Sunglasses have been popular for many years with anglers who need to reduce reflected glare from the water surrounding them so that they can locate and observe fish. But have you ever wondered how they work? Is it the case that you can purchase any pair of sunglasses, throw them on and you’ll find fish?

For many types of angling there is often no need to or no possibility that you’ll ever spot a fish before it takes your bait. Fishing at long range is one example and general bottom fishing is another, but sometimes being able to locate fish or see them as they home in on your bait or lure can increase your chances of a hook-up! The main areas of British fishing - saltwater and freshwater - where spotting fish or watching your tackle can be regarded as essential are free lining, float fishing and using surface lures including fly. In all these forms of angling, if you can find the fish you seek and perhaps see the fish take your lure or bait, this will greatly improve your chances of setting the hook and bringing one to the net!

Yellow light is the enemy of all anglers. It's hard for the eye to process and changes how you see the world. Yellow light (aka glare) reflected from surfaces such as water is generally horizontally polarised. This means that instead of light being scattered in all directions, reflected light generally travels in a horizontally oriented direction. This creates an annoying intensity of light that we experience as glare!

Polarized lenses contain a special filter, which blocks this type of horizontally reflected yellow light, reducing glare. The biggest benefit of reducing harsh reflective glare from the surface of the water, for anglers, is that once glare is removed, the wearer can see through the surface to what’s underneath. For those who have never realised, if you have ever seen an angler wearing a fancy pair of sunglasses, it’s (probably) not because he or she wanted to look cool - it’s almost certain they were wearing polarised glasses so they could see underwater. Good, 100% polarised glasses will allow an angler to possibly see down as far as 20ft beneath the surface, depending on their position and the clarity of the water.

Lens tint can be important as well. If you really want to see every fish, in every eventuality, it’s really important to pick the right coloured lenses for the conditions in which you will fish too.

The tinting of your sunglass lenses will determine the amount of light your eyes will be exposed to. Light travels as different colours - all the colours of the rainbow - and different coloured lenses will block out different types (colours) of light, allowing the user to see things differently. For instance, wearing light amber colored lenses in the middle of a bright day is going to cause you to squint, therefore they become useless for spotting fish. Again, using dark blue-mirrored lenses at first light will make it look like midnight again making them useless for spotting fish at this time. The rate at which light passes through the lens to the eye is called the transmission of available light. Some lenses tints will allow as much as 93% of available light to reach the eye, whereas others will block out as much as 91% of the available light.

Yellow, gold and amber tinted lenses filter minimal light and are especially good for low light conditions and increasing contrast – this is particularly good for morning and evening fishing and great on overcast days. Blue and Green mirror tinted lenses are better for filtering extremely bright light and almost eliminate all harsh reflective glare– this is particularly good for clear sunny days or throughout the day when light is directly overhead. This leaves dark brown, grey and silver lenses - these offer middle ground filtering, therefore they work well in changing conditions or as an all-round lens to do the job.

When looking for a pair of sunglasses for fishing, firstly it’s important to pick 100% polarised lenses so that you can spot fish and secondly its important to choose the right lens tint for the conditions you plan to fish in!
Lens Colours and what conditions they are good for

Yellow lenses maintain contrast and enhance depth perception - a high-contrast, speciality lens for fishing in extreme low light conditions.

Amber is an excellent lens that delivers a bright field of vision for spotting fish where high contrast is needed, i.e. dawn and dusk.

Vermilion heightens visual acuity and blocks moderate glare, making it perfect for overcast or low light days.

Copper lenses cut glare and enhance contrast and color, providing eye comfort in most conditions. Good for fishing and everyday activities.

Grey is the perfect compromise for spotting fish in varied conditions. Reduces moderate glare and maintains color saturation and natural contrast.

Silver Mirror
Silver mirrors optimize light transmission and enhance colors whilst eliminating brighter glare. Perfect for sight fishing in bright and variable light.

Green Mirror
Green mirrors offer enhanced visual acuity whilst blocking out strong glare. Good for fishing in bright conditions, where spotting fish is still a necessity.

Blue Mirror
Blue Mirrors are made for the open water They deliver maximum contrast and color, whilst eliminating maximum glare for maximum vision.

Images courtesy of Costa Del Mar
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