Again, it's been a few years since we last updated our picks for the best fishing sunglasses to take with you on the water, whether the water is a sunny river of crystal clear rock, a tree-lined Spring Creek, a murky pond of sea bass, a salt water plain or the deep blue ocean.
Two years can sometimes be a long time in the world of lenses and frames, as manufacturers bring all kinds of materials and design innovations to market. Other times, things change very little, leaving the best options pretty much the same. These past two years haven't been without innovation, but they haven't been full of it either. Many of our past picks have continued to serve us as well as they have in years past, while at least one newcomer has quickly become a favorite.
And, as always, our standard disclaimer: Take all "better" this and "better" those claims with a big grain of salt. All our eyes are different. All anglers fish in highly variable conditions. What helps one brain solve objects at a distance is not necessarily what helps another brain do the same. Our "Top" Picks are simply our favorites after many years of testing a wide variety of lenses in a wide variety of conditions around the world. We do our best to point you in the right direction and share our opinions, but they are just that: opinions. The only one who really knows what's best for you is you.
The problem with sunglasses is that there's no way to test them. Testing them in the store won't tell you much about anything except (maybe) clarity. Even taking them outside for a walk won't tell you much. Where a pair of eyewear proves its worth is in its fishing grounds. And so, I say this, we hope that our time dedicated to wading through arroyos, floating rivers, accessing llanos, etc., and the opinions that we have formed about the lenses that we have taken, will be useful for making the next pair of glasses of sun Fishing. you buy the right one.
Best full sun
When chasing trout down a sunny river like the Missouri of Montana, looking for noses in the glare of the morning sun, or looking down from a high bank to pick out the biggest rainbow floating in the water below.Costa Color Blocking 580G Copper LensIt remains, by far, our destination.
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If you're not well versed in sunglasses technology, and there's no good reason why most people should be, Costa's 580 series of lenses (both 580G; glass and 580P; plastic) are named after 580 nanometers (nm): The wavelength of light at which Costa's 580 lenses block light. If you look at a graph of the visible light color spectrum, you will see that 580 nm corresponds to yellow light. According to Costa, blocking "strong" yellow light enhances the reds, greens, and blues (or at least your perception of them) and, in the process, increases definition and contrast.
The color spectrum of visible light.
When compared to a standard polarized lens, there is no doubt that Costa's 580G lenses allow for better resolution of fine details. That subtle puff of a trout's tail that allows you to spy a fish placidly emerging just below the surface? In our experience, you're more likely to choose this fish if you're armed with the Costa's 580G compared to other polarized lenses.
Like most glass lenses, the Costa 580G offers excellent clarity and, thanks to Costa's "Lightwave Glass", doesn't weigh as much as standard glass lenses. If the weight of the glass lens makes you uncomfortable to wear all day, then you can confidently look to Costa's 580 equivalent, the 580P. When it comes to pushing, it doesn't offer the clarity that glass lenses do, but most people can't even tell the difference.
Finally, for anglers who primarily fish in bright sunny conditions, we've found the 12% VLT (Variable Light Transmission) of Costa's 580G lenses to be ideal for combating eyestrain throughout the day. Sometimes we would like a little more light in the early morning and afternoon hours, but on a sunny day the 12% VLT seems to suit us better. If you're an older fisherman or anyone else whose eyes need a little more light, you might want to look into alternatives like Smith's full sun option, listed below.
BUY THE COAST 580G COPPER (via Amazon.com)
With 14% VLT,Lentes Smith Brown ChromaPOPlets in a little more light than the Costa 580G. Now, 2% isn't exactly a ton of light, so don't expect a drastic difference. But, if you traditionally find sunglasses to be a little too dark or want your lenses to linger a few more minutes in the night hatch, Smith's ChromaPop Brown lenses are a great choice.
Like the Costa 580G, Smith's ChromaPop lenses are designed to enhance contrast and definition, and like the Costa 580G, the ChromaPop lenses do this by locking in color to a specific wavelength. Unlike the 580 series lenses, however, Smith chose to block colors at two different wavelengths (580 and 450 nm). According to Smith, this helps the brain distinguish between red, green and blue by blocking the areas of the color spectrum where these colors intersect. The effect is similar to Costa's 580 series, but not identical to what you might expect due to the different technology.
COMPRE THE SMITH CHROMAPOP BROWN (via Amazon.com)
better in low light
The only category with a real change, these round low light sunglasses are a category often overlooked by many anglers. For many, this is simply because having two (often expensive) pairs of sunglasses is simply not an option. For those of you who have the luxury of a second pair of specialty shades, you've probably already found what we've got: Specialty low-light lenses aren't all that special.
Clearly, low-light lenses cover the early morning and evening hours, when traditional sunglasses are simply too dark. But they are more versatile than you think. After putting them on a few times, you'll realize that on cloudy days, low light lenses are your go-to. Even on days with intermittent or wispy clouds, it's generally better to go to the river with your low-light goggles than the "standard" pair. And if you're fishing in a shady canyon, an Arkansas whoop, or a narrow wooded eastern mountain stream where sunlight cuts through, again, low-light goggles should be your choice.
We've been looking for Costa's new entry into the low-light market - it's580 series silver sunrise mirror lens- for a few years now and in that time, particularly buoyed by the recent first-time release of the "G" version of this lens, it has supplanted old favorites like the Maui Jim HT lens. Costa's Silver Sunrise 580G mirror offers a 30% VLT, letting in much more light than your standard 10-14% VLT solar lens. While another old favorite, Smith's Techlite Low Light Ignitor, offers much more light with its 40% VLT, we still found greater object clarity and resolution with Costa's Sunrise Mirror lens, likely due to the presence of light blocking. other low light lenses.
BUY THE COSTA 580G SILVER SUNRISE MIRROR (via Amazon.com)
As mentioned above, theSmith Techlite Low Light LighterIt offers 10% more VLT than the Costa Silver Sunrise mirror. You won't get the versatility you'll find in the Costa lens, but if it's true low-light specialty you're after, feel free to give these Smiths a try.
BUY THE SMITH TECHLITE LOW RANGE ILLUMINATOR (via Amazon.com)
best salt water
Our flat lens choice has probably evolved more than any other over the years. Our recommendation on which lens to use hasn't changed much, but our confidence with which we build it has. This could simply be why most of us don't spend 100 days a year in shallow water chasing bonefish, tarpon, barracuda, or if you're really lucky (or seriously disturbed) let it. But as we spend more time on the plains, we've leaned more and more towards Costa's Green Mirror 580G lens, a lens Costa manufactures specifically for flat environments rather than blue (deep) ocean environments.
Here's a secret, or maybe something you haven't been paying attention to: The next best goggles for flatfishing, other than those made specifically for flats, are the ones you probably already own: your copper or bronze. In flat environments where clear water and shallow depths predominate, the same lenses that will serve you best in improving contrast and definition will also serve you well in your trout stream.
The way to up the game for use on flats is to cut the VLT, blocking more of the constant strong sun found in the tropics, and clean up the light a bit by selectively blocking. Costa's 580G Green Mirror handles both tasks by lowering the VLT to 10%, blocking the color of yellow light at 580 nm like all 580 series, and adding the green mirror coating to reflect green light/glare off flat surfaces. (if you think blue when you think of floors, no, look at your photos, the predominant colors on floors are yellow and green).
While a little more light blocking and color reflection might not seem like a lot, locating fish in flats is often very difficult for anglers who don't spend most of their day there. With that in mind, we'll take every opportunity to increase the odds of finding a cruise or allow bonefish in our favor, and in many days spent in flats from Florida to Belize, we haven't come across anything as confident as the 580G Green. by costa. Mirror Lenses.
BUY THE COSTA 580G GREEN MIRROR (via Amazon.com)
Frankly, we don't believe in the idea that special blue water lenses are a thing. In other words, they are necessary. We were well served by Costa's green mirror and standard copper/bronze sunglasses when patrolling the depths. That said, if you're looking for a blue water expert, we were equally (if not a little more) impressed with Smith's ChromaPop Blue Mirror and Costa's 580G Blue Mirror.
SHOP SMTH CHROMAPOP BLUE MIRROR (via Amazon.com)
BUY THE MIRROR BLUE COSTA 580G (via Amazon.com)
The more things change, the more they stay the same. And one thing that hasn't changed since our first series of picks for the best fishing sunglasses some 7 years ago is Smith's choice of Techlite Polarchromic Copper lenses as the most versatile pair of fishing sunglasses in the world. Marketplace.
These days, Smith spends most of his time marketing his ChromaPop line of (plastic) lenses. Meanwhile, over the years, Smith has continued to manufacture and sell its Techlite line of glass lenses, albeit with little fanfare. And while they may not offer the color blocking technology found in Smith's ChromaPop range or Costa's 580 series, what they do offer is incredible clarity.
But the reason Smith's Techlite Polarchromic Copper lenses continue to claim the "most versatile" mantle is the fact that their VLT adjusts as light conditions change. This is the "polarchromic" part of the puzzle. Remember the kids at school you made fun of for usingtransitionscups? The transitions are polar comics, it's just that no one will make fun of you for being able to see more fish because you wear colored lenses in the marginal hours when other fishermen's glasses hang around your neck.
When the sun is stronger, the lenses darken. When less light comes out, the lenses are brighter. Over the course of a fishing day, the VLT of Polarchromic Copper lenses can be adjusted between 12% and 20%.
Proven brands: Costa, Smith Optics, Revo, Maui Jim, Spy Optics. Not proven: Oakley, RCI Optics.