The latest trends in fishing sunglasses are not defined by current fashions. Those grape-sized lenses on orthodontic wire frames typically found clinging to the noggin of some gel-haired type wouldn't make good fishing shades; nor would a pair from the new Britney Spears Celebrity Collection. What anglers need is a blend of optically fine lenses that are in the proper tint (polarized, obviously), have strong frames and fit snugly enough to stay on as they and their wearer zoom up a lake through a 20-mph crosswind. So yes, function wins over fashion, but that doesn't mean fishermen need to look bad. Some of the new polarized products for anglers may make you want to strut.
Okay, so you're in a sporting goods store ready to try on the first of several neat-looking pairs of glasses. Put on a pair and check yourself out in a mirror. Do they look cool? Good. Now forget the mirror and shake your head, bend over and do a few toe touches. Did the glasses slip? How do you think they're going to stay on during a full-throttle boat ride in a 20 mph wind?
A tiny bit of slip is manageable (you'll be wearing snuggers attached to the earpieces, of course), but if the things feel odd or heavy or need to be constantly pushed up your nose, then look for another pair. You'll know a good fit when you find it, because the glasses will cling to your face like plastic wrap. A good fit feels lighter, too. When you think you've decided on a pair, ask yourself these questions:
There are several things to consider here: material, tint and visible light transmission. Few products exist that don't meet the basic requirement of complete internal ultraviolet (UV) shielding. (Ultraviolet light is invisible but can damage the eye's lens and cornea.) All of the glasses we tested were 100 percent UV protected.
One thing that prescription wearers should be aware of is that the more radical wrap designs can distort prescription glass. Check with the manufacturers to see which models can be fitted with prescription lenses.
Though many other tints are available, the tints described below are best for fishing. In addition, sunglass companies are experimenting with new variations (Costa del Mar's Wave 580s are an example) that eliminate and heighten various colors of the spectrum so that consumers can find pairs that better suit their particular needs.
A NOTE ON BIFOCALS
Some of us require bifocals in order to see where our lures land and read the instruments on our boats. Some companies are now making stick-on prescription lenses that can be placed on the bottom of a pair of sunglasses. Just be careful: Some anglers have taken plunges as they tried to step into boats or onto docks.