Ask any angler what an essential tool in a fisherman's arsenal is, and they'll inadvertently answer incorrectly every time. Some anglers will say it's their line, some say it's their hooks, and others may say it's their rod or reel. While these are essential tools for catching fish, none of these would be what many professional anglers consider the most important.
What is it, you ask? It's sunglasses. But not just any kind of sunglasses, polarized sunglasses.
Although at times, some of the best fishing can be had during adverse weather or low light conditions, most of our fishing is done in the daytime when the sun is present. Wearing sunglasses has several advantages, some of which may not be readily apparent.
Glare is the main reason for wearing polarized sunglasses. Even during partly cloudy days, or even if the sun is not out during some overcast conditions, there can still be an extreme amount of glare coming off the water posed to fishermen that can cause headaches or strain on the eyes.
Another good reason for wearing polarized sunglasses is to help improve your fishing skills. Since polarized sunglasses eliminate glare, they will also allow you to see what is under the water more clearly. Let me share an experience with you that I think will demonstrate this.
Several years ago, on our first trip to the famous Lake Okeechobee in Florida, a friend and I arrived to find that the best fishing pattern for catching big bass was sight fishing in shallow water. This sight fishing technique consisted of slowly maneuvering the boat through the shallows looking for bass holding in open pockets of vegetation. Then make a soft pitch with a plastic crawfish into the pockets, trying to get the bait in front of and as close to the bass as possible. Of course, you had to see it to get the bait right in front of the bass.
As we were fishing, my partner complained that he couldn't see down into the water. At first, we thought it was because he was unfamiliar with this type of fishing. Eventually, though, we found out what the real problem was. Although my partner was wearing sunglasses, they weren't polarized.
That evening at the marina, he picked out a new pair of sunglasses with polarized lenses.
The next day, it was clear from the start that my partner could see much further under the water's surface than he could the previous day. He could spot the holes in the vegetation and see the bass quicker than before. He continued to comment about the difference throughout the day.
Even if you're not a fisherman, polarized sunglasses will help protect your eyes outdoors, especially on the water. And not all sunglasses are created equal, no matter how much you pay for them. If they don't say they're polarized, they're not.
So if you don't have a good pair of polarized sunglasses in your fishing tackle arsenal, you do not see clearly, and you may be missing the bigger picture. Take the time to check yours before you go out again. It could make the difference between having just another day on the water or having a day to remember for a lifetime. And you'll be protecting your eyes in the process.
Remember, "they call it fishing, but the goal is catching!"