Made In The ShadeMade In The Shade What is best for anglers when it comes to picking lens colors, lens composition, fit and other factors?
By Mike Gnatkowski/gnatoutdoors.com
About the only thing that outnumbered the preponderance of kayak and cooler manufacturers at ICAST 2017 was the number of companies making sunglasses. It seemed that every other booth had someone hawking sunglasses, but the situation was perfect for what I had in mind. I wanted to find out what separated sunglass manufacturers and their products. What is the key elements anglers needed to be aware of when they were considering purchasing a pair of glasses? What is best for anglers when it comes to picking lens colors, lens composition, fit and other factors?
All the big names were at ICAST – Costa, Solar Bat, Smith, Maui Jim, Oakley, Wiley X plus some lesser known companies that were also looking to make a name for themselves and show their wares.
I have worn Ono Trading Company sunglasses for decades. One reason is that they were one of the first to offer readers or bifocals in sunglasses. As my eyesight began to fail I realized that charter fishing, guiding and life in generally was much easier with sunglasses that had readers in them. Seeing wasn’t that much of an issue when I was tying clinch knots with 20-pound test line, but finding the eye of a small hook with thin, 4- or 6-pound fluorocarbon became a problem. 1 or 2-pound ice fishing line or sewing thread? Forget it.
I liked the fit and lens color of the Ono glasses as well, but the biggest factor was they had readers. Ono Trading Company was nice enough to send me a pair of glasses originally. They offered a lifetime guarantee and replaced the glasses a couple times free of charge. The problem was I outlived Ono Trading Company. When the eyepieces began to disintegrate and the lens fell out of the frame with too much regularity I sent an e-mail to Ono. I didn’t get an answer. I found out why.
Eye Ojo Corporation had purchased Ono Trading Company. They are still the business of producing high-quality eyewear, especially for anglers.
Ryan Dunn of Eye Ojo Corporation (www.eyeojo.com) said there is a number of things anglers should look for in a pair of sunglasses. “The lens tint is important because it enhances different colors. You need to take into account what type of fishing you’re doing most be it offshore, deep sea, lake or stream. A lens with an amber or copper base is best for inland fishing while a lens with a gray base is better for offshore.”
Frame style is paramount because it determines fit. “Everyone has their preference of frame style but the most important part is fit and weight. You don't want to feel like you're wearing a brick on your face all day. Also, you want the fit to be right because if its too tight it can give you a headache and if its too loose it will fall off your head,” said Dunn.
Lens material is another important consideration, “Most fishing lenses are made from either glass or polycarbonate. Glass will give you the clearest view and are the most scratch resistant. Polycarbonate is also clear and shatter resistant. Most are safety rated. Glass is more expensive than PC.” Eye Ojo glasses do not float. They do come in a floating clamshell case.
For those visually challenged anglers like myself, Eye Ojo glasses are available with 1.50, 1.75, 2.00, 2.25, 2.50 strength readers or bifocals. Lenses are available in blue mirror, green mirror, grey and amber. Dunn said that anglers favor their Carabelle, Oak Harbor, and Petit Bois styles. I’m a big fan of the Carabelle.
Costa Del Mar (www.costadelmar.com) is one of the biggest names in sunglasses and they are extremely popular with bass anglers. “Two of the most important things anglers need to consider is fit and lens color,” offered Melinda Hayes, bass community leader for Costa. “Fit is important because muscles work harder if the glasses don’t fit properly. Glasses that fit properly also block more light.”
Lens color is important. “People pigeon hole blue lens for blue water when they actually let in more light than any other lens color,” offered Hays. She said one of the most popular lens colors for bass anglers are Sunrise Silver Mirror. “The Sunrise Silver Mirror offers 30% light transmission and are perfect for sight fishing and color transition. The Copper Silver Mirror is another great all-round color for fishermen.”
Lenses are available in lighter polycarbonate or glass. “Glass is more popular with serious anglers,” claimed Hays. “Glass offers better clarity, but polycarbonate has the advantage of weight and impact resistance.”
Two of the most popular frame styles of Costa sunglasses for anglers are Fantail and Tuna Alley. Frames are made from a bio-resin that is extremely heat and cold tolerant. Costa offers eight frame styles with readers 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5 strengths. Costa sunglasses do not float.
Flying Fisherman (www.flyingfisherman.com) sunglasses are obviously made for anglers and they have been on the market for a long time. Endorsed by legendary angler Roland Martin, most anglers are familiar with the brand.
“Fit is very important,” offered Flying Fisherman President Linda Sheldon.
“Sunglasses should be comfortable and provide good coverage for your particular face shape. Frames that wrap around and have non-slip nose and temple pads help insure comfort and a stay-put fit.
“The most productive lens colors really depends on the conditions. For bright intense sun or in deeper water, our AcuTint smoke/gray lens is recommended. For cloudy, overcast, foggy days or when fishing shallow water our AcuTint amber gives ideal contrast to illuminate fish and structure on the bottom. And for very low light, early morning or evening, AcuTint copper or yellow-amber provides the most contrast to enhance clarity. The amber, copper, and yellow-amber are best for sight fishing.”
Flying Fisherman has a series of shatterproof, bifocal readers. All three frame styles are available in smoke or amber, with a choice of three reader powers – 1.50, 2.00, and 2.50. Flying Fisherman is one of the few eyewear companies to offer good, better, best retail price points.
Flying Fisherman’s most popular frame styles in the Action Angler Series are the Maverick, San Jose, Cabo, Fowey, and Buchanan. In the Master Angler Series the Morocco, Cay Sal, Triton, and Down Sea are the most popular with anglers.
Flying Fisherman doesn’t make any floating styles, but they do offer a couple floating eyewear retainers/lanyards.
You see a lot of serious anglers wearing Wiley-X (www.wileyx.com) sunglasses these days. “Fit is a crucial part in picking out the right pair of sunglasses,” claimed Ray T. Hill IVDirector of Corporate Accounts/Outdoor Sales for Wiley-X. “Side or peripheral glare/light can be just as damaging as direct light and will definitely cause eye fatigue. Wiley-X frames allow for outstanding peripheral protection in general from back light, peripheral light and side penetration.
“In addition, our patented removable Facial Cavity™ Seals within our Climate Control Series models are specifically designed to eliminate peripheral light first and foremost, but also protect against fine dust, pollen/allergens and wind while supercharging the performance of the polarized lenses by as much as 15 percent.”
Wiley-X offers 40-plus frame models and 10 polarized lens tints. “All Wiley-X models are designed with an 8-base wrap essentially meaning the curvature of our lightweight frames allow for outstanding peripheral protection,” said Hill.
Wiley-X offers various lenses to choose from that incorporate different mirrored coatings, base tints and light transmissions depending on your environment and preferences Wiley-X has all of your angling bases covered. These various lens options will increase your ability to cut through different water surfaces and view more depth. Wiley-X’s Filter 8Ô polarized lenses combine eight layers of lens technology.
“By today’s manufacturing standards and the quality of the materials used, polycarbonate lenses meeting ANSI optical clarity standards not only provide topnotch, crisp, clear vision, but also provide superior shatter-proof protection, unlike glass lenses,” said Hill.
Wiley-X does not offer readers, however 99% of their models can be fitted with ASNI Z87.1 rated prescription lenses. Wiley-X glasses do not float, but their snug fit helps prevent them from falling off and they offer a floating leash cord.
Floats (www.floateyewear.com) polarized glasses have a feature that every angler desires – they float! I can’t begin got tell you how many times I had customers looking over the side of the boat and had their glasses slip out of their pocket or fall off their face and flutter down to into the depths of Lake Michigan. Floating sunglasses prevent that.
Floats offer comfortable fit, stylish frames and lens colors that appeal to anglers. One thing they don’t offer is bifocals or readers, but I discovered an alternative. Hydrotac (www.hydrotaclenses.com.au) stick-on bifocal lens can be attached to any glasses. I’ll admit I didn’t have the best of luck keeping them on the glasses though. Maybe you’ll do better. Good luck!
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