Glasses with polarized lenses are one of the most important weapons for every fisherman. Your fishing sunglasses can help you to read the water better, to find fish and to protect your eyes
In the next lines, we will explain how to find out if your eyeglass is really polarized, why to use them in fishing and especially which lenses to choose.
Raise your hand if you don’t own a pair of sunglasses. We don’t see you, but you are sure to be very few you do not have some sunglasses in your house. Because this accessory is a bit like the cell phone: for fashion or necessity, you can no longer do without it.
The writer is one of those sunglasses addicts: not for fashion, not for necessity, but for utility. Sunglasses, however, must have polarized lenses, or polarizing lenses, to use a more precise term.
Why? Because polarized sunglasses are the first weapon I put in my arsenal and, in all seasons, they are the number one ally in my fishing trips.
Polarized glasses are, in fact, more useful than you may think.
Because, beyond the protection provided to your eyes, they allow us to see the environment more clearly and, in many situations, even to see the fish and the changes in the bottom.
What is a polarized lens?
Promise: we will absolutely not go into technical-scientific disquisitions on polarization. For that, there is Wikipedia (plus many other articles written on specialized sites).
We will simply describe what a polarized eyeglass lens does: it attenuates reflected light.
We think of light as a beam of waves that propagates in all directions, horizontally and vertically. When the light meets a reflective surface, for example water or snow, it changes direction and produces that annoying phenomenon that we call reflection and that results in closed eyelids and difficulty of vision.
Polarized lenses reduce the glare produced by reflected light, eliminating the horizontal light and allowing the eye to receive only the information needed.
All this translates into the elimination of glare (and this is why, with polarized glasses, we can better see the bottom in shallow water), more contrast, greater clarity, more natural and saturated colors.
A normal sunglasses does not do all this: it simply protects the eye.
In this regard, let’s be clear: a pair of glasses with UV protection is NOT necessarily polarized!
UV protection is one thing, polarization is another. Virtually all glasses with polarizing lenses are anti-UV, but not all anti-UV glasses are also polarized, so watch out!
How to find out if a lens is polarized?
The first way is simple, even stupid if you want: test them directly on the water. If we see that the reflection is eliminated, well, our lenses are polarizing.
Easy, you may say, but how can you tell in the store if a pair of glasses is polarized or not?
You can do a little test, using a computer screen.
Let is take the glasses we want to test and put them vertically, perpendicular to the screen. By doing so, we should be able to see what is behind the lens, for example a text.
Now let’s rotate the eyeglass slowly. We should see the image darken more and more, until it almost disappears. If this happens, the eyeglass has a polarized lens. If it does not, the lens is normal.
Above, a polarized eyeglass; below, a non-polarized eyeglass during the screen test.
Then there is one more test, to perhaps do to the friend who says he bought super polarized glasses. To find out if they really are, take the two lenses, the one in our glasses (which we know is polarized) and the supposedly polarized one, and put them at right angles to each other.
If beyond the lenses we cannot see anything, the second pair of glasses is also polarized. If not, then your friend has been ripped off!
Why should you use polarized glasses when fishing?
The simplest answer is because… you can see the fish! This is a very important detail in fly fishing (in its “tropical” version, it is everything), spinning, carp fishing (stalking and surface fishing mean anything to you?), but also in lake trout fishing.
Seeing the fish is, much more than the bait, the setup and the skill of the fishermen, the keystone of any fishing. If I see them, I will catch them is not an exaggeration. It must be your rule.
The fact that polarizing glasses eliminate the reflection of light on the water then helps us see the bottom better.
In addition to seeing the fish, with polarized glasses we have much more information about the bottom.
Even if there are no fish, the information that the view of the seabed gives us is invaluable. Let’s think about carp fishing, the sight of the eats or the “turned” bottom, indications of fish passage.
Maybe we have not seen the carp, but we have definitely seen some traces of their passage, and this is definitely a plus.
Therefore, the polarized eye-wear allows us to have much more information about the spot and the presence of fish, and gives us an extra gear especially when approaching the spot.
Polarized glasses: Which lens to choose?
There are so many types of polarized glasses on the market. All major eye-wear brands have lines of polarized lenses in their collections.
It should be noted, of course, that there are many differences in price, and this is due to the quality of the lenses. The most expensive are the polarized glass lenses, followed by those in poly-carbonate (or similar materials).
The cheapest are the normal lenses to which is applied a thin film that precisely polarizes the light and turns them into polarized. Obviously they are the ones that suffer the most from the risk of wear and tear, since the film is glued on top and can come off with use. However, they do their job very well!
The blue lenses are specifically designed for sea fishing from the boat.
And the color? Choosing the color of a lens is easy, if we don’t let ourselves be influenced by “style”.
Each lens color has its own reason
It is true that sunglasses with blue mirrored lenses are cool, but we must think about the utility:
Gray lenses, for example, are suitable for the intense, strong light of the hottest hours of the day.
They give us the maximum sharpness, so they are perfect to see every signal that the fish send us.
The brown lenses are dedicated to those who are undecided, or those who fish in different spots at different times of the day:
They are the most versatile, all-round, and work well even at dawn and dusk.
What about green?
Green lenses are the ones specifically designed for cloudy, overcast days, when few of the sun’s rays filter through and hit the surface of our spot.
Then, there are specific lenses for fishing in the sea/tropical, and are those bright blue mirrored, as well as lenses to be used in the rain, or with very overcast skies, and are those yellow / orange.
The most avid fishermen have more than one pair of glasses to deal with different times and different weather conditions: however, we can guarantee, just one pair is enough to revolutionize our fishing!
The yellow lenses are the best for overcast days, with little light.
Each to his own
At this point we could open a discussion on the shape of the glasses, but it is so subjective that we prefer not to go into it.
Eye-wear must be comfortable, and obviously it must fit well. We like to remember, however, that the shape also has something to do with performance.
If we are used to fishing on sunny days, in a boat, glasses with large lenses and a frame that covers the eyes from the side are preferable because they allow us to have less disturbance from the sunlight that tries to come between our eyes and the lenses.