One of the most valuable pieces of equipment an angler can have in their possession on the water is one that might surprise some enthusiasts that are new to the sport.
Sunglasses have immense advantages to fishermen that allow them to not only protect their eyes, but also to see deep into the water beyond what the naked eye is capable of catching.
Nearly every professional angler has the telltale “racoon” eyes tan line that’s caused from wearing sunglasses for hours on end while fishing.
It can serve as a hard-earned badge of honor for many fishermen, but have you ever watched a professional angler switch out the sunglasses he’s wearing for another pair during a tournament?
There’s a good reason why many anglers carry different kinds of lenses with them when fishing.
If you’ve ever went to purchase a pair of sunglasses from a sporting goods store, you’ve probably noticed that there are a variety of different styles and colors when it comes to lenses. This has nothing to do with fashion and everything to do with functionality.
Go for Polarized Lenses
As you might already know, anglers who don’t wear polarized sunglasses are really handicapping themselves from the very start. The best color lenses for fishing might vary, but always be sure that the lenses you’re looking to purchase are polarized.
What does “polarized lenses” mean?
Simply put, polarized lenses are specially designed to allow vertical light rays to enter through the lenses while filtering out horizontal light rays.
Have you ever been fishing without sunglasses on a sunny day and notice that your eyes tend to hurt after a while? That’s because your eyes are being bombarded with vertical and horizontal light rays thanks to the many different, moving angles on the water surface that reflect the sun’s rays back toward you.
As a general rule regardless of lens color the best fishing sunglasses will have polarized lens as standard.
They will also creatly reduce surface glare and reduce the amount of squinting and eye strain that you would normally encounter when not using good lens.
Polarized lenses will take care of your eyes and preserve your vision much longer than non-polarized lenses. For anglers, polarized lenses are a must.
Best Color Lens for Fishing
1. Yellow Lenses
If you’re familiar at all with rifle scopes, you’ve probably noticed that most of the scopes that are optimized for low-light situations have a yellowish hue to them.
This is because yellow lens coating helps to create a heightened color contrast, meaning that they will provide more clarity early in the morning, or late in the evening at dusk.
Yellow lenses are also a good choice for overcast or rainy days when the sun just won’t come out and shine. They will allow for greater depth perception and sharpness, which is extremely handy when you’re talking about looking into the water to survey different types of structure.
While they have plenty of great qualities, yellow lenses are not a good choice for bright, sunny days.
2. Copper Lenses
Let’s cut to the chase—if you’re looking for one pair of sunglasses that you can wear at any time of the day, rain or shine and be at an advantage over other anglers who are sporting cheap, non-polarized sunglasses, copper lenses are what you’re looking for.
There is a common myth out there that copper lenses are made for more brownish-colored water and grey lenses are for clearer water. This is simply not true.
Copper lenses have much of the same high color contrast capability as the yellow lenses, but they also provide protection against very bright sunlight thanks to their darker coloring. This makes them a great all-around choice, and probably the best color lens for fishing if you ask many anglers.
Also, copper lenses are a favorite for anglers who are sight fishing and heavily rely on their ability to see deep into the water and get a visual on bedding bass or other game fish. Think of copper lenses as being much like X-ray vision for anglers.
3. Grey Lenses
Grey colored lenses are more about protection than they are about being able to see into the water with great clarity in the same way you can with copper lenses.
While grey lenses have much of the same high contrast ability that copper and yellow lenses are known for, these types of shades are designed more for protecting your eyes against bright sunlight.
Grey lenses are ideal for when you’re fishing in deep water, or when you don’t expect to need to rely on seeing any underwater structure.
They greatly reduce eye fatigue and are able to prevent eye damage better than other colors.
4. Mirrored Lenses
If maximum eye protection is your concern, mirrored lenses are best for blocking more light rays than other lenses.
Instead of allowing the light rays to penetrate through the lens, mirrored lenses actually reflect most of the light rays that would otherwise pierce through normal sunglasses.
Mirrored lenses don’t offer much in the way of helping you see into the water and gain insight as to what kind of underwater cover is beneath you, but it can serve a purpose when you’ve been fishing for days on end and your vision has taken a beating.
Lens for Fishing Buyer’s Guide
When it comes to purchasing a pair of shades for fishing or any other activity, you get what you pay for.
Some of the more expensive brands don’t just offer a well-known name and logo, they feature some serious benefits over the cheaper models that will quickly degrade and likely break under the slightest pressure.
Purchasing glass lenses as opposed to acrylic or polyurethane lenses will carry advantages like being more scratch resistant while also offering superb clarity over other material.
Cheap sunglasses are almost always made with acrylic lenses, which will become scratched or broken more easily than other types of material.
Cheap lens are a false economy as it is with any other type of fishing tackle.
There are some brands out there that manufacture quality sunglasses with polyurethane lenses. Popular brands like Oakley, Maui Jim, and many more produce great shades that are moderately affordable and ultra-lightweight.
When purchasing a quality pair of sunglasses for fishing, be sure to go with a pair that feature heavier and taller frames as this will also help block out more sunlight.
Remember that sunglasses are a tool that a smart angler uses to their advantage. While other fishermen are likely selecting different colors based on personal preference and basing their decisions solely on looks, you’ll be able to understand the advantages of each kind of lens and use them effectively.