Regardless of why you fish, you will always need fishing sunglasses that protect your eyes from the wind, sea, and sun. Wondering what to look for to make sure yours are up to the task? Keep reading to find out the essential features and some top picks from our opticians.
Table of Contents
What to look for in Fishing Sunglasses
1. Frame Technology
2. Lens Technology
Best Lenses for Your Environment
1. Offshore Fishing
2. In-shore Fishing
3. Low Light Fishing
Best Fishing Sunglasses
Get the Best Fishing Sunglasses Online at SportRx
We go over our fishing sunglasses recommendations in the video below, or you can keep reading to learn all the details!
If you already know what to look for, check out the Best Polarized Fishing Sunglasses to get the latest and greatest fishing sunglasses. Otherwise, check out our tips.
When looking for a pair of fishing sunglasses, there are two main categories of technology: frames and lenses. In this section, we’ll dive into the essential features of both.
The main purpose of frames is to not only protect your eyes, but to keep your lens in place so you can see with greater clarity. The main features that are a must in fishing sunglasses are coverage, the right materials, and fit.
To help with protection and to provide greater coverage, many fishing sunglasses are offered with 8-base frame designs. An 8-base frame is another way to say it has a wrap-around design with thicker temples. Thick temples make sure sunlight, wind, and various debris is fully blocked out. And with a full wrap, your sunglasses will feel like they aren’t there, so you can focus on the task at hand.
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again — the ocean does not care about damaging your fishing sunglasses. Salty air and water create heavy moisture and cause corrosion, so you need your sunglasses to be durable.
We recommend nylon for fishing because it can withstand extreme temperatures and maintain its shape, so you never have the sunglasses prematurely wearing out on you. It’s also super lightweight.
Frames we don’t recommend? Metal and acetate. Metal frames tend to corrode the fastest, in addition to being less durable due to the weld points. Similarly, acetate, a type of plastic, is not recommended because it’s much less resistant to heavy wear and tear and salty conditions. Also, extreme heat affects the integrity of the materials and makes it more prone to bending out of shape.
Our last key feature is something that may seem obvious, but many people overlook it. Your fishing sunglasses must be comfortable. You don’t want to find yourself taking off your sunglasses 45 minutes into an all-day fishing trip because they’re bothering you.
To prevent this from happening, find sunglasses that are the proper size. The temples should be snug but not pressing against the side of your head, and have grip along the temples and nose bridge. These will keep your sunglasses optically aligned even if you get a huge tug on your line. For all-day use, an 8-base design maximizes comfort and ensures the sunglasses will never fall off. Again, you’ll want that nylon frame material that’s lightweight and comfortable to wear for long periods.
Sunglasses are all about the lenses. From polarization to the types of materials and coatings that can be applied, lenses have an incredible amount of tech.
When it comes to fishing sunglasses, it’s crucial to have a polarized lens made from scratch-resistant materials. We also nearly always recommend a mirror coating to keep the most light out. The last piece of the puzzle is the lens color.
Polarized lenses are a must for any fishing sunglass. When sunlight first comes down, it’s a vertical wavelength, but when it reflects off of a reflective object, it becomes a horizontal wavelength, or glare. Water is especially reflective with 100% of the sun’s UV and sunlight coming back horizontally.
Polarized lenses filter out these horizontal wavelengths so you can see clearly through the water surface. With them, you can track fish in deeper water, tie your hooks on with no glare interference, and (most importantly) enjoy your day on the water with crystal-clear vision.
The first type of lens material available to you are both plastics, polycarbonate and Trivex. Polycarbonate is an industry standard and is thin, incredibly impact-resistant, and lightweight, but it is easier to scratch. Trivex is a bit thicker, but just as impact-resistant and a bit more scratch-resistant than polycarbonate. We love Trivex for its superior optical clarity.
Meanwhile, glass tends to be the preferred choice for fishing due to its resistance to things like scratches from the salty air and water splashing on the lenses. It’s also the clearest material. The downside is the lack of impact resistance and the fact that it’s hard to find glass lenses in prescription. For that, Costa is pretty much your only option.
All in all, the lens material you get is a matter of personal preference and what your needs are. Don’t forget that we have friendly and knowledgeable opticians who would love to help you figure that out! We’re only a call or chat away, after all.
The last lens feature we will be going through is lens color for offshore vs inshore fishing. Each type of fishing has its own requirements as far as lens tint is concerned. For a deeper dive into this topic, check out What’s the Best Lens Color for Fishing?
Offshore fishing takes place in water that is least 30 meters deep. Think of this as your deep-sea fishermen looking for big trophy fish. Unlike inshore fishing, offshore fishing typically means you will be in the direct sunlight with nothing to protect you other than a hat and a few clouds if you’re lucky. The glare and sunlight bouncing off the water are intense, making it harder to track fish. The popular choice for offshore fishing is a neutral grey tint.
If you want even more protection, and for less light to travel through the lens, pair the gray base with a blue mirror. For more detail on this, read Best Lens Color for Polarized Deep Sea Fishing Sunglasses.
Inshore fishing takes place in water that is less than 30 meters deep. Typically this would be lake fishing, fly fishing, and stream fishing. This type of fishing will take place in a lake, river, saltwater bays, or flats close to the shore. In this fishing environment, you are surrounded by lots of trees, foliage, and the glory of nature. The result is more shade, colors, and the lighting may not be as severe as it would be on the open water. This is why you might look for a lighter lens tint to boost the contrast to help to best take in your surroundings.
A rose, copper, amber, or brown lens tint would be the most ideal colors to choose from. A few options to consider:
- Costa 580 technology with their green mirror or bronze w/copper mirror
- Oakley PRIZM Shallow Water Polarized (Note: not yet available in prescription)
- Maui Jim’s Maui Rose lens
However, there are no shortage of options. Almost every brand will have a variety of options for your fishing sunglasses.
A bit more niche, but we’ve had our fair share of inquiries into getting a lens with a high Visible Light Transmission (VLT) that’s still fully polarized. While this isn’t the most common lens, we have some options for you!
- Costa’s Sunrise Silver mirror
- Yellow base tint
- 30% VLT (compared to about 12% from a typical dark sunglass lens)
- Maui Jim’s Maui HT lens (short for “High Transmission”)
- Greenish tint
- Category 2 lens (Most lenses are Category 3, a darker type)
- Kaenon C28 w/Silver Mirror
- Copper base tint
- 28% VLT
- Kaenon Y35 w/Silver Mirror
- Yellow base tint
- 35% VLT
- Kaenon C50 w/Silver Mirror
- Copper base tint
- 50% VLT
For the angler looking to maximize light transmission and have a truly tailored pair of sunglasses for their environment, these are some tough to find and perfectly-suited options not to miss!
Below, we have wrangled some of our best polarized fishing sunglasses to give you an idea of what we consider as the best. Check out Best Polarized Fishing Sunglasses for the full list.
Costa Tuna Alley
The Costa Tuna Alley is a fan favorite for fishing sunglasses and took home the REXY for Best Fishing Sunglasses in 2018, so you know these are really tried and true. Packed with all the features you need for the fishing trip of a lifetime, we dare you to find something about these you don’t love.
Costa Tuna Alley Key Features:
- Rubber nose pads & temples provide grip, along with the 8-base frame coverage
- Side vents whisk sweat away from your face
- All the perks of Costa 580 lens tech (polarized, color, contrast)
- SFW: 137 (Men’s & Women’s Large)
Oakley Split Shot
The first fishing sunglasses from Oakley, with all the quality and comfort you know and love: this is the Split Shot. Pair these with PRIZM Deep Water lenses for unparalleled clarity and protection.
Oakley Split Shot Key Features:
- O Matter™ frame material is both lightweight and durable and provides great support throughout the day
- Unobtainium™ nose pads and temples give grip that doesn’t stop no matter how much you sweat
- Includes 20″ detachable wrapped wire leash
- SFW: 131 (Men’s & Women’s Medium)
Need prescription fishing sunglasses? Done. When you shop with us, you’ll find video guides and tooltips throughout the build process as you customize the perfect pair. An answer to all your questions is at your fingertips, and if you want to chat with an expert, Contact Us. We’ll put you in touch with one of our friendly in-house opticians who can help you build your prescription fishing sunglasses.
Ditch risky online shopping with the See Better Guarantee. Try your sunglasses for 45 days. If you’re not satisfied, send them back. Get a full refund, exchange, or credit towards a better pair. And return shipping? Covered. Get your pair of prescription fishing sunglasses at SportRx today!