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
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 email@example.com or call us on 01603 407596 and our team will be more than happy to help you with any queries you have.
Costa’s all the way. i have a few pairs for different fishing situations
Hi Paul yes I love them to, but how many others are out there it will be interesting to get everyone views
Serengeti all the way…I have had some for over 10 years and they are superb
Hi Stuart, what models and lens colour do you use
Has anyone used Wiley X?
No contest COSTAS.
Root beer polarized lenses, you chose your frame
2nd Smith clear water copper!
Copper all the way for me
Smith copper polarized lens
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.
Wal-Mart has one with bifocal for $19.99 awsome
Are they glass lenses or poly carbonate
Another one for Serengeti what models and lens colour do you use
Thats a new one on me I will check them out on Google
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.
Alan I know you are a Costa Man 🙂
They look good, how long have you been using them
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.
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….
I am looking up Wily X as a few people have mentioned them and they are new to me
Costa,s by a mile
maui’s and costas
Thanks Peter what about lens colour
Costa’s all the way
They are perfect your fishing Mathew
Would not trade my Smith Mavericks for anything. Smith has excellent customer service as well.
Yes we are getting a few good comments about them Cheers Peter
I love Costas, but y tried some Maui Jim and definition was astonishing!
Another one I will have to check out, thanks what about lens colour
The best polarized sunglasses for fishing is Costa Fantail…
were can you get them and are they expensive
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!!
i have got a pair of sun glasses and you will be amazed they beat oaklys hands down i sell these as well.
guys they have got to be polarized, what price would you pay for a good pair of polarized in fashion glasses, have a guess
What about prescription ones ?
Cebe 1500, I use them for everything.
Thanks Brian I wonder if anyone else rates these ones
Thanks for your comments, what have other people found out?
Ok Keith what are they please share with everyone
Police wrap rounds for me, spot on.
But how good are they for spotting fish
Has to be Costas….
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 🙂
Costa’s defiantly seem to be mentioned lots of time
srengeti piers divers PhD lenses
Thanks Bert I will check them out on Google Regards Peter
Costas are great because the lenses are glass; but I always have used oakleys; which are fantastic too
Another Costa fan 🙂
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.
HI Darren that sounds the perfect combination Thanks for commenting Regards Peter
I’m in the same boat as Peter, I need new prescription shades and it looks like Costa’s from these comments. Perfect timing.
When you get back send me your prescription buddy 🙂
Bonjour, j’ai une paire de WILEY X ROUT, et une paire de COSTA Caballito CL 41 la meilleure à mon sens.
Thanks for your comments
Costa – the ones your looking at. They have a new product out for prescription glasses thats awesome.
Hi buddy, I know you love your costa, have you had any experience with other brands
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.
Sounds expensive Bruce
This looks so much like a scam sungalsses seller, but it’s not. It’s just a websote promotion.
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
I am looking for a good pair for wild life photography but its more confusing then when I used to buy prescription glasses
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
I wear glasses but can’t find any good clip-on ones in any color.