Best Fly Fishing Sunglasses

I've spent most of my years guiding on the flats or out in the deep sea of Seychelles and Kenya, and have done it wearing Costas, and all my fellow guides wear them too. They cut through glare, help you see fish, and come in almost every lens color and mirror you need.
fly fishing sunglasses

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If you’re looking for the best fly fishing sunglasses then you can not go wrong with a pair of Costa Del Mar Fantail fishing sunglasses.

Image Product Details  
flyfisherpro-table__imageBest Of The BestCosta Del Mar Fantail
  • Scratch & Impact Resistant
  • Excellent Polarization
  • Repels Water & Oil
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest On A BudgetCosta Del Mar Tuna Alley
  • Multiple Frame Colors
  • Resistant Impact & Scratches
  • Repels Water & Oil
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For Image QualityMaui Jim Peahi
  • Excellently Polarized
  • Light And Comfortable
  • Glass Lense
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For FreshwaterMaui Jim World Cup
  • Color Enhancing Glass Lenses
  • Durable & Long Lasting
  • Top Quality Polarization
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest AllrounderSmith Optics Basecamp Chromapop
  • Auto-Lock Hinges
  • Top Of The Line Polarization
  • Lifetime Guarantee
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flyfisherpro-table__imageBest For SaltwaterSmith Guide’s Choice
  • Chromapop + Polarized Lenses
  • Anti - Reflective
  • Durable & Long Lasting
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Our Best Fly Fishing Sunglasses

Costa Del Mar Fantail

Costa Del Mar Fantail

Available at:

Best Of The Best

Specs 

  • Material: TR 90 Nylon 
  • Colors: Matte black, tortoise, camo
  • Lens (L) Material: 580g Polycarbonate
  • L Colors: Copper, grey, yellow, blue/green/silver mirror
  • L Width: 59 mm
  • Hydrophobic: Yes
  • Oleophobic: Yes
  • Polarization: 100% 

Review  

Costa Del Mar Fantail sunglasses are some of the best sunglasses for fly fishing you’re likely to find. The frames are durably made from TR 90 Nylon and can handle being dropped, even stepped on, so they last. They also come in a range of color options and have great coverage to block the sun from the sides.

The lenses are made from 580 polycarbonate plastic which is both impact and scratch resistant plus the polarized lenses are second to none. With these polarized sunglasses on, you’ll be able to see through the harshest glare and spotting fish will become easier than ever.

You can also pick what color polarized lens you want with these polarized sunglasses from tan to blue and even yellow for low light conditions. Plus ever mirror color options is available too.

Pros

  • Durable, lightweight, scratch and impact resistant 
  • Affordable and come with a limited lifetime warranty
  • Excellent polarization and numerous lens options available
  • Repels water and oils so they stay clear

Cons

  • A little expensive

Costa Del Mar Tuna Alley

Costa Del Mar Tuna Alley

Available at:

Best On A Budget

Specs 

  • Material: TR 90 Nylon 
  • Colors: Matte black, tortoise, camo, white 
  • Lens (L) Material: 580 Polycarbonate
  • L Colors: Copper, grey, yellow, blue/green/silver mirror 
  • L Width: 62 mm & 61.5 mm 
  • Hydrophobic: Yes
  • Oleophobic: Yes 
  • Polarization: 100%

Review  

Next up is another pair of Costa polarized sunglasses but this pair of Costa’s come with Tuna Alley frames. They are made from the exact same materials as the fishing sunglasses above including TR 90 nylon for the frames and 580 plastic polycarbonate for the best polarized lenses in the business.

You can choose the lens color of your polarized lenses and you can find a color for all conditions including copper for freshwater or the flats, blue for offshore, and even ones for low light conditions on cloudy days or sunrise fishing.

You can also choose to have mirror lenses as well which will protect your eyes from UV rays to reduce overall eye strain increase overall protection.

They are lightweight, durable, comfy, and more affordable than the Fantails above, making them the best fishing sunglasses you can find for the money.

Pros

  • Multiple frame colors to suit your style
  • Lots of lens colors for all situations
  • Resistant to impact and scratches for durability 
  • Light and comfy to wear
  • Excellent polarization for seeing through the water 
  • Repels oil and water 
  • Lifetime guarantee 

Cons

  • Plastic lenses only

Maui Jim Peahi

Maui Jim Peahi

Available at:

Best For Image Quality

Specs 

  • Frame Material: Nylon
  • Colors: Matte black, gloss black, matte tortoise, tortoise 
  • Lens (L) Material: SuperThin Glass
  • L Colors: Bronze, grey, blue mirror
  • L Width: 65 mm 
  • Hydrophobic: Yes
  • Oleophobic: Yes
  • Polarization: 100% 

Review  

Maui Jim makes some of the best polarized sunglasses around and their Peahi’s are not to be shrugged off.

This pair of sunglasses is made with nylon frames making them light, durable, and comfy to wear like the others. The thing that sets this pair of sunglasses apart from the others is that they come with glass lenses.

Glass lenses make it easier to see, so you can spot fish with ease, plus they are 100% polarized to cut through any glare, and they even lens technology that will enhance the colors for a better image, so fish spotting couldn’t be easier.

The only downside to these polarized sunglasses is they don’t come in a huge amount of lens color options, but the norms like a copper lens are available.

Pros

  • The lenses are excellently polarized and enhance colors too
  • Glass for better quality images
  • Light and comfortable to wear
  • Durable and resistant to impact and scratches 
  • Repels water and oil to stay clean 
  • 2-year warranty 

Cons

  • A smaller range of color options 
  • Quite expensive

Maui Jim World Cup

Maui Jim World Cup

Available at:

Best For Freshwater

Specs 

  • Frame Material: Nylon 
  • Colors: Matte black, marlin, chocolate stripe 
  • Lens (L) Material: SuperThin Glass 
  • L Colors: Bronze, grey 
  • L Width: 64 mm
  • Hydrophobic: Yes
  • Oleophobic: Yes
  • Polarization: 100% 

Review  

This pair of Maui Jim World Cup fly fishing sunglasses are awesome for freshwater fishing thanks to their lens colors. You can pick from copper or grey which is ideal for seeing fish in all freshwater environments.

They feature no mirrored lenses though, so they won’t offer enough protection in saltwater as the mirror is what blocks light transmission to protect your eyes from the sun.

The polarized lenses are made of glass for better clarity and have color-enhancing technology built-in for better contrast, so anglers can spot fish and depth/bottom changes easily when fishing. The lenses also repel oil and water so you don’t have to clean them so often.

Pros

  • Color enhancing glass lenses for better contrast and image
  • They repel oil and water for less cleaning
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Top-quality polarization 
  • Comfortable and light to wear 

Cons

  • Limited color options 
  • Not great for saltwater

Smith Optics Basecamp Chromapop

Smith Optics Basecamp Chromapop

Available at:

Best Allrounder

Specs 

  • Frame Material: Injected Polymer
  • Colors: Black, tortoise, Meditteranean, iron, gravy  
  • Lens (L) Material: Polycarbonate 
  • L Colors: Black, blue mirror, g. mirror, yell. , amber, grey 
  • L Width: 59 mm 
  • Hydrophobic: Yes
  • Oleophobic: Yes
  • Polarization: 100% 

Review

Smith Optics, along with the other companies mentioned above, makes some of the sunglasses best for fly fishing you’re likely to find.

The frames on these Smith Chromapop fly fishing sunglasses are made with an injected polymer for both durability and comfort. They are light, don’t rub your ears, and even come with auto-locking hinges so they stay open or closed as anglers wish.

The lenses as polycarbonate for clarity plus scratch and impact resistance. They also feature Smith’s chromapop polarchromic polarisation technology that not only ensures anglers see every fish but also blocks out 100% of the UV from the sun for top-of-the-line protection. You can pick from pretty much every mirror and lens color option out there to suit all fishing situations too.

These truly are some of the best sunglasses for fly fishing you’re likely to find, and they are not overpriced either.

Pros

  • Made with 53% bio-based eco-friendly material
  • Auto-lock hinges so they stay open/closed
  • A solid range of lens colors and mirror options
  • Long-lasting, impact, and scratch-resistant
  • Lenses repel oil and water to stay clean 
  • Top of the line polarization for seeing through water 
  • Lifetime Guarantee 

Cons

  • A little expensive

Smith Guide’s Choice

Smith Guide's Choice

Available at:

Best For Saltwater

Specs 

  • Frame Material: Injected Polymer 
  • Colors: Black, tortoise, Meditteranean, iron, gravy  
  • Lens (L) Material: Techlite Glass
  • L Colors: Black, blue mirror, green mirror, yellow, amber, grey 
  • L Width: 62 mm 
  • Hydrophobic: Yes
  • Oleophobic: Yes
  • Polarization: 100% 

Review

Another set of fishing sunglasses to consider are the Smith Guide’s Choice. These are made exactly the same as the Smith Optics above except they feature Chromapop + lenses and the lenses are made from Smith’s Techlite glass instead of polycarbonate.

The Smith Chromapop + polarized lenses add further eye protection from the sun while the glass and anti-reflective coating ensure a better image every time. Plus you don’t get to see that annoying reflection of your cheek when the sun is behind you, and you can focus on fishing instead.

The lenses come in a huge range of colors and mirrors, plus there are low light options as well. There is are lensses for every fly fishing situation with these glasses.

These are the choice sunglasses for saltwater fly fishing thanks to their awesome protection from light reflecting off the water, and the lenses are so well polarized they will have you spotting fish you can even reach with your fly rod.

Pros

  • Chromapop + polarized lenses are lighter with better clarity 
  • Repels water and oils for cleaner sunglasses 
  • Anti-reflective for a better image
  • Amazing polarization
  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Come with lifetime guarantee

Cons

  • Expensive 

Fly Fishing Sunglasses Buyers Guide

Fly Fishing Sunglasses Buyers Guide

What Does Polarized Mean?

We have already mentioned that fly fishers should use the best polarized sunglasses for their fishing excursions. You’ll get the benefits of clear vision, protection from the UV rays of the sun, reduced glare on the water surface and reduced eye strain. But, what does polarized sunglasses mean exactly, and what do they offer?

Polarised sunglasses have a special lens filter that blocks the intense reflection of the sun’s rays to reduce glare from the water. A film is heated and stretched over the lens, causing the molecules to be arranged in parallel fibres. This unique arrangement enables the fibres to act as shutters that block the reflection, which travels horizontally on flat surfaces like glass, water or wet roads. As a result, the angler gets a vivid depiction of the objects in front of him, e.g., the details of the fish and its outline are clearer.

Sadly, most individuals don’t know how to tell if glasses are polarized and suitable for fly fishing? You can perform a simple three-second test by tilting the glasses over an image on a mobile phone, laptop, LCD display screen or other devices. Portions of the image will go dark when using polarised sunglasses. This feature enables fishers to see through the glare and into the water below. 

You can also use your fish finder display to determine if the sunglasses are polarised. Marine electronics manufacturers are using a polarising film on the LCD to make the display clearer to fishers wearing polarised glasses. Sitting in front of the fish finder creates a clear screen, but once you turn to the side, the screen goes dim. If you are wearing regular lenses, the screen will not change.

See also our post on Deeper Fish Finder Review here.

The market provides a vast selection of polarised glasses, and it can be overwhelming to choose the right pair. They come in different shapes and lens colors, which affects performance. For example, glasses with yellow lenses are ideal for anglers fishing during cloudy days, while those with darker shades are great for sunny days. The next section highlights the essential features that anglers should look at when buying the best glasses to protect your eyes from the sun when fishing.

Why are they important?

These glasses are not your regular sunglasses, but offer special benefits and are specifically designed to cut through glare for all day fly fishing. This greatly increases your chance of seeing fish, which is half the battle when fishing anyway, right?

These glasses are important even on a cloudy day, as they remove the reflection on the water surface and help us see fish and underwater hazards better. When combined with one of the best fishing hat options, you’ll see a lot more underwater. Once the polarised glasses eliminate the glare on the water surface, you can follow the movement of fish easily and cast the flies in the right direction. Improved visibility also increases safety, since wading through fast flowing rivers can be dangerous.

What to Consider when buying Fishing Sunglasses?

The Type of Lens

There are two types of lenses – plastic and glass. Glass lenses offer more visual clarity and scratch and chemical resistance but are heavier and more expensive than plastic versions. Recent technological developments have helped manufacturers mass-produce polycarbonate glasses more cost-effectively to offer on the market. 

Fortunately, mass production has not compromised the quality of this vital product. Technology has come a long way, and plastic sunglasses now offer outstanding polarization while being lightweight and providing impact resistance. Fishers who engage in grass mat punching find plastic glasses particularly useful due to the risky nature of the task.

The Color of the Lenses

The Color of the Lenses

While the color of the lens is a matter of personal preference, the individual shades are ideal for different conditions. Fishing glasses that have a gray tint offer excellent glare reduction when fishing in direct sunlight and have minimal color distortion. They are also great for long-term use during medium to sunny light conditions.

From brown to copper and plain to mirror lenses, here’s what these different options offer:

Copper, Brown or Amber

A copper, brown or amber coloured lens is ideal for low light conditions, e.g., when fishing in the evening, early in the morning or during cloudy weather. This is because the copper/amber glasses allow more light in, which results in more visual crispness when there is less light. Amber or copper lenses are the best fishing sunglasses for all-around fishing, because of their ability to differentiate colors.

Yellow lenses

Yellow glasses are designed for fly fishers and are a great choice to go with, as they help them differentiate between the fish and the lake bottom. I found these sunglasses useful when spotting irregularities in the grass when shallow fishing. 

For offshore fishing, I bought a pair of blue color glasses. They are layered with a grey base lens that blocks the harsh rays of the sun during open water fishing in sunny conditions.

Green Lenses

Anglers fishing in freshwater opt for the green color and green mirror lenses due to their unique copper/amber base color. These green mirror lenses enhance glare reduction during sunny days, making a pair of green glasses perfect when the sun is shining. 

The green lenses also offer excellent contrast and color under these conditions. They come in handy when fishing in deep saltwater when the depth of the spotted fish does not matter. A set of green mirror or plain glasses will be a huge benefit when out on the water.

fly fishing lens colour

Available Coatings

Thanks to the latest technology, the layer offers extra protection and comes in different colors to add an aesthetic appeal to the lens. Additionally, the colors filter out specific light rays within the colour spectrum, creating a unique blue mirrored colour formed by the rich, blue nature of the water. Top rated sunglasses have different types of coatings- mirror coating, scratch resistant coating or the hydrophobic coating to prevent water from spotting on the surface.

Non-slip Frames

Buying a pair of sunglasses that need constant adjusting can be very annoying for fishers. Fly fishing mainly involves casting in a continuous movement hence, the need to wear a pair that don’t slide off the face when replacing the fly on the water. Be sure to go for a frame that fits the shape of your face.

Polarizing Out

Polarizing Out

If I had to choose the best fly fishing sunglasses from the review it would be the Costa Fantail fishing sunglasses. The lenses are top quality, the sunglasses are light and durable, comfy to wear, and come with a customer lifetime guarantee.

Thanks for reading my article about the best fly fishing sunglasses, I hope you enjoyed it and it pointed you in the right direction to find the fishing sunglasses best for you.

Polarized fishing sunglasses are a must for all fishing situations, not just because they help you spot fish, but also because they protect your eyes. Thanks again for reading, and tight lines until next time.

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2 thoughts on “Best Fly Fishing Sunglasses”

  1. Thnkx for spending the time to write this, I feel strongly about it and love reading more on this topic.

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