Nothing is more critical to a guided fly fishing trip than the guide’s ability to read the water and in some cases even see the fish you are fishing for. It’s funny how some anglers will spend thousands of dollars preparing for there fishing excursion and then think they can depend on a $10 pair of WalMart sunglasses to handle such a critical part of their fishing. In fly fishing, good quality polarized sunglasses are not simply an option; they are a necessity for both the guide and the clients.
Not all polarized sunglasses are the same. The average fashion sunglasses are not designed with the fisherman in mind. For example, the recent fashion fad to wear various colored mirrored sunglasses is definitely not practical for the fly fishermen. Mirrored lenses reflect a tremendous amount of the sun’s rays onto the nose and cheeks and can burn these areas quickly even if you are applying sunscreen all day.
Many fashion sunglasses have various wildly colored lenses which may look good on the wearer but can distort the actual color and shading that you are seeing around you. When a fly fisherman is trying to blend his thoughts into becoming “one” with nature, the last thing he is going to want is to be visualizing colors that are different than what is actually in front of him.
Polarized sunglasses provide for our safety in multiple ways. As anglers, we already know that good sunglasses are necessary to protect our eyes from harmful UV rays. That’s a given. But why not change this requirement into a fishing advantage by using quality polarized sunglasses? With quality polarized sunglasses you are able to see below the water’s surface in order to actually see or mentally visualize the objects that are lying just below the surface. In many cases you are even able to see the actual fish or their shadows to determine their size or direction.
Weight: Fishermen need sunglasses that are light weight and very tough. Glass lenses are tough but the additional weight can be unbelievably uncomfortable after a long days fishing. No one wants to spend all day sliding his sunglasses back up his nose every time he moves.
Lens Colors: There is no perfect lens color for all fishing situations. Keep in mind that polarized sunglasses are designed to filter glare, not light. Early in the morning just after sunrise a bright lens like yellow does not need to be polarized because glare is not yet a problem and yellow tends to actually brighten the field of view.
As the morning progresses, glare slowly creeps into the picture and a polarized amber lens brightens the field of view and also cuts much of the glare. This makes the polarized amber shades excellent for AM sight casting.
Mid-day and into the afternoon with extremely bright sun amber may no longer be enough to do an adequate job. This is when a polarized smoke grey lens cuts both the bright light and a large amount of the glare.