


  43. Josep Elog

    The best polarized sunglasses for fishing is Costa Fantail…

    1. Stevie Vint

      were can you get them and are they expensive

  44. Mathew Flyfishinginwales Passmore


  45. Fly Fishing

    I love Costas, but y tried some Maui Jim and definition was astonishing!

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Another one I will have to check out, thanks what about lens colour

  46. Erik Floyd

    Would not trade my Smith Mavericks for anything. Smith has excellent customer service as well.

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Yes we are getting a few good comments about them Cheers Peter

  47. Mathew Rickard

    Costa’s all the way

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      They are perfect your fishing Mathew

  48. Peter Rampling

    maui’s and costas

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Thanks Peter what about lens colour

  49. Alan Purnell

    Costa,s by a mile

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest


  50. Jules Evans

    I used costas till I found polarised photochromic wily X . The only pair if glasses I’ve not managed to wreck. My current pair have fished in 20 countries and survived skiing in 5 countries and have helped me to catch fish the world over. Mine also have a tiny prescription which just razors everything up. Like X-ray specs :)) I love em even though idiot us special forces and uk sas use them exclusively….

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      I am looking up Wily X as a few people have mentioned them and they are new to me

  51. Nejati Amir

    Wal-Mart has one with bifocal for $19.99 awsome

    1. John Bixler

      Are they glass lenses or poly carbonate

    2. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Another one for Serengeti what models and lens colour do you use

    3. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Thats a new one on me I will check them out on Google

      1. eric

        in regards to wiley x this might seem a little off subject, I was in the army for almost 9yrs and when I first joined we issued Oakley which were great to reduce glare and they don’t fog up very easy. Well a couple years into my service the U.S Army made the move from Oakley’s to Wiley x a couple different models from them, anyways if your doing anything that resembles physical work they fog up really quick and were horrible from reducing the glaring sun. so personally I stay away from anything wiley x.. now with that being said its been about 6yrs since I even touched a pair of wiley x’s so maybe they’ve stepped up their game and started putting better product out.

    4. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Alan I know you are a Costa Man 🙂

    5. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest


    6. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      They look good, how long have you been using them

    7. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      François I find amber to bright for saltwater flats, I like the copper for flats fishing but I know what you mean with dark lens on rivers etc they lose the contrast so hard to make out fish shapes.

  52. François Nadeau

    As a guide, lense color is really important. Amber is best for rivers and blue for ocean/lakes. Dark lenses are only good for driving, you don’t see any details in the water. Make sure you choose a pair that is polarized and mirrored as well so they reflect direct sunlight. A fishing hat is also important. Why? Fishing caps/hats have the downside of the bill matte black so no reflection there. Regular baseball caps bill are colored and actually reflect the sunlight coming from the glare in the water right into your eyes… If you’re looking for a good pair, Smith makes the best lenses on the market.

  53. Jeff Frank

    Smith copper polarized lens

  54. Caleb Stafford

    2nd Smith clear water copper!

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Copper all the way for me

  55. Paul Cook

    Root beer polarized lenses, you chose your frame

  56. Alan Sibley

    No contest COSTAS.

  57. Brian Lockwood

    Has anyone used Wiley X?

  58. Bert Krielaart


  59. Stuart

    Serengeti all the way…I have had some for over 10 years and they are superb

    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Hi Stuart, what models and lens colour do you use

  60. Paul Stevens

    Costa’s all the way. i have a few pairs for different fishing situations


    1. Peter Collingsworth Sportquest

      Hi Paul yes I love them to, but how many others are out there it will be interesting to get everyone views

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