Whether it’s a bit of fishing on a camping trip, or you’re heading out into the deep waters of the coast to cast your line and spend your weekend, you need to be prepared for absolutely everything. Your gear is an extension of your abilities and enhances your fishing game. We’re here to take a look at the best fishing sunglasses and fly fishing glasses to keep you protected, and optimized to focus on what you should be: catching fish. Peer through the surface, find your next catch and make it a trip to remember.
The Best Sunglasses For Fishing
Flying Fisherman makes a very budget-conscious pair of top-notch fishing sunglasses. Before we proceed, just note that these only block up to 95% of UVA and UVB rays. What does that mean exactly? Think of trace amounts of light penetrating the shades. They are polarized to reduce glare off the water, but won’t be as effective if you glance up to the sky. However, you’ll be saving a pretty penny if you side with them. Just don’t grab these if you’re planning on all-day fishing trips.
They give you a fair one-year limited warranty, which is more than you’ll find on other similarly-priced fishing sunglasses. The auburn tint helps reduce blue light penetration and gives a slight yellow hue when you’re looking through them. Lightweight frames, full coverage for the bridge of your nose, and a comfortable, flexible fit. If you’re here on a budget, Flying Fisherman’s got your back. Be sure to also check out our list of the best sunglasses for skiing for more great items like this.
Lightweight frames with no bottom edge on the lenses
Full bridge coverage
95% protection against UVA and UVB rays
One-year limited warranty
- BrandFlying Fisherman
- Weight2.08 ounces
More coverage, fuller glare protection, and a killer camouflage design: that sums up Costa. If you’re going to spend hours out on the lake or the deep sea, you need maximum protection. Costa offers fortified, 100% UV protection, thanks to their green-tinted fishing sunglasses. Costa also wants you to know how important your business is to them, which is why they offer a limited lifetime warranty just for purchasing their sunglasses.
One prime aspect as to why these are such a premium pick for the price is the construction of the frame. You’re not sitting in traffic and trying to avoid some glare; you’re in an environment where anything can happen. That’s why Costa made these with a flexible nylon, because they know accidents happen. Rated and tested, we find these to be the best fly fishing glasses available, and in our personal opinions, the best Costa fishing glasses in their lineup.
100% UV protection
Green tinted polarized lenses
Ultra flexible and durable nylon frame
Limited lifetime warranty just for being a Costa customer
- BrandCosta Del Mar
- Weight1 pounds
Pelagic really drives the point home with these polarized fishing sunglasses. It wasn’t enough to imbue the actual frames with polarization properties, so they did it five times. That’s right: five layers of polarization built on top of one another in these lenses. Scratches aren’t going to do squat against them, so even when accidents happen, you’ll still be able to use these as if nothing went wrong. They also added an extra anti-reflective coating, just note that it is subject to scratches, but won’t reduce the quality of your sunglasses.
The frames are just as important as the lenses. Too rough, and they’ll wrap your lenses. Too flimsy, and you’ll have lenses with no frame. Pelagic made these polycarbonate frames super flexible to account for drops, bending in your pocket and more. While the style is a bit funky, the blue lenses give you enough protection that you could stare at the sun, and not feel a thing.
Five layers of polarized lens; scratches won’t remove your polarization
Blue tinted lenses
Very lightweight polycarbonate frame
Additional anti-reflective coating
Costa gives us a much more stylish look to go with, thanks to the conservative style of the entire Blackfin lineup. You get a dozen different solid styles to choose from, each including their same co-injected nylon frame construction. Those flexible and comfortable frames hold in the ultra polarized lenses, fitted to completely deflect all glares from the water’s surface. When these actually rest on your eyes, you get far better light gap coverage than other competing sunglasses.
Costa Del Mar had caught our eye for their reputation, and part of that comes to their limited lifetime warranty. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had their best fishing sunglasses for ten years, they want to help if it’s taken that long for an issue to pop up. You’re a customer once, but you’re part of their family for life. Our handy guide to the best aviator sunglasses features more great products like this.
Great coverage over light gaps
580 polycarbonate construction gives you a flexible fit
100% polarization eliminates glare
Includes a limited lifetime warranty just for being a Costa customer
- BrandCosta Del Mar
- Weight7.8 ounces
Oakley always gets major style points, but who knew they were so functional as well? Oakley promises fantastic coverage over light gaps, while also giving you the full benefit of 100% UV-blocking technology. We would like to point out that these are coated, so scratches and wear-and-tear may have an adverse effect on just how effective these are.
We discuss the depths of prescription fishing sunglasses further in this guide. If you’re looking for some all-in-one solution, note that these are prescription-ready if you’d like, but it does come with an added cost. The polarization on these lenses allow you to glare through the glints of light off the water, see into the depths of the ocean, and up your fishing game. Love sunglasses? Check out our review of the best Gucci sunglasses for our top picks.
100% UV protection
Flexible plastic frames
Completely polarized lenses
Coated plastic lenses
- Weight4 ounces
I know what you’re thinking: are these unbreakable? Nothing is, but you’ll really have to give it your all if you want to try and damage the Sling-Blade fishing sunglasses. The unique BPA-free composite frames mimic the elasticity of a composite sporting bow, and house two ultra-durable lenses. These come with an anti-reflective coating, anti-scratch coating, and some of the best power against UV rays that you could ever ask for: UV-400 protection. Nothing is getting through; it’s like having armor on your eyes.
The polarization on these lenses is nothing short of fantastic. You’ll be able to glare at the water, no matter how bright and cloudless the day is, and enhance your fishing game. Before you move on to the next, we would just like to stress the durability and impact resistance of the lenses. It looked good, reviews sounded good, but until you actually put them to the test, you won’t believe just how flawless the construction is. Find more great products like this by checking out our guide to the best Ray Ban sunglasses.
Flexible and durable BPA-free composite frames
Lenses mirror light completely
100% UV-400 protection; nothing is getting through these lenses
Additional anti-reflective coating + anti-scratch coating
- Weight7.2 ounces
Maui Jim credits nothing to third-party sources: they make all this rugged power in-house. They have their own PolarizedPlus2 technology that stretches what we thought polarization could do, and brings it even higher. You’ll be able to stare straight into the sun (not that you have a need to, you know?) without feeling anything penetrate these lenses. Though the tint is very slight, they pack amazing power.
Capitalizing on their reflective capabilities, Maui Jim also included stellar 100% Uv protection for peace of mind. Regardless of what conditions you’re in, they’ll have your back. The wide frames are crafted of durable, flexible plastic for maximum comfort and impact resistance. Whether it’s a trip on the ocean or by the lakeside, you can’t afford not to have perfect protection in your corner.
100% UV protection
Wider frame fits larger head sizes
Plastic frame with flexible build
PolarizedPlus2 coating enhanced clarity and provides scratch resistance
- BrandMaui Jim
- Weight7.2 ounces
Oakley’s got style, we know that already, but they packed in some eye armor with their Turbine shades. Fitted with 100% UVA and UVB protection, these plastic lenses are coated and a bit frailer than other sunglasses we’ve reviewed in this guide, but get the job done nonetheless. Despite the UV protection being a coating, it would take some serious intent to pierce it and damage the lenses.
They’re built into a durable and flexible plastic frame. Thanks to specific pressure pads at your temples, you’ll experience relief and comfort throughout the day while wearing them. No more mild tension headaches from eight hours of wearing sunglasses. Oakley came to the table with over fifteen ripper styles, and a fantastic customer support service. Don’t forget to also check our sunglasses for hiking for more great products like this.
100% UV protection (coated)
Durable and flexible plastic frames
Available in over fifteen different styles
- Weight3.2 ounces
Last in our lineup, Kaenon comes in with a higher cost, but a killer style that will have just about anyone turning their heads. With a classic tortoiseshell style, these shades offer immensely powerful polarization without altering or tinting color. These pack some pampering features, such as the Variflex nose pads for some of the best comfort you’ll ever experience while wearing sunglasses.
Keep in mind that polarization magnitudes and tinting will vary depending on which of their six sexy styles you go with. The metal hinges are completely corrosion-resistant, and the lightweight frame keeps this light as a feather. No drag, no mild tension headache when you take these off after an eight-hour day on the lake, just a fantastic fit with top-notch color clarity properties. Make sure you also check our guide to the best safety glasses.
Polarization is top-tier quality (varies depending on which style you choose)
Corrosion-resistant metal hinge
Frame is lightweight and compact
Recessed Variflex nose pads for optimum comfort while wearing
- Weight 4.8 ounces
Fishing Sunglasses Buying Guide & FAQs
Picking a pair of sunglasses has a lot more to it than meets the eye. We’re going to break down light refraction, sizing, coverage, and dig a little deeper into Snell’s Window, which is why you can the sky from underwater, but can’t see more than three feet into the ocean with the naked eye. From top to bottom, this is everything you need to know about the best polarized fishing sunglasses on the market.
Features To Look For in Fishing Sunglasses
Polarized Lenses - We walk about these in-depth throughout the rest of this guide. Polarized lenses are essentially what separates fishing sunglasses from standard sunglasses. If they aren’t polarized, they aren’t going to reflect light, and they won’t truly be the best fishing sunglasses for every type of excursion.
Photochromic Lenses - Also known as transition lenses, these adjust to varying levels of light so you don’t have to take them off when you go indoors. We all know that it’s rude to wear sunglasses inside, but with photochromic lenses, that isn’t going to be a problem. These adjust to the indoor light levels and appear more transparent, less tinted. Alternatively, these also allow you to handle higher magnitudes of direct sunlight and reflections without squinting through your sunglasses.
Lens Material - It’s a bit funny that we still call them sunglasses, when most of them aren’t made with any glass in the lenses at all. You need to look at the lens material, whether it’s a resin, plastic, or you get lucky and find a pair that are made with actual glass. There are tons of different materials used. We recommend keeping an eye out for the lens, and independently researching the pros and cons of each lens material type.
Colored Lenses - Coloring on the lenses partially dictate how effective these are going to be at blocking blue light, and UV light in general. There’s a reason you see multicolored sheens on your lenses: they’re built to reflect just about everything that comes your way. For some context, a pair of blue blockers (more commonly known as computer glasses), will have a brownish auburn tinge to them. These help to fulfill their purpose: block out blue light only. Get a pair that can do it all.
Lens Coating - You have to be careful here. If your lens is coated, then you’ll be able to save a few bucks, but it comes with more fragility. Coatings can come off with scratches, so if you have little ones that are constantly getting into your belongings, you’ll do better to opt for sunglasses that are built with the protective features embedded into the lens. This might cost you a little more, but will sustain for far longer than coated lenses.
Tips to Protect Your Eyes When Fishing
- Always go For UV Protection: One of the most harmful things you can do to your eyes is expose them to direct UV rays for extended periods of time. Even if you lean back in a lawn chair by the lakeside when you fish, those UV rays can still penetrate your eyelids (slightly) and wreak havoc on your health. Look for UV-400 protection; it comes on the best fishing glasses for men.
- Practice Proper Casting: We don’t want to get grim here, guys, but we’ve seen far too many fishing-related injuries. It sounds silly just writing it, but it’s actually easier than you think to cast improperly and nick your eye. Wearing fishing sunglasses will help, but practicing the proper way to cast your line is what you need to master.
- Opt for Full Coverage: Not all fishing sunglasses are going to form a full cover over your eyes, but the more coverage, the better. As we’ll talk about in this guide, you’re combatting sunrise and the many angles of the sun throughout the day. Those constantly changing angles of light are going to find their way between you and your shades. If you have full eye cup coverage fishing sunglasses, then you’ll be better off.
Fishing Sunglasses FAQs
Q: Do I Need Fishing Sunglasses?
A: You can fish without them, but you’re going to have a difficult time. Polarized lenses are the main draw of fishing sunglasses. They help you see clearly through the water while reducing glare from the sun reflecting off the lake or ocean. In short, you definitely need fishing sunglasses.
But simply reading the title of a product that says “Fishing sunglasses” isn’t enough. It’s all about the coloration in the tint, and their UV protection. Part of the harm of fishing is dealing with ultraviolet rays and the damage they cause. Most fisherman who use standard sunglasses don’t realize that they’re actually doing a lot more harm than good. They’re magnifying the sun’s rays and speeding up the process of cancer and tumor growth.
Not to mention the blue light that naturally comes from sunlight. We know that blue light from LED nad LCD screens is harmful to our eyes. It’s been proven that it can reduce your eyesight capability from 17% to 22%. While those statistics are based on your exposure to screens for more than five hours per day, think about how long you’re out in the sun at the fishing spot. Probably for four to five hours, right? It’s damaging.
Fishing sunglasses not only help you see into the water better, but also grant you the peace of mind that comes with protecting your eyes. As an added bonus, you’ll also feel far less fatigued or “heavy-lidded” when you come home, which can help keep you in top form throughout the rest of the day.
Q: Can Polarized Sunglasses Help in Seeing Things Beneath the Water?
A: Yes. Their main benefit comes in how they reflect light. We’ll get into this a bit more in-depth in the next section, but this is why polarized sunglasses are superior to prescription sunglasses. Whether you’re on the end of a pier, the side of a boat or on the lake, bodies of water are difficult to see through. Polarized lenses help.
By reflecting glares, you’re able to see through the refraction of light off the surface of the water. This allows you to see much further down than the naked eye permits, giving you a broader range over active fishing spots. It’s also a way to peer down and see if the bite on the end of your line is actually worth pulling up, or just letting it get away.
Q: Are Polarized Lenses the Best for Fishing?
A: One of the biggest challenges with fishing is the glare off the water. Polarized lenses help you throughout the day. When the sun starts poking its head over the horizon (if you like to hit the fishing hole in the early AM), you’re dealing with the sun’s angles from dawn until you decide to leave. That provides its own series of difficulties, especially if you’re still hanging around at noon. In short, they’re not just the best for fishing, they’re a necessity.
Q: Do I Need a Prescription With Fishing Sunglasses?
A: You do not. Do they exist? Yes, but they aren’t necessary when you get polarized lenses. Prescription sunglasses typically aren’t polarized, and while you may have a bit more visibility in the right light, you’re going to have a harder time spotting fish.
Prescription sunglasses magnify, and so you’re getting an altered image of the water. When we look through water, everything morphs. There’s something called Snell’s Window, where we see light through the water when we’re under it, because of the way light fractures through it (at a precise 96 degree angle). When we’re above water, this doesn’t happen. The light is reflecting, and working against us.
In the end, your prescription sunglasses aren’t going to help with spotting the fish or utilizing fishing sunglasses the way they are meant to be. Polarized lenses are what you want.