One thing I found out when looking for a new pair of fishing sunglasses was that I didn’t know much about lens colour and how it can best be tailored to the type of fishing I do. So here is a summary of what I found and how it can help you if you are in the market for a new pair of sunnies.
Most major manufacturers of good quality fishing sunglasses give you a range of lense colour choices with each style of frame. So once you chose the style of frame you like the look of you then need to make the tough decision on what colour lens.
These are the most common lens colours and how they perform:
These cut down the most ambient light, thus creating the darkest lenses. Photochromatic grey lenses will help increase the light when required. Grey is a good general purpose/ allround lens and does not enhance any colours, ensuring a natural colour view.
These cut out most of the green and blue light in effect making what you see brighter and lighter. So a good all round lens that gives you a brighter field of vision but less protection on really bright days. These are ideal for sight casting situations. Good for overcast days and low light situations.
Brown lenses have similar properties to the copper lenses, increasing contrast, brightness and giving you good sight casting capabilities. Good for overcast days and freshwater fishing, they also warm colours slightly.
The best low light lens, cutting water glare but still giving great low light vision and increased contrast. Generally will not give enough eye protection on bright days or conditions.
Mirrored finishes are usually added to any of the different coloured lenses and helps to reduce water glare even more. Most mirrored lenses are best utilized in really sunny conditions when bright glare is around, ie high sun conditions, offshore fishing etc.
There are now a few different lens materials for you to chose from along with colour. The lens material will often dictate the sunglasses price and also the weight.
Typically the more expensive of the lens materials. it gives the best scratch resistance and also the best clarity, although they do tend to be heavier than other lens types. Glass can also break if dropped at the right angle etc.
Polycarbonate lenses are lighter, cheaper and impact resistant, but lack the image quality you will get with glass.
A particular brand offers a lense called CR-39 which stands for “Columbia Resin”, a lightweight plastic polymer with the same characteristics as polycarbonate, but they are claiming it has better clarity over polycarbonate, and even a little bit lighter again than polycarbonate.
Ideally you would have at least 2 pairs of sunglasses for fishing to help cover the chance of having much different conditions from day to day or even hour to hour. But as this is not always possible its best to try and chose a good all round lens colour that will suit majority of your fishing style.