Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. more info
Yes, the sun can be a big problem fishing, mainly when it comes to the glare it creates when it hits the water. A good pair of polarised sunglasses really solves this issue and can make all the difference, but how do you find the best pair for fishing?
There are a lot of different options out there but not many of them are actually that ideal for fishing, so we decided to put together this helpful buyers guide to give you some pointers on how to find the best polarized fishing sunglasses for the money (the Costa Del Mar Fantail Sunglasses are our top pick).
This guide covers basically everything you need to know, what to look for and a detailed rundown of our top 10 sunglasses picks for fishing that we felt deserved a mention.
5 Essentials For Polarized Fishing Glasses
Before you go out and buy any pair of sunglasses for fishing, there are 5 main essentials to keep in mind. Here are the main things to pay attention to;
1. The Right Frame & Fit
The first thing to look out for before you make a purchase is related to the frame. First off, you want to look at how tight the arms of the sunglasses are. The tighter the arms are to your face, the better the sunglasses will stay in place, thus stopping them from falling and moving around.
However, there is a bit of a tradeoff here as tighter frames can be too tight, or in other words, a bit uncomfortable.
Next, you want to look at the arms themselves, especially the rear by the ears. A good pair of sunglasses should have little ear hooks. Therefore, even if the glasses do slip a bit, your ears can catch them as the move and before they fall into the water.
Finally, a good wrap around frame is the best, as you want the sunglasses in question to block out light from the sides as well as the front. If the sunglasses do not have lenses or the frame covering the sides of your eyes, they will let light in and more or less defeat the purpose of even wearing them in the first place.
2. Lens Color
No, this is not just a fashion statement. Different lens colors are ideal for different fishing conditions, so this might actually be the most important thing to keep in mind of all.
First off, you have your amber lenses, which are good for low light conditions like early morning or dusk, or for cloud cover too. This color lets a bit more light in than some of the other options.
Next, you have your green and green mirror lenses, which are best for freshwater fishing as they have a good mix of light transmission and glare blockage. If you need a lot of color contrast so you can spot your fish along the sea floor, yellow lenses are the best.
Blue and blue mirror lenses are great for offshore and deep water fishing as they block both glare and direct light. Gray lenses are best for super bright days as they cut down on glare and they reduce light transmission a whole lot.
3. Lens Material
Polarized sunglasses usually come with 2 basic material choices;
The first is NXT, which is a fine choice to go with. It is durable, it is scratch resistant, and overall high quality. However, the better option to go with is usually the polycarbonate variety.
It is very similar to NXT, but more or less better in every single way. When it comes to fishing, we personally would steer clear of glass lenses altogether, as both materials we just talked about are more or less a type of plastic.
4. UV Protection
You want the sunglasses in question to have as high a UVA and UVB protection rating as possible. The higher the number is the better the sunglasses will protect your eyes.
If you want to reduce eye fatigue, strain, and keep your eyes protected from damage, you absolutely need to look for good UV protection.
The final thing that you really need to look out for when buying sunglasses for fishing is how durable they are. This means that you need to have strong polycarbonate lenses, as they usually have the best scratch resistance, impact resistance, water resistance, and resistance to corrosion too.
In terms of the frame, a strong type of plastic is recommended, as it won’t scratch, break or shatter. Another good frame material to go with in terms of durability is metal, although it does get hot and tends to be not that comfortable.
10 Best Polarized Fishing Sunglasses For The Money
We have researched and picked out what we feel are the top 10 contenders for fishing, here are our 10 in-depth polarized fishing sunglasses reviews;
1. Costa Del Mar Fantail
One neat part about these particualr sunglasses for fishing is that they come in dozens of different lens colorations. The base lenses here are blue mirror polarized lenses. Blue is great for when you need to cut down on glare in high light situations, making this base model great for mid-day fishing and for dawn and dusk as well. Of course, you can also choose from green, bronze, ocher, pink, and other lens colors as well.
The lenses here do have a great polarized coating and they are said to cut down on 100% of glare. This claim seems a little too good to be true, but in fact, the Costa Del Mar Fantail sunglasses do seem to work as well as advertised.
The lenses here are made of high quality 580 polycarbonate, which is about as good as it gets for fishing sunglasses. They are highly resistant to impact and scratching, they won’t be effected by saltwater, and they are high quality overall.
The Costa Del Mar Fantail sunglasses have a co-injected bio-based nylon frame. In other words, the frame here is quite flexible, it is durable, scratch resistant, and it looks nice too.
The frame might be a little tight here, but the specially curved ear pieces do serve well in terms of keeping these things on your face. They are comfortable enough, but also made to stay in place, so comfort is not the main goal here.
- Many lens options – colors.
- Polarized for 100% glare reduction.
- Durable and scratch resistant lenses.
- Durable scratch resistant frames.
- Fit tightly on the face to stay in place.
- Might be a little too tight.
- Hinges are not of the best quality.
2. Wiley X P-17
These are some fairly simple and basic fishing sunglasses to go with. They are not the fanciest option out there, nor the most high quality compared to some other options. However, they are great for people that will only use them on occasion, as opposed to someone who needs fishing sunglasses for everyday use.
For one, the frame here is made out of pretty basic plastic. They are made to be durable and comfortable. The frame here is not too tight, so while they might slip around a bit, they won’t hurt your head either.
The ear pieces here are designed with a special texture to help these things stay in place, thus making up for the frame not being quite as tight as it could be.The Wiley X P-17 sunglasses feature 580 polycarbonate lenses, which is of course a good thing.
This type of plastic is very tough and durable. These things are actually shatterproof, plus they are impact resistant, scratch resistant, water will not affect them, and salt should not be much of a problem either.
These things feature amber lenses with a green reflective finish. Of course, they are polarized, so they cut out around 100% of glare with ease. The 8 layers of filters here work very well to block light that is being reflected off of the water.
To be clear, amber lenses such as these do not block out quite as much light as other colors, thus making these particular fishing sunglasses great for low light conditions, such as for cloudy days, early morning, or late at night.
- Great for low light conditions
- Polarized and reflective lenses
- Cut out a lot of glare
- Shatterproof and scratch resistant lenses
- Fairly comfortable frame with good ear pieces
- May be a little loose and slip around a bit
- Not great for high light conditions
- Frame has limited durability
3. Costa Del Mar Brine
These are some very nice and durable sunglasses for fishing to go with. These particular ones feature many different lens options to consider. First off, you can go with 580G lightwave glass, which contains encapsulated mirrors and has great clarity, have a lightweight build, and block out up to 99% of the glare.
You can choose polycarbonate lenses, which are light, block out a lot of glare, and are super resistant to impact. You can of course also choose from the polarized lenses, which are great for blocking out glare.
The frame of the Costa Del Mar Brine sunglasses is made of a co-injected nylon based material. In other words, this stuff is super flexible, it is durable, scratch resistant, and it won’t corrode either. In terms of durability, these sunglasses are pretty high quality.
These are wrap-around sunglasses, so they help block out light from the sides as well. The integral hinges are fairly high quality as well, and being internal means that they are not exposed to the elements as much.
What is cool about these particular sunglasses is that you can choose from many different lens colors. You can choose between copper, various greens, various blues, clear, pink, tan, and many more. You are sure to be able to find one color that works best for you and your fishing needs.
We do like the base curve on these sunglasses because it helps them stay on your face even when fighting a big fish. What is also neat is that these sunglasses can be used with prescription lenses, thus making 2 in 1 seeing glasses and sunglasses. The hydrolyte templates on the lenses helps to stop water spots from occurring.
- Choice of lens colors.
- Choice of lens materials.
- Great for cutting out glare.
- Very durable frame.
- Wrap around design for light blocking and a secure fit.
- Internal hinges for added durability.
- Not overly scratch resistant.
- Maybe a little too tight on the face.
4. Maui Jim Mens Peahi
These ones feature a good wrap around design, which is useful for several reasons. For one, it helps to block out light from the side, which can be a pretty big problem due to internal glare. At the same time having a fairly tight frame means that they should not slip off your head when looking straight down. Although, some people have noted that the frames are extremely tight for larger heads.
These glasses feature 66 mm lenses, which is pretty good. The lenses are made out of real glass, so they are not the most durable around, nor are they the most scratch resistant. However, the lenses here do have a great polarized coating which helps to block out almost all glare coming off the water.
These lenses also have quite astounding clarity. There is also the fact that they come in many different options including bronze, blue, grey, and a couple of others too, although there is limited availability.
On a side note, the ear hooks on these things help the sunglasses stay perfectly in place. We do like the frame on the Maui Jim Mens Peahi sunglasses, as they are made with acetate plastic. The plastic used here might not be of the very highest quality, but it is more than ideal for fishing.
It is quite durable, impact resistant, scratch resistant, and saltwater should not damage them either. All in all, these are some pretty great fishing sunglasses, with only a couple of drawbacks.
- Very nice looking.
- Great clarity.
- Several lens options.
- High quality polarization.
- Wrap around design for blocking light.
- Quite secure.
- Frame is not of the highest quality.
- Fairly tight.
- Lenses are not the most durable around.
5. Costa Del Mar Blackfin
Something that needs to be mentioned here right away is that these are indeed handmade sunglasses. Each and every pair is made by hand by a professional. Each pair is checked and certified for quality, not just spit out of a machine.
The frames here are made of plastic, pretty basic plastic, basic but durable. It is not anything overly special, but it does work well in terms of impact resistant and scratch resistance.
Now, they are not overly great in terms of warding off the effects of saltwater and corrosion, but in every other way, they are quite durable. The frame here does feature a pretty decent ear piece, which works well to hold these things in place.
You don’t want them slipping into the water as you fish. They are not that tight, so slipping around a bit is a possibility here, but not being so tight also means that they are fairly comfortable.
They do feature a nice wrap around design with large arms, which is nice because it helps to block out light from the sides, thus cutting down on interior glare. The lenses here are made of polycarbonate, so they are very durable, scratch resistant, and impact resistant.
They feature patented technology which cuts out a lot of blue and yellow light, thus cutting down on close to 100% of light glare coming off the water’s surface. The green mirror lenses here are good for many fishing conditions, and are best for fairly bright days and water that is not super clear.
- Comfortable frame.
- Wrap around design.
- Great for cutting out glare.
- Fairly durable frames and lenses.
- Hand made.
- Not the best for saltwater fishing.
- Might slip around a little bit.
- Not the best for super bright days.
6. Oakley Fuel Cell
In terms of durable and useful fishing sunglasses, the Oakley Fuel Cell sunglasses are probably one of the betters options in our opinion. They might not look like anything overly special or fancy, but looks can be quite deceiving. For one, these things come with very high quality lenses that we are pretty big fans of.
For one, in terms of durability, the lenses here are made of high quality polycarbonate, which means that they have a very high level of impact and scratch resistance, they won’t suffer from water drops, and are nearly shatterproof to boot.
The HD polarized fuel cell technology used here is pretty useful because it cuts down on nearly 99% of glare coming from the water’s surface. The lenses are also specially designed to filter out UV light to reduce the strain and damage to your eyes.
These things also come with a special coating to help increase light transmission for low light conditions, while simultaneously cutting out glare. The lenses come in 5 different color options including light blue, grey, violet, orange, and purple, thus allowing you to choose a specific color based on your needs.
The Oakley Fuel Cell sunglasses feature a pretty basic plastic frame. This is honestly nothing special. Now, the plastic used here is quite useful. The frame features a 3 point fit for superior optical alignment, plus they are super lightweight, fairly durable, and highly resistant to impact as well.
Now, while they are flexible and fairly durable, saltwater could be a problem, as well as minor scratching. The arms here are fairly straight with minimal ear pieces, but the frame is quite tight.
- Very durable lenses.
- Great light transmission.
- Minimal glare and UV penetration.
- Durable frames.
- Flexible and lightweight.
- Different lens color options.
- Very tight on the head.
- Limited comfort.
- No ear hooks for support.
7. Oakley Gascan
In all honesty, these Oakley fishing sunglasses are very similar to the ones we just looked at above, although a little lower in quality. What we definitely like about this option is that it comes with many choices. You can choose from various frame colors and lens colors. In terms of lens colors, you can choose from ones such as grey, ocher, amber, bronze, light or dark green, light or dark blue, violet, pink, orange, and more.
The lenses are made of a fairly good polycarbonate material, so they do have a decent amount of corrosion, impact, and scratch resistance, although not as much as the above Oakley sunglasses.
On that same note, the Oakley Gascan sunglasses do have a polarized and reflective coating, making them pretty good in terms of cutting down glare, but still not quite as good as the above option from Oakley. With that being said, the lenses here are made to be optically correct so you can always maintain precise focus on your target.
In terms of the frame, the Oakley Gascans are decent, not the best, but decent. The plastic frame here is quite durable and impact resistant, although the hinges might corrode and the frame could scratch. They are not weak frames by any means, but also not the toughest of all.
In terms of comfort and security, they do suffer from the same problems as the Oakley Fuel Cells, or in other words, they are very tight and don’t have the best earpieces. Now, they should stay in place fine due to their tight design, but if they do start to slip, there are no ear hooks to stop them from dropping.
- Fairly durable lenses.
- Impact resistant frame.
- Quite flexible.
- Pretty secure fit.
- Cut down on a lot of glare.
- Lots of lens and frame color options.
- Tightness may be a bit uncomfortable.
- No ear hooks.
- Frame may scratch and hinges may corrode.
8. Oakley Fives Squared
These are some pretty basic fishing sunglasses to go with, ideal for people who go fishing on occasion. To be totally fair, while they are really nice fishing sunglasses, when it comes to the Oakley options on this list, they are probably the least effective and have the lowest quality. Don’t get it wrong because they are high quality Oakley sunglasses for fishing, just not quite as good as the other options which we have covered so far.
To be perfectly clear, although this is a review article for the best polarized fishing sunglasses, these ones are not actually polarized. These things do usually come in a few different lens options, but at this time, only the grey lenses are available.
The good thing about grey lenses is that they have great qualities for high light conditions, as they do not let much light through, plus they do not distort natural colors quite as much as other lens colors. With that being said, although they do reduce glare by a bit, because they are not polarized, this effect is somewhat limited.
Now, the frames on the Oakley Fives Squared sunglasses definitely look cool. Their square design does look pretty nice. They are made of basic plastic, although the quality is pretty decent. They are impact, scratch, and corrosion resistant.
However, like with the other Oakley options so far here today, they are very tight, which is good because it helps them stay in place, but also bad because comfort is limited. Also, they do not have ear hooks, so if your face is sweaty and they slip, there is nothing to stop them from dropping.
- Good for high light conditions.
- Great for reducing light transmission and preserving natural colors.
- High overall level of durability – lenses and frames.
- Fairly tight and secure.
- Wrap around design for maximum protection.
- Frame is a little too tight for some.
- No ear hooks.
- Hinges are not the best in the world.
9. Oakley Holbrook
These are definitely some of the more high quality Oakley sunglasses for fishing on this list today. They are made for people who fish a whole lot. To start off, these things have a nice frame. The frame here is made of metal. The metal used here is a bit flexible for comfort, plus it works well for impact resistance.
Although they are quite flexible, surprisingly enough, they are also very scratch resistant, plus the metal used here is designed to withstand the effects of saltwater. Metal might not be the most comfortable, plus it heats up in the sun, but durability is a big bonus here.
These things also have great ear hooks to stop them from dropping, but they are not too tight, so they might slip around a bit. We do like the frame here because it is also quite lightweight, plus the 3 point fit allows for precise optical alignment.
When it comes to the lenses of the Oakley Holbrook sunglasses, here you get a wide variety of choice. Pretty much every lens color you could imagine is available here, making these things great for all kinds of fishing and fishing conditions. They are made with a decent curvature for optimal peripheral vision.
Moreover, they feature a special coating to help increase light transmission, plus another coating to simultaneously cut down on glare, up to 100% of it in fact. The lenses here are very durable in every way imaginable, plus these things are also designed to allow for prescription lenses.
- Highly durable.
- Great for all conditions.
- Good light transmission.
- Great for blocking glare.
- Fairly comfortable.
- Strong metal frame.
- Look super cool.
- Ear hooks for security.
- Hinges could use some work.
- Metal heats up in the sun.
- Lack of tightness means they can slip around a bit.
10. Flying Fisherman Maverick
If you need really basic fishing sunglasses, this is a really good option to go with. They are not the best, fanciest, or most durable, but they work just fine for basic fishing needs. The frames on these things are made of pretty normal plastic, nothing overly special.
The arms do have ear hooks, which is a good because it will stop them from dropping into the water. However, the arms are not very tight, which is good for comfort, but bad in terms of slipping around.
The lenses here are pretty good. Here you get to choose from grey, amber, and yellow lenses, each of which have their benefits when it comes to fishing. The Flying Fisherman Maverick sunglasses actually have no frame around the lenses, which is nice because they are lightweight, but they do not cut out reflections and light from the side, which is a clear drawback.
With that being said, from the front, these glasses work fine. They feature polarized triacetate lenses with an AcuTint lens coloring system. What this means is that that they cut out a whole lot of glare and they add contrast to natural colors too.
The lenses have a decent amount of durability, as well as the frames, but they are comparatively weak when looking at other options on this list today.
- Good at blocking glare.
- Good UV protection.
- Fairly comfortable.
- Good ear hooks.
- Decent durability.
- Weak when compared to other options here today.
- A little loose.
- They let light in from the sides.
How Do Polarized Lenses Work?
Ok. So light comes in both vertical and horizontal light rays. The vertical light comes straight from the source, which when it comes to fishing is the sun. Horizontal light waves are reflected off of other sources and bounce to your eyes, which in the case of fishing is the surface of the water.
You want vertical light so you can see, but you do not want the horizontal light waves when fishing. This is what we call glare and it makes it really hard to see anything at all, especially that big fish below the water’s surface.
Polarized sunglasses use a special coating that features a horizontal light filter. In other words, polarized lenses let through light from the direct source, the sun, so you can see well, but they block out horizontal light waves being reflected off of the water, which is what we call glare.
Therefore, polarized sunglasses are great for fishing as they help cut down on glare and help you see everything with clarity, including that big catch you are fishing for.
Fishing Benefits of Polarized Lenses
When it comes to fishing, there are a few benefits that come along with wearing polarized sunglasses. Let’s quickly talk about these benefit so you know why you need these things for fishing;
For one, polarized sunglasses do a fine job at blocking out UVA and UVB rays which the sun blasts into your face all day long. These rays can damage your skin and your eyes. When it comes to your eyes, the damage can very well be past the point of repair.
Therefore, when fishing all day long, polarized sunglasses will offer great eye protection. Are polarized sunglasses better for your eyes? The answer here is a resounding yes.
Simply put, eyes get strained when they are bombarded with too much sunlight. They get tired, they hurt, and it gets increasingly hard to focus the more sun your eyes have to deal with for a prolonged period of time.
In other words, it can be really hard to see what you are doing and to see what is going on when your eyes are tired. Polarized sunglasses will help to keep your eyes in top condition and ready to see anything that crosses their path.
The biggest problem which glare caused by sunlight produces is that it becomes impossible to see below the surface of the water. Of course, when you are fishing, you need to be able to see under the surface of the water.
You need to see fish, the bottom of the water, obstacles and more. Polarized sunglasses help to reduce or in some cases even eliminate glare, thus allowing you to see well under the water’s surface.
Difference Between Polarized and Non-Polarized Glasses
There is of course a pretty big difference between polarized and non-polarized sunglasses. The most important difference here is that polarized sunglasses, as mentioned above, use special coatings and filters to block out horizontal rays of light, those being reflected off of surfaces, which then causes glare.
Non-polarized sunglasses do not have this feature and therefore do not really reflect and block out horizontal rays of light. In other words, non-polarized sunglasses do not block out glare and are therefore not really ideal for fishing by any means.
4 Other Tips To Protect Yourself From The Sun
The sun can be really harsh when fishing, especially on open waters. It can cause quite a bit of damage to your eyes, head, skin, and to the inside of your body too. You need to be well protected from the sun if you plan to spend a lot of time on the water.
1. Wear A Hat
The first rule here is to always wear a hat. You need to protect your head from the direct heat and light from the sun. Too much light and heat to the head can cause headaches, heat stroke, severe nausea, and more.
So, always wear a hat. We would not recommend wearing a baseball cap as those only protect the top of the head and the face. You want a good fishing hat because they have 360 degree brims which offer more overall protection for the face, plus for your neck too.
2. Drink Water
Always drink lots of water when you go fishing. Chances are that it is probably pretty hot where you are fishing.
Moreover, even if it is not hot, the sun can still dehydrate you fairly fast, especially if you are expending lots of energy reeling in those big fish. Staying adequately hydrated will keep you cool, focused, and it will stop you from getting headaches and heat stroke.
3. Don’t Look Directly At The Sun
The next thing to keep in mind when it comes to protecting you from the sun is to never look directly at it.
Even if you have good sunglasses, and even if it is a bit cloudy, by looking at the sun, you will accomplish nothing but severe damage and strain to your eyes, so just don’t do it.
4. Use Sunscreen
You should always wear sunscreen. No matter if you are at the park, the beach, at the pier, or on a fishing boat, sunscreen is always your best friend. You do not want to get burned, you don’t want skin cancer, and you don’t want to spend several days feeling like you are being boiled.
Never go fishing without wearing sunscreen. If it is really bright out, you might want to consider wearing long pants and long sleeve shirts too.
The bottom line is that the best rated sunglasses for fishing are ones that have great UV protection, wrap around your face, cut out glare, and have decent light transmission. Of course, your final choice will depend on what your own needs are, but we will leave that up to you to figure out.