The right lenses: By Capt. Tim Egenrieder - Originally published July 2013, Coastal Angler of Boston
I have several friends that have $100,000+ boats, several
$1000 reels and titanium pliers in a custom leather holster - that wear $15
sunglasses. I don’t know about
you, but my eyes are far more important to me than a glorified hook
Whether you are looking to sight-cast to trout in a small
stream, stripers on the flats or trying to find a school of pogies in the
harbor - The right polarized sunglasses will make the difference between a
great day and tired eyes with a lot less fish.
What is Polarization?:
Sunlight is both refracted and reflected (polarized) when it
hits water. Refraction is the
bending of light into water. This
is why fish both appear smaller and higher in the water column than they actually
are. Reflection of light (glare)
is the mirror like effect that makes seeing into water difficult. Polarized lenses block this reflected
light with a special polymer film that has crystals electrically or
magnetically aligned to block light waves traveling parallel to the viewed
surface. This is why two polarized
lenses rotated perpendicular to each other will block all light.
Polarized sunglasses are an absolute must have tool in any
fishing situation. There are many
considerations for choosing the perfect pair for your intended use.
Sunglass frames should fit snugly on your nose and ears
without pinching or rubbing. Make sure that there is rubber on the nose and
ears to prevent sliding from sweat.
To prevent light from hitting your eyes from overhead, choose a pair
that fits close to your face around the brow area without making contact with
Gray: Great for
bright sun in offshore, clear water situations.
Brown/Copper: My preferred inshore lens color. They work equally well in clear and
stained water. Great for sight
fishing in most light conditions.
Rose: Great for
trout streams, driving, and low light inshore days
for target separation. Perfect for
shooting sports, terrible for your eyes while in bright sun and fishing
Mirrored lenses have a highly reflective coating on the
front, also known as flash coating. These reflective surfaces reduce the amount
of light that comes through the lens. Mirrored lenses help reduce eye fatigue
on a bright day on the water. These lenses are available in several different
colors. I prefer blue-mirrored
lenses offshore and on very bright days.
I wear green-mirrored lenses on 90% of all my fishing trips in Boston
Just as the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage skin,
they can also harm the lens and cornea of the eyes. Ultraviolet radiation is composed of three classes:
Ultraviolet A (UVA) 400 – 315 nm, Ultraviolet B (UVB) 315 – 280 nm, Ultraviolet
C (UVC) 280 – 100 nm. You should
look for lenses that are UV400 (to 400nm) certified. These lenses will block the vast majority of all harmful UV
radiation. Eye fatigue is best
prevented with lenses that block yellow light in the 580 nm wavelength. This is the wavelength of light that
makes you squint and generally hurts your eyes.
The only thing worse than paying $200 for sunglasses is
having to do it again from lack of care.
I keep mine in a rigid case with padding inside when they’re not being
worn. I also wear a lanyard around
my neck that attaches to the temple pieces. This is far from a fashion statement, but I have never
damaged sunglasses in any way by having them dangling from my neck. Always start with clean fresh water and
a microfiber cloth for cleaning.
If necessary, use a small amount of mild detergent soap (as always, Dawn
works great). Do not use windex or
ammonia (high ph) based cleaners
And of course cost:
Sunglasses are a lot like rods and reels. There are cheap versions that work fine
and often better than mid priced models.
The best in consistent clarity, preventing eye fatigue and blocking UV
light are also the most expensive and around $200.
I am now on my 4 year of wearing Costa Del Mar
Fathom 580’s daily. I have never
felt eye fatigue in over 500 days on the water with them. They are the best lenses that I have
ever worn and worth every penny.
See you out there…