A pair of fly fishing sunglasses is a must-have item for any avid of us. Just try fishing without them one day, and you’ll find that all of a sudden you can’t see anything.
Polarized lenses make such a large difference that I think they’re as important as your rod! In this article we’re going to run through the best fly fishing sunglasses you can get today, plus a guide to how to pick the right glasses.
From Smith to Dudomo, colour lenses and mirror lenses, we’ve put together reviews of the best options for fly fishers. Costa are some of the most popular glasses for fishing, but there are plenty of other options too. Check out our reviews to find out which is the right product for you!
Oakley Men’s Holbrook Polarized Glasses
Oakley sunglasses are rated the best-polarized option for many outdoor enthusiasts due to their exceptional optical precision, lightweight nature, comfortable fit, and sleek appearance. The Holbrook Polarized Rectangular product is no exception, as we learned when researching for these reviews. It has polarized lenses, high contrast, and an ombre underlayer that enhances your eyesight during low-lit conditions.
What’s more, the sunglasses still feature the characteristic vintage style highlighted by the rectangular-shaped frame. This design echoes the 1940s, 50s and 60s style of frame, used by idols who greatly inspired the co-founders when they were developing the product. You also get great eye coverage with this shape.
Another great feature of the Oakley Men’s Holbrook Polarized Rectangular Sunglasses is the melt bolts and icons fitted to highlight the stress-resistant O Matter frame and enhance its lightweight outline. The manufacturer uses pure Plutonite lenses that block UVC, UVA, and UVB rays, plus harmful blue light by up to 400 nm.
What I liked about this product from Oakley is the different frame and lens combinations available. You can buy the frame and lens that meets your needs for the best fit. This is pretty impressive for anglers looking for the best fishing sunglasses for all-round use, all day long. As such, you can go for Oakley’s polarized lenses, which reduces glare by 99%, or the Iridium lens coating that balances out the light transmission.
Duduma Polarized Sports Sunglasses
These are probably the best sunglasses under $50 on the market right now. Duduma polarized sunglasses come fitted with TAC polarized lenses that filter out 100% of UVA, UVC and UVB rays. They also filter out the harmful blue light by up to 400nm to restore the original color of the water while eliminating the scattered or reflected light.
What’s more, the sunglasses have a lightweight design and great fit, that makes them ideal for other outdoor activities like climbing, racing, skiing, driving, cycling and running. The frame and lenses are available in different color combinations to suit the varying preferences of users, so you can choose the frame which you like best. Constructed from polycarbonate material, the frame is protected against scratches with an enhanced impact-resistance feature, too.
The manufacturer offers lifetime breakage warranty as standard on the lenses and frame. This warranty coverage is included in the price, which gives you the confidence of their durable nature. Duduma also provides thirty day money back guarantee that allows customers to return the sunglasses within this period or get a refund in case of any problems.
My pair of Duduma sunglasses arrived in a pretty awful state, which shows that their quality control is not 100%. I mentioned this issue to Amazon customer service, and I was lucky to get a replacement almost immediately.
Smith Optics (Best Optics)
These Smith Optics sunglasses have a ChromaPop feature that optimises optical precision while protecting your eyes from UV rays. Smith’s Techlite glass and carbonic lens construction provide impact resistance benefits. And the polarized filters and finish have multiple layers, including anti-scratch, anti-reflective, and hydrophobic coatings to preserve color perception and deliver precise visual crispness in all environments.
The polarization feature on these Smith glasses has multiple benefits: First, it reduces glare from horizontal surfaces like water, snow and asphalt. Secondly, the Smith lenses are designed to minimise depth perception and increase contrast, so fishers can easily identify fish swimming afar off.
The polarization feature also reduces visual acuity, which leads to eye fatigue. I found this feature particularly interesting as most anglers experience eye fatigue after prolonged use of glasses. Smith has designed the polarized layer to filter out 99.9% of this visual static, for a more fine-tuned view of the object.
Smith also includes a Polarchromic feature that combines glare-free benefits of the cutting-edge Smith polarization technology with the UV sensitive, a self-adjusting photochromic technology that enables these Smith sunglasses to adjust to the existing light conditions. As a result, fishers have the perfect tint for the intensity of light for the current environment.
The feature is further enhanced by Smith’s Tapered Lens technology, designed to straighten out the incoming light rays for maximum comfort and 100% accuracy. On a less techy note, the cool black frame of these glasses will look awesome out on the water and in all your fishing shots! Out of all our reviews, we recommend the Smith if you have a big budget and want a premium product and a comfy fit.
Check out these amazing glasses on Amazon!
BLUPOND Sports Sunglasses Review (Best Lowlight)
This pair is specially designed to diffuse harmful light for enhanced visual clarity. The manufacturer uses semi TAC polarized coloured lenses to reduce distortion and give optical clarity for night use. Its light neutralizing technology improves range and field vision, while the 100% UV 400 Titans protect the user’s eyes from the harsh environmental elements.
Blupond sunglasses feature a metal frame construction that is designed to withstand the inevitable dings and bumps that anglers experience when fishing. The frame has an intuitive design that creates a large field of sight without distorting your view. The lenses are made of polycarbonate material that is shatterproof and tinted with a light blue neutralisation to keep the user’s eyes on target at all times.
Another exciting feature about this pair of sunglasses is its lightweight build and cool style, ensuring the perfect fit. Weighing 26 grams in total, frame and lenses included, the sunglasses are ultra-thin with a rubberised support system for additional security. You’ll be comfortable wearing them all day.
Take your pick from then five different colors currently available, with both normal and mirror options for the lenses. You can choose from blue mirror lenses, yellow lenses, silver mirror lenses, silver+ orange mirror lenses, and black + yellow lenses.
Creekside Bifocal Sunglasses (Best Bifocals)
As the name suggests, these products have a bifocal feature that offers two lens powers simultaneously. Firstly, you’ll be able to focus on distant objects clearly, and secondly, you’ll be able to view things more clearly at specific distances. A combination of these two features creates a visible bifocal line that provides cutting-edge visual benefits and a higher contrast compared to other lenses.
Apart from the unique bifocal feature, Creekside® Bifocal makes the best glasses for your money, with a price of just under $60. The light weight is another huge bonus, as this pair weighs just 1.6 pounds. You’ll be able to wear these glasses for hours with no discomfort.
Creekside bifocal sunglasses are also fitted with a rubberized earpiece that prevents slippage and a one-piece nosepiece that is adjustable. The lenses are made of polycarbonate and are polarized, giving 100% UV protection from the sun’s glare. The package comes with a carrying case that protects the unique shades of the lenses.
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.
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 Polarized Sunglasses for Fly Fishing?
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. 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
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Clearly from our reviews, you can see that several factors come into play when buying sunglasses for fishing. The polarization feature dominates all the other characteristics. It’s so important because it enhances the visual sharpness of the glasses and reduces eye strain, among many other benefits highlighted earlier in the text.
Next, you want to look at the type of the lens; glass lenses offer great crispness of vision, but tend to be much heavier. Plastic lenses are the best for fishing excursions as anglers wear sunglasses for a pretty long time. The colour of the lenses also comes in handy, depending on the time you intend to go fishing.
Amber or copper coloured lenses are great for all-around use, while yellow-coloured sunglasses are suitable for shallow-fishing. You also want to check the frames; they should have a non-slip feature that ensures the sunglasses frames remain firm when fishing.
We hope you found this guide helpful! Take your pick from our reviews of the best glasses options for fly fishers. Any of these products in the reviews above will serve you well for fishing on the fly.
If you’ve found these reviews useful, don’t forget to check out our other reviews. We’ve covered everything a fly fisher could need at Fly Fisher Pro!