I’m not going to preach to you about the importance of a great pair of polarized sunglasses for fly fishing. The difficult task is to find a review you can trust. Recently I’ve purchased more than 17 pairs of sunglasses and put them to the test.
I tested 16 factors, but concentrated on 6 key items; On-Water Testing, UV Protection, Visual Light Transmission, Comfort, Fishy Factor (a pair of sunglasses that combines all the top features into one), Durability and Other Reviews (I felt this was very import so I 2X weighted it).
These sunglasses are my top pick and embody my personal ‘fishy factor,’ combining all the characteristics I look for in fishing sunglasses. Highly Recommended!
The Local Kine’s excel in both style and function. They perform exceptionally well in on-water testing, striking a perfect balance between everyday wear and fish spotting ability.
The added VLT will help when fishing in harsh sunlight conditions. Lots of fishy features built into the design make these sunglasses perfect for salt.
Looking for my full comparison of +16 pairs of sunglasses for fishing? Check it out 👉 The Best Fishing Sunglasses
- 1. Best Overall Sunglasses for Fly Fishing Smith Guides Choice Sunglasses
- 2. Maui Jim Local Kines – Stylish and Fishy
- 3. Costa Del Mar Fantail – Saltwater
- 4. Maui Jim Haleakala – Balancing Style and Function
- A Quick Guide to Selecting Fly Fishing Sunglasses
- The Last Cast with Fly Fishing Sunglasses
- Recommended Sunglasses for Fly Fishing
- Looking to Learn More About Fishing Sunglasses?
1. Best Overall Sunglasses for Fly Fishing Smith Guides Choice Sunglasses
While I might get caught up in the features, benefits, and add-ons of sunglasses, what I genuinely care about is how well they help me spot fish. Have a look at the video and photo where I’ve used these sunglasses on the water.
How Well Can You See Fish with the Guides Choice?
When I first tried on the Smith Guides Choice sunglasses, I immediately felt a connection. They seemed to understand what an angler, really needed. The view was crisp and clear, and with the ChromaPop technology, everything just seemed a bit more vibrant. It’s like the world underwater became a tad more accessible to me.
I’ve always heard about the importance of polarization, especially for fishing. With the Smith Guides Choice, it felt like the water became transparent. The glare, which often bothered me on sunny days, was noticeably reduced. It’s like having a superpower that lets you see beneath the water’s surface.
Being out in the sun for long hours, I’ve always been a bit concerned about UV rays. But with these sunglasses, that worry faded away. They offer complete UV protection, and it’s comforting to know that while I’m enjoying my time outdoors, my eyes are well taken care of.
Comfort and Fit of the Guides Choice
Comfort is something I value, especially for gear I wear for extended periods. The Smith Guides Choice felt like a gentle hug to my face. They stayed put, and the soft pads ensured they felt cozy, even when wet. Their lightweight design was just the icing on the cake.
Guide Recommendation: If you’re ready to take your fishing to the next level, I highly recommend these sunglasses. You can get them with this shortcut links to 👉 Amazon Guides Choice.
2. Maui Jim Local Kines – Stylish and Fishy
It seems silly to talk about the features, benefits and gadgets on sunglasses when we care about most is how well they see fish. Check out the video and picture using the sunglasses on the water.
How Well Can You See Fish with the Local Kines
When I tested the Maui Jim Local Kines, the difference was palpable. The underwater world seemed to come alive before my eyes. Spotting fish was almost effortless, and the colors? Simply vibrant. It felt like these sunglasses were revealing nature’s secrets just for me.
Thanks to the PolarizedPlus2® lens technology, the usual water glare was a thing of the past, and everything appeared sharper and more vivid. It’s as if the sunglasses granted me a clearer, gentler view of the aquatic world.
Out on the water, I’m always wary of the sun’s intensity. But when I tested the Maui Jim Local Kines, by shining an intense UV light through the lens on to a UV sensitive card. The results consistently showed great protection.
It’s such a relief knowing that while I’m immersed in the beauty around me, my eyes are safeguarded from harmful UV rays.
Looking for my full review of the Local Kines? Easy click on this link 👉 Review of Maui Jim Local Kines
Comfort and Fit
Comfort is paramount for me, and during my tests, these sunglasses felt like they were custom-made for my face. Lightweight and adjustable, they adapted perfectly, staying snug even during my most active fishing moments.
I’m going to add that the styling of these sunglasses is really nice.
Guide Recommendation: The Maui Jim Local Kine are the perfect balance of style and function for fishing. You can get them with these shortcut link to Amazon👉 Maui Jim Local Kine
3. Costa Del Mar Fantail – Saltwater
Instead of me going on and on about the Fantail’s, why not check them out in action? Take a look at my on-water video and snapshot to see for yourself!
How Well Can You See Fish
Trying on the Costa Del Mar Fantails, I immediately noticed the enhanced underwater clarity. Compared to other 16 other sunglasses I looked at, the Fantails stood out, especially in their ability to help me spot fish.
While the tint is a tad darker than I usually prefer, it’s incredibly effective during the mid-day sun. I often fly fish during early mornings and dusk, and I’m confident that the tint isn’t so dark as to hinder my vision during those times. In fact, I believe they’ll be just as effective.
Polarization – stand-out sunglasses
I test the polarization in two ways; rotating in front of a monitor and comparing against other sunglasses on the water. The Fantails’ have impressive polarization, always delivering performance with the best. For an avid fly flinger, the glare reduction and clarity was a game-changer.
To gauge the effectiveness of the UV protection, I used a UV light and a UV-sensitive card for testing. Time and again, the Fantails produced remarkable results.
It’s well-known that UVA and UVB rays can damage our eyes, especially as we age. With the Fantails, I felt assured of robust UV protection, adding an extra layer of confidence to my fishing adventures.
Comfort, Fit and Style – the Fantail’s
The Fantails were snug yet comfortable, thanks to their rubber pads. A bit tight around the ears, but felt secure without a risk of slipping off. The lightweight design and sleek black finish just added to the functional design.
These sunglasses excel at seeing fish. They were near the top, and priced nearly $60 less than the very best sunglasses tested. Check prices and availability on Amazon with this link. 👉 Costa Del Mar Fantail
4. Maui Jim Haleakala – Balancing Style and Function
Seeing is so much better than me blathering on about the Haleakala’s, see for yourself in my on-water video and still pic.
How Well Can You See Fish
In my video and still picture testing of the Haleakala’s, it was clear they had great clarity and polarization. Finding fish simply became easier. The fish were more detailed, along with more clearly understanding the bottom structure.
I evaluated the polarization of the sunglasses using two methods. Initially, I rotated the Haleakala sunglasses in front of a monitor to observe the effects. Subsequently, I wore them consistently over a 30-day period.
Fortunately, during my testing trips, I had multiple pairs of sunglasses with me, allowing for direct comparisons. Among all the sunglasses I assessed, the Haleakala’s consistently emerged as one of the top choices.
Being exposed to the sun’s rays, UV protection isn’t just a preference—it’s a necessity. The Haleakala sunglasses didn’t just meet, but exceeded my expectations, wrapping my eyes in a protective shield against harmful UV rays.
Comfort, Fit and Style – Haleakala Excel
They are, without a doubt, the most comfortable sunglasses I have tested, scoring a 9 out of 10. The separate nose pads provided a perfect fit, and the lightweight design made them ideal for extended fishing trips.
In terms of style my daughter like these sunglasses better than all the ones we trialed. I thought they improved my ugly mug as well.
These sunglasses excel at being stylish enough to wear everyday and still working pretty darn good at seeing fish. Check prices and availability on Amazon with this link. 👉 Maui Jim Haleakala Sunglasses
A Quick Guide to Selecting Fly Fishing Sunglasses
Protection and Comfort
When you’re out fly fishing, the sun’s UV rays aren’t just a threat to your skin; they can harm your eyes too. It’s essential to choose sunglasses that offer 100% UV protection. But there’s another aspect of protection often overlooked: the occasional stray fly. A good pair of sunglasses can shield your eyes from these unexpected impacts.
As for comfort, focus on the contact areas. Sunglasses with padded or rubberized nose bridges and temple tips can prevent discomfort during prolonged wear. Additionally look for wide side shields to cut glare and a good hook over the ears to keep the sunglasses from falling into the water.
Seeing Fish and Polarization
The ability to spot fish beneath the water’s surface can make or break your fishing experience. I’ve spent hours testing various sunglasses on the water, and the difference in quality is evident. Polarization is crucial. Check out my article 👉 How Polarized Sunglasses Help You Spot Fish. The article explains how polarized lenses filter out the glare from the water’s surface, allowing for a clearer view of the aquatic environment below. It’s not just about seeing the fish; it’s about understanding their movements and habitats.
Color and Material For Fly Fishing Sunglasses
For fishing, certain lens colors can enhance your underwater vision. Amber or brown lenses, for instance, can improve contrast and depth perception, especially in freshwater environments. Gray lenses, on the other hand, are versatile and suitable for varying water conditions.
My preferred lens color is an amber. It provides the contrast I love and usually a higher VLT. To learn about VlT read 👉 THIS.
When it comes to lens material, glass lenses are the gold standard. They offer unparalleled clarity and are more scratch-resistant than their plastic counterparts. However, this superior quality often comes with a higher price tag.
Balancing Price and Performance
Finding the right pair of sunglasses is about striking a balance. While it’s tempting to go for the most expensive pair, thinking they offer the best performance, that’s not always the case.
Some budget-friendly options provide excellent UV protection and polarization. It’s about researching, understanding your needs, and maybe even trying a few pairs out before making a decision.
The Last Cast with Fly Fishing Sunglasses
Choosing the perfect pair of fly fishing sunglasses is a blend of understanding your needs and knowing what’s out there. Rely on independent reviews, especially those with hands-on testing, to guide your decision. I highly suggest checking out my hands on reviews all over this site and this article 👉 The Best Fishing Sunglasses
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Recommended Sunglasses for Fly Fishing
I’ll make this short, If you’re going to make the leap to spend a little bit extra on seeing fish, feel absolutely confident that the Smith Optics Guides Choice Sunglasses 👈 (link Amazon to check current price) will help you see more fish and have more hook-ups.