A Guide to Choosing the Right Fishing Sunglasses
As a fly casting instructor and fisherman I always wear a pair of polarised sunglasses. I insist on my clients doing the same - the consequences of a hook lodged in someone's eye do not bear thinking about...
The bad stuff...
There are many reasons for wearing a pair of sunglasses. The most important for me is safety and protection. In almost all forms of angling, be it fly fishing, spinning, bait or lure fishing, hooks and line at some point will be passing in close proximity to me, my fishing partner’s or client’s eyes. A hook in the eye is not a pretty sight with the obvious potential to result in a life changing outcome. Wearing a pair of glasses provides protection against this all too common occurrence – just enquire at any hospital A&E department.
Apart from the more obvious use of sunglasses to protect our eyes from the sun’s rays, glare coming from the water (even in low light conditions), protection from wind, sand and dust. We are also (due to the properties of polarised lenses) enhancing visibility when looking through water, polarised glasses can also help us identify obstacles, trip hazards and steep drop offs below the water’s surface.
*Quality Polaroid glasses remove surface glare
Now for the good stuff...
As a fishing tool - due to the ability to see more clearly below the surface of the water, a pair of polarised sunglasses are invaluable. The help fisherman to ‘spot’ fish in the water, be it stalking trout in a chalkstream to bonefish on the tropical flats. Sportfish can supply a range of glasses from the entry level Sportfish models (including clip ons and Cocoons) to the top of the range Costa sunglasses. These glasses can be supplied in a wide range of styles and lens colours to suit different light conditions and locations, Bi-focals are also available as are prescription lenses.
Polaroids come in 2 main materials - polycarbonate (plastic) and glass. They both have their pros and cons. The pros for the polycarbonate lenses are that they are very light in weight and are ideal when coupled with a rimless or very lightweight frame, they are also much cheaper than the glass equivalent and start from as little as £20 and go up to around £280.
Glass on the other hand is heavier but offers the added bonus of being scratch resistant and therefore are more durable and offer a longer life for your investment, they are naturally more expensive to produce and start from around the £175 mark. We get asked an awful lot if the pair of glasses you buy really does make a difference to what you can see. The simple answer to that is a resounding YES! Buy the best that you can afford and look after them, they will look after you.
There are several shades of lens colour available on the market and each is designed for a specific use.
Copper: General fishing in freshwater ideal “all rounder” for rivers and stillwaters alike.
Yellow/Sunrise: Perfect for low light conditions a must have for those late evening rises.
Silver Mirror: Perfect for freshwater sight fishing and variable light activities.
Blue Mirror: Traditionally a lens for blue water fishing but favoured by many for the flats also.
Green Mirror: Designed with the saltwater flats in mind but equally at home in the UK.
In addition always attach your glasses to a retaining cord, some even float, so this essential piece of angling equipment doesn’t get lost if knocked or blown off.
Protect your eyes and maximize the chance of spotting and catching our elusive prey, as Costa say “See what’s out there”.
Guide by Sportfish expert Campbell Thomson