I have to admit, I’m a sunglasses snob. As a die-hard sight fisherman, my eyes are my most valuable asset. So testing the best sunglasses for fishing is serious work. Certifying these shades required hours of searching for fish to evaluate the technology behind the lenses and the motivation behind the design.
The best sunglasses for fishing are polarized to reduce glare and prevent damaging UV rays. The frames block light to further reduce glare while still allowing body heat to escape to keep the lenses from fogging. To test durability, reliability and comfort, we wore these glasses for hours paddling and fishing in the hot sun. In the end, after long days on the water, the best sunglasses for fishing were easy to see.
$140 | ombraz.com
The most unique sunglasses in our review were invented in the Sahara desert. Ombraz’s co-founder was on safari when someone sat on his sunglasses. As a quick fix, he tied a piece of string between the hinges to hold the sunglasses over his ears. Voila! Ombraz was born.
With scratch- and smudge-resistant lenses and an abrasion- resistant, microbe-resistant cord, Ombraz are almost indestructible. The hand-carved and individually inspected frames are tough and comfortable. The polarized lenses from famed German craftsman Carl Zeiss cut glare and harmful rays. Believe it or not, the cord works as well as traditional arms to keep the Ombraz in place.
$299 | revo.com
After conquering space and Hollywood by sponsoring famous actors and astronauts, Revo has set its sights on fishing. Installing their high-tech lenses into wrap-around frames gives anglers a great choice for the best fishing sunglasses. Revo’s famous crystal clear lenses are based on NASA technology and sandwiched between water- and oil-resistant coatings.
The Dexter’s wrap frame is heavy enough to block most light while still allowing air flow. The grey lenses with blue coating are perfect for fishing bluewater in direct sunlight. Even with the dark lenses and reflective coating, the Revo lenses cut glare and harsh sun without dimming vision.
$259 | smithoptics.com
Based on the performance of their high-quality lenses, Smith sunglasses have become a popular choice among professional guides and tournament anglers. Starting with the clearest polarized base lens, Smith’s popular ChromaPop filters out spectrum overlap for bright and intense colors that make it easier to spot fish swimming below the surface.
The lenses are scratch-resistant with a moisture- and grease-resistant coating. We tested the bronze lens, a light brown lens with bronze coating to cut glare while still providing excellent contrast. These lenses were best suited for inshore and dark, stained water.
Reel X LL Polar
$245 | dragonalliance.com
With roots in the surf and snow, Dragon Alliance sunglasses are popular among adventure seekers. Living up to their reputation as reliable sunglasses built for performance in the worst conditions, Dragon’s Reel X are one of the best sunglasses for fishing.
Dragon’s Polar lens technology reduces glare and increases depth perception by blocking hazy light and permitting wavelengths associated with color contrast. The lenses are damage-, dust- and oil-resistant with a hydrophobic coating. To survive the harsh conditions in the wild, Dragon’s H2O frames are light, tough and they float.
If you’re shopping for new sunglasses because you dropped your old sunglasses overboard, you’ll like Dragon’s Reel X.
Costa del Mar
$224 | costadelmar.com
Costa del Mar leads the way in environmentally responsible and women-friendly fishing sunglasses. Combining their recycled frame material and high performance, gender-specific design makes the Caleta look good and feel good. The frames are made of 97 percent recycled fishing nets giving the glasses a unique matte finish.
Costa gave the Caleta its best scratch- and smudge-resistant 580P polarized glass lenses. The Caleta has grey lenses without mirror coating dark enough for offshore and clear-water fishing while still bright enough for all-around fishing. Our tester really liked the comfortable lenses, which are 20 percent thinner and lighter than other glass lenses.
$262 | mauijim.com
Among true connoisseurs of sunglass technology, Maui Jim has long been respected as the best sunglasses for fishing. Combining the best lens technology with super-light and comfortable frames makes the Alenuihaha a favorite for anglers who demand the most out of their sunglasses.
Maui Jim’s Super Thin Glass is 32 percent thinner and lighter than average glass lenses. PolarizedPlus2 lenses provide the ultimate in clarity and definition with sun- and glare-busting polarization. We tested the HCL Bronze lenses emphasizing clarity and definition to see through the water to fish and structure below the surface.
I can see clearly now the rain is gone. —Jimmy Cliff | Feature photo: Ric Burnley