Buying yourself a decent pair of polarising sunglasses is one of the best things you can do to not only improve your fishing, but also protect your eyes.
Today, most anglers acknowledge the importance and value of wearing polarising sunglasses whenever they wet a line, at least during daylight hours. These glasses not only allow us to see through the surface glare, and provide a much better picture of what’s going on underwater, they also give essential protection for our eyes from damaging ultraviolet radiation, flying fish hooks, stray rod tips and poking tree branches. Remember, we only get issued with one set of eyes for an entire lifetime, so it really pays to look after them!
While you may be able to get by with a pair of cheap sunnies from the local service station or supermarket, this type of budget eyewear won’t perform anywhere near as well, nor last as long, as a pair of quality polarised sunglasses from a reputable maker.
You wouldn’t (or shouldn’t!) rely on a $25 fishing reel to provide reliable, long-term service, so it’s a big mistake to expect the same from cheap sunnies. Spend a couple of hundred bucks (just as you would on a premium reel) and you’ll end up with a product that works extremely well and will serve you for many, many years — so long as you don’t drop them overboard or leave them on the seat of the car where they can be sat on!
There are many great brands of fishing eyewear on the market these days. I make no secret about being a diehard Mako fan, but there are half a dozen other high profile makers who offer products of a similarly high standard. Shop around, ask questions, talk to your mates and seek out as many opinions as possible before choosing your glasses, and try to opt for a company that advertises fishing-specific models, rather than an ultra fashion-conscious (and ultra-expensive!) supplier catering primarily to the surfing, snow skiing or night clubbing fraternity.
You can go with either glass or polycarbonate lenses. Glass is heavier, but also stronger, more resistant to scratching, and arguably a little better optically, although modern polycarbonate lenses from the top makers are very good. You’ll need to take better care of them than glass, which means not cleaning your sunnies with the sleeve or tail of a grubby, gritty fishing shirt! Carry a proper lens cleaning cloth, keep it clean and use it regularly.
Most makers offer a range of lens tints that provide differing levels of light transmission, contrast and colour enhancement for improved target separation. As a rule of thumb, yellowish lenses are best in low light conditions (dawn, dusk or under heavy overcast), while rose, copper, bronze and brown are great all-round colours, and especially well suited to freshwater and estuarine applications. Darker grey lenses are considered best for very bright conditions, tropical flats fishing and offshore work. But don’t take my word for it: try a few variations and see what you prefer!
If you wear prescription glasses in day-to-day life, you may also need to consider prescription sunglasses for fishing. These are even more expensive than the standard variety, but well worth the extra dollars. Better still, you may find that your private health insurance policy covers part or even all of the cost! Talk to your optometrist about your options.
If you don’t do so already, get into the habit of wearing polarising sunnies every single time you fish, and for goodness sake, get yourself a decent pair and keep those cheap and nasty ones as spares or loaners! If you’d like to find out more, scan the QR code accompanying this column and watch my short video clip.
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