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.
Why Polarized Sunglasses for Fly Fishing?
These glasses are not your regular sunglasses but specially designed to cut through glare. This greatly increases your chance of seeing fish which is half the battle when fishing anyway, right?
These glasses are important even during cloudy days 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, they 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 Does Polarised Mean
We have already mentioned that anglers should use the best polarized sunglasses for their fishing excursions due to benefits such as 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?
Polarised sunglasses have a special filter that blocks the intense reflection of the sun’s rays to reduce glare. 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 sunglasses 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 sunglasses. Sitting in front of the fish finder creates a bright and 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 sunglasses, and it can be overwhelming to choose the right pair. They come in different shapes and lens colours, which affects performance. For example, glasses with yellow lenses are ideal for anglers fishing during cloudy weather while those with darker shades are great for bright, sunny days. The next section highlights the essential features that anglers should look at when buying the best sunglasses for fishing.
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 sunglasses. Recent technological developments have helped manufacturers mass-produce polycarbonate glasses more cost-effectively. Fortunately, the mass production has not compromised the quality of the sunglasses; plastic sunglasses offer outstanding polarisation, are lightweight and provide impact resistance. Fishers who engage in grass mat punching find plastic sunglasses particularly useful due to the risky nature of the task.
The Colour of the Lenses
While the colour of the lens is a matter of personal preference, the individual shades are ideal for different situations. Fishing sunglasses that have a grey tint offer excellent glare reduction when fishing in direct sunlight and have minimal colour distortion. They are also great for long-term use during medium to bright light conditions.
Copper, Brown or Amber
Copper, brown or amber coloured sunglasses are ideal for low light conditions, e.g., when fishing in the evening, early in the morning or during cloudy weather. This is because the glasses allow more light in, which results in more clarity when there is less light. Amber lenses are the best fishing sunglasses for all-around fishing because of their ability to differentiate colours.
Yellow sunglasses are designed for fly fishers as they help them differentiate between the fish bed 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-coloured sunglasses. They are layered with a grey base lens that blocks the harsh rays of the sun during open water fishing.
Anglers fishing in freshwater opt for the green-coloured and green mirror lenses due to their unique copper/amber base colour that enhances glare reduction during bright sunny days. The lenses also offer excellent contrast and colour under these conditions. They come in handy when fishing in deep saltwater when the depth of the spotted fish does not matter.
The layer offers extra protection and comes in different colours to add an aesthetic appeal to the lens. Additionally, the colours 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 of sunglasses that don’t slide off the face when replacing the fly on the water. Be sure to choose a frame that fits the shape of your face.
The Best Fly Fishing Sunglasses
Oakley Men’s Holbrook Polarised Review
Oakley sunglasses are rated the best-polarised sunglasses for many outdoor enthusiasts due to their exceptional optical clarity, lightweight nature and sleek appearance. The Holbrook Polarised Rectangular Sunglasses is no exception. It has polarised lenses and an ombre underlayer that enhances visual clarity during low-lit conditions. What’s more, the sunglasses still feature the characteristic vintage style highlighted by the rectangular shape. This design echoes the 1940s, 50s and 60s style used by idols who greatly inspired the co-founders when they were developing the product.
Another great feature of the Oakley Men’s Holbrook Polarised 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 filter out the UVC, UVA, UVB and the harmful blue light by up to 400 nm. What I liked about this pair of sunglasses from Oakley is the different frame and lens combinations available. This is pretty impressive for anglers looking for the best fishing sunglasses for all-around use. As such, fishers can choose Oakley’s polarised lenses, which reduces glare by 99% or those with Iridium lens coating that minimise more glare and balance out the light transmission.
Best Sunglasses Under 50
Duduma Polarized Sports Sunglasses Review
It is probably the best sunglasses under 50. Duduma polarised sunglasses come fitted with TAC polarised lenses that filter out 100% of UVA, UVC and UVB rays. It also filters out the harmful blue light by up to 400nm to restore the original colour of the water while eliminating the scattered or reflected light. What’s more, the sunglasses have a lightweight design that makes them great for other outdoor activities like climbing, racing, skiing, driving, cycling and running. The frames and lenses are available in different colour combinations to suit the varying preferences of users. They are made of polycarbonate material, which enhances the scratch and impact resistance feature.
The manufacturer offers lifetime breakage warranty on the lenses and frames, 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 problem. 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.
Best Amber Lens Sunglasses
Smith Optics Review
The sunglasses have a ChromaPop feature that optimises optical clarity while protecting your eyes from UV rays. Its Techlite glass and carbonic lens construction provide impact resistance benefits while the polarised filters and finish have multiple layers, including anti-scratch, anti-reflective and hydrophobic coatings that preserve colour perception and deliver precise visual clarity in all environments.
The polarisation feature has multiple benefits. First, it reduces glare from horizontal surfaces like water, snow and asphalt. Secondly, the lenses are designed to minimise depth perception, so fishers can easily identify fish swimming afar off. The polarisation 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 the sunglasses. The polarised layer is designed 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 polarisation technology with the UV sensitive, a self-adjusting photochromic technology that enables the 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 that straightens out the incoming light rays for maximum comfort and 100% accuracy.
Check out these amazing glasses on Amazon.
Best Low Light Fishing Sunglasses
BLUPOND Sports Sunglasses Review
This pair is specially designed to diffuse harmful light for enhanced visual clarity. The manufacturer uses semi TAC polarised coloured lenses that reduce distortion and give optical clarity for night use. Its light neutralising 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 frames have an intuitive design that creates a large field of sight without distorting clarity, and 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 always. Another exciting feature about this pair of sunglasses is its lightweight build. Weighing 26 grams only, the sunglasses are ultra-thin with a rubberised support system for additional security. It is available in five different colours. These are blue mirrored, yellow lenses, silver mirrored, silver+ orange mirrored and black + yellow lenses.
Best Bifocal Fishing Sunglasses
Creekside Bifocal Sunglasses
Just as its name, the sunglasses have a bifocal feature that offers two lens powers. First, anglers can focus on distant objects clearly and the second enables them to view things more clearly at a specific distance. A combination of these two features creates a visible bifocal line that provides cutting-edge visual benefits compared to other lenses. Apart from the unique bifocal feature, Creekside® Bifocal Sunglasses makes the best sunglasses for the money, costing a little less than $ 60. Its weight is another bonus as it weighs only 1.6 pounds. As such, anglers can wear sunglasses for long hours.
Creekside bifocal sunglasses are also fitted with a rubberised earpiece that prevents slippage and a one-piece nosepiece that is adjustable. The lenses are made of polycarbonate and are polarised, giving 100% UV protection from the sun’s glare. The package comes with a carrying case that protects the unique shades of the lenses.
Clearly, several factors come into play when buying sunglasses for fishing. The polarisation feature dominates all the other characteristics as it enhances the visual clarity of the sunglasses and reduces eye strain, among other benefits highlighted earlier in the text.
Next, you want to look at the type of the lens; glass lenses offer great clarity but are 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-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 remain firm when fishing.