Dialing in your fishing sunglasses is a necessary aspect to help you be at your best on the water. Many anglers are familiar with words like “polarized”, “UV protective” and “scratch resistant”, but few are aware of which type of coating is the best choice for your sunglasses. While each type of coating improves your fishing experience, there are a few specific coatings you should prioritize when you’re purchasing your pair of glasses.
The best lens coatings for fishing are: UV Protective, Polarized, Photochromic, Anti-Reflective, Scratch Resistant, and Water Repellent.
Many companies create sunglasses that are “multi-coated”, so you don’t have to choose just one coating when making your purchase. Fishing sunglass companies generally have some sort of combination of the following six coatings available.
UV-Protective Coating helps protect your eyes from harmful UV rays, reducing the risk of cataracts and other eye conditions. When we’re out on the water, we rarely think about our eye health. Our time is spent focusing on where the fish are located, our baits as well as our overall performance.
Plus, when we’re thinking about sunglasses, we mainly care that they’re polarized and anti-reflective. We want to make sure we’re able to see through the surface of the water and notice any fish located near our bait.
At the end of the day, the health of our eyes is going to be part of what dictates how long we can enjoy the sport of fishing. Purchasing high-quality UV protective sunglasses will ensure that your eyes are not going to fail you and continue to allow you to fish as long as your body allows.
Thankfully, most fishing sunglasses you purchase have 100% UV protection. Regardless of your budget or the brand you prefer, fishing sunglasses should be fully protected from harmful UV rays.
A polarized coating is specifically designed to reduce glare from water, sand as well as other objects. When the sunlight hits the water, it reflects toward us in a horizontal direction creating a glare. Without a set of polarized lenses, this glare is impossible to ignore. On water that would be easy to see through with a set of polarized lenses becomes nearly impossible without them.
A set of high-quality polarized lenses allows us as anglers to sight fish. We can use the lenses to our advantage and see fish and all of the activity happening under the surface of the water. While locating fish is the most important part of sight fishing, being able to understand their movements as well as their feeding habits is what makes us successful when targeting these fish. The polarized lenses reduce glare that generally inhibits us from maximizing our time sight fishing.
Any fishing company you purchase glasses from is almost guaranteed to provide polarized lenses, but make sure that’s the case before you make your purchase.
Photochromic coating reacts to changes in light, darkening in bright sunlight, and lightening in low light. Photochromic lenses are perfect for fishing due to a large number of light changes. They don’t require you to switch between regular glasses and sunglasses.
If you generally wear glasses throughout your day-to-day life, you’re going to want to make sure you have a pair of photochromic-coated lenses. You can get them in your prescription and ensure you’ll have all of the protection you would need for a day out on the water.
Even if you don’t wear prescription glasses, you’ll find that photochromic-coated lenses are some of the best options you could have for fishing. Many anglers worry about lens color and polarization but don’t realize the value of lenses that can adapt depending on the conditions. They’re truly an underrated option for fishing. They have everything you need for all types of weather in one lens.
Anti-reflective coating helps reduce glare and reflections, making it ideal for fishing. It also helps to improve clarity and reduce eye strain. An anti-reflective coating works similarly to polarized lenses. While polarized lenses are generally created to help minimize glare in bright and sunny conditions, anti-reflective lenses are created to reduce glare in dimmer lighting conditions.
You could be fishing in the morning during sunrise or on a cloudy day in the middle of fall and realize that your polarized lenses aren’t quite cutting that glare as much as you would like. These situations are where anti-reflective coated lenses would work. They aren’t an absolute necessity for fishing sunglasses, but anti-reflective lenses can be useful in specific scenarios.
Scratch-resistant coating helps protect your lenses from scratches and cracks, ensuring your glasses last longer. As anglers, we put our sunglasses through some tough conditions. We work our way through the woods, along weedy banks, and in and out of boats. A scratched lens can create an unnecessary challenge while we’re out on the water. Our eyes struggle to focus if the lenses are scratched. We have to squint through the scratches in hopes of identifying what we need to see.
A scratch-resistant coating will help you when you accidentally drop your glasses on the pavement or walk them through a thorny willow branch. When we invest in our glasses, we want to make sure they’re durable and able to withstand some of the tougher days.
Water-repellent coating helps to repel water, making it easier to see through the lens when it rains. This is particularly useful for fishing. When the weather changes and rain begins to roll in, that doesn’t mean the fish are going to stop biting. It also doesn’t mean that we can remove our sunglasses and fish without them.
Cloudy days with rain have strange light conditions and our sunglasses can actually be very helpful when we’re out on the water. Water-resistant lenses allow the water to fall off of them and they don’t require us to continually wipe them down when we’re on the water.
Water-repellent lenses can truly help our sunglasses feel as if they’re a true part of our fishing attire. We can trust that they’re going to perform despite the conditions we find when we’re fishing.
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Purchasing sunglasses with the proper coatings will not only assist you when you’re out on the water, but they can even lead to more fish. As anglers, we should never underestimate the power of a good pair of sunglasses.
Find a set of glasses that have a combination of UV protection coating, polarized coating, photochromic coating, anti-reflective coating, scratch-resistant coating as well as water-repellent coating. Remember the UV protection as well as polarization are the two types of coating you should initially prioritize for your fishing sunglasses.
Danny Mooers is a high school English teacher in Arizona with a love for fly fishing. Growing up in Minnesota gave him the opportunity to experience all types of fishing and grow his skills. After living out in the Western United States for several summers in college, his fly fishing obsession grew. Having the opportunity to share in his passion for fishing through writing is a dream come true. It’s a lifelong hobby and he strives to make it understandable for people of all skill levels